…Begs Udom To Concede ISD To Him
…Vows To Refund N7.2bn Collected From Nsima To Bribe Officials
By Augustina Ukoh, Uyo
Hell is set to loose in the coming days between the All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship candidate in Akwa Ibom State, Obong Nsima Ekere, and Senator Godswill Akpabio concerning N7.2 billion collected by Senator Akpabio as part of mobilization “seed” to rig the 2019 elections in favour of APC.
According to a source close to Mr. Nsima who wants to remain anonymous, Senator Akpabio had approached Mr. Nsima with a proposal of 11.2 billion naira to be utilized to win the governorship election. The title of the proposal reads: A Holistic Material for the Dismemberment of the PDP in Akwa Ibom state in 2019″.
A breakdown of the proposal shows that the money will be utilized to lobby some Federal Government agencies like the INEC, Police, Army, Navy, Civil Defense, and other paramilitary formations to be deployed to the state for the general elections.
The source noted that apart from those agencies mentioned above, the money according to Senator Akpabio was also to lobby the national and international media, Election Observers – both local and international who would monitor the elections.
After going through the document, Mr. Ekere was said to have released an initial advance payment of 7.2 billion naira to Senator Akpabio to begin lobbying the agencies. “But since 11th October when the money was released to Senator Akpabio, be has not given Nsima any concrete situation report on the deployment of the cash.”
Our source continued that “each time Nsima ask Senator Akpabio for progress report, Senator Akpabio would reply that all is well which is not a better response to Nsima and hence created room for Nsima to doubt if Akpabio could deliver”.
“You know that Nsima rely so much on Senator Akpabio to win this election so he didn’t want to confront him directly on the matter for fear of causing stir that would look as if he doesn’t trust him. So he kept using diplomatic means to approach the matter until someone close to Senator Akpabio told Nsima that Akpabio had met brick walls when he approached most of the people and agencies on the matter” our source said.
Our source hinted further that Mr. Nsima was very furious when he discovered that many days have gone without Akpabio acting on the plan to use 9.2 billon naira to rig the election. So he approached Senator Akpabio on the matter as he was loosing confidence that he would deliver.
Angered that Mr. Nsima does not appreciate all his efforts and sacrifices to make him a governor, Akpabio fumed: “do you know how difficult it is to manipulate and rig elections now, do you know? I approached INEC and Mike told me that he won’t take the risk and go to jail because of two billion naira that he won’t compromise the elections for APC. I also went to the GOC in charge of 2nd battalion in port Harcourt to see how he would deploy his men to Akwa Ibom from Rivers state since the Military Officers at Ibawa Barracks in Abak are “playing Udom” but he told me that he cannot guarantee my request. So also is the new Akwa Ibom Commissioner of Police which I suffered to ensure his redeployment to Akwa Ibom state telling me that he has a secondary school classmate in Udom government who said he knows APC plans to use the police to truncate the will of the people and threatens to expose it to the media, so he won’t play ball to compromise his career.”
“I have been working underground and hard to ensure that I gather their support but the more I do, the more everything keep going in favour of Udom and you are not even helping matters probing how I use your funds underground. “Nsima, to be sincere from the look of things, I cannot guarantee that you will win this election because the people are with Udom and if we cant rig the election, it is over as i fear for my own election,” Akpabio concluded in a sober tone.
According to our source who was at the meeting, Nsima who was baffled that Akpabio could give up so soon, asked the Senator for a refund of the money but Akpabio kept mute meaning that he could not give account for the initial money received – a situation that those present assumed may led to a renewed hostility between both leaders.
Meanwhile, sources close to Senator Akpabio has hinted that with the near impossibility for APC to win the state, Akpabio is threatened that he may not win the Ikot Ekpene Senatorial district election thus he is planing to reach a truce with Governor Udom to concede the ISD to him. They hinted that the former Senate Minority Leader has sent an advance team ahead of him to plead with Governor Udom Emmanuel to soft-pedal on ISD and not embarrass him base on the respect Nigerians now have for him as a nationalist.
But a source close to Governor Udom spoke authoritatively that Senator Akpabio may likely fail in that mission because Governor Udom is not ready to compromise or concede any senatorial district of the state to the APC. The source noted that since Udom has been called a political novice he would want to use the 2019 election is an opportunity to stamp his feet and show the world that he is on ground, hence Akpabio is wasting his time approaching Udom, the source concluded.
As it is, all is not well in the APC camp with the seemingly feud between Nsima and Akpabio which many observers say may likely consume the party before the election if the issues at hand are not tackled amicably but “if they want peace, Akpabio should refund the money he collected so that we can deploy it elsewhere ” said a source loyal to Nsima.