By Ikora Ayungbe, Uyo
Former governor of Akwa Ibom state, Senator Godswill Akpabio of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the state one time deputy governor, Obong Chris Ekpenyong, of People’s Democratic Party, have to resorted verbal war over alleged stealing.
The duo is contesting for Akwa Ibom North West senatorial district of the state.
Akpabio who defected from the PDP in August, last year to the APC had alleged at a campaign rally in Obot Akara local government area that the former deputy governor is not qualify to contest for the senatorial seat of district because of questionable characters.
According to Sen Akpabio,”Chris Ekpenyong in 2006 sold all the electrical materials meant for rural electrification projects of Ikot Abia clan in the local government including over 10 units of 200 KVA transformers, 33 KVA generators, MV cables, insulators and poles.”
Acknowledging the fact that the PDP senatorial candidate (Ekpenyong ) is from that local government area, Akpabio urged the people to abandon the former deputy governor and vote for him in February 16 national assembly election, saying that,” A good friend is better than a bad brother”.
But in a swift reaction, Ekpenyong dismissed such allegation as “a mere fabrication spewed by a serial liar and desperate politician who has lost out in the political equation of the district with the intent to score cheap political points”.
Speaking with our correspondent, the former deputy governor said, “I am not a coward and I am not bothered by Akpabio’s senseless insinuations since those allegations do not resemble me. I have never in my life done any electrification project for Akwa Ibom state government, the government ministries are there, you can go and verify”.
Obong Ekpenyong asserted that he never benefitted from any contract from Akpabio in the state. “Before becoming a deputy governor, I have been in business in the power sector, executing jobs and trading on power facilities and equipment since 1989, so people should ask Godswill where his company was before he was brought into the government of Obong Victor Attah.
“I am a genuine businessman and employer of labour, my office is at No. 42, Osolo Way in Lagos and up till now, the business is still running, you know the ones in Akwa Ibom state and their locations”.
“I am not a thief because I was well groomed and trained from humble parents whom I also rewarded with a good home, cars and other essential things to make them proud of their son.
“I challenge Godswill Akpabio to show the world the contract award papers for the said electrification projects executed by me as a deputy governor.
He assured voters of Ikot Ekpene senatorial district that “no amount of threat and blackmail will deter me from rescuing your mandate from a known fraudster and blackmailer whose stock in trade is to deceive and dupe people.
Ekpenyong dismissed as laughable the allegation, said that, ” Akpabio is using the same bridge he (Ekpenyong) spent his personal N34m to construct for campaigns and got votes in Obot Akara in 2007, 2011 and 2015 without remembering the area afterwards.”
“As a deputy governor, I made a request for construction of this bridge to the then President Obasanjo at a council of state meeting, Abuja in 2003 and President Obasanjo directed the then Minister of Works, Chief Tony Anineh of blessed memory to construct the bridge for my people and other Nigerians.
“Armed with this directive, I therefore approached Union Homes Savings & Loans Limited who funded the construction of the bridge, and a total of N64m was spent on the project including the approach-roads. At the end, the federal government through the ministry of works released only N30m to Union Homes while the balance of N34m which included bank charges and interest was paid by me to Union Homes, the records are there”.
“I buried my parents with my personal money, Godswill Akpabio buried his mother with state funds and converted her grave into a secret vault where he stored part of the over N1.64trillion stole of the over N3trillion his infamous era received from the federation account between 2007 and 2015.
“I have already petitioned the economic and financial crimes commission (EFCC) to investigate these allegations and compel him to come and explain how he was able to acquire choice properties in Dubai, Lagos, Abuja and a multi-billion naira international school owned by his wife at Shelter Afrique, Uyo”, Ekpenyong said.
He lamented that “for eight years of Akpabio administration, the only contract he awarded in my Obot Akara local government area, is the abandoned 10km Oku Obom – Ikot Abasi Eduo – Ikot Out – Usaka Annang road awarded at N4.8b which only 4km is completed leaving 6km undone whereas the entire contract sum of N4.8b was disbursed.
Ekpenyong therefore, urged the people of the district comprising ten local government areas not be misled into returning a candidate who has already shown much disdain for his people and the party that brought him fame and fortune.