A former deputy governor of Akwa Ibom state, Obong Chris Ekpenyong, has described his former boss, Senator Godswill Akpabio as a blackmailer and fraudster desperate to return to the senate.
Ekpenyong and Akpabio are contesting for the Ikot Ekpene (Akwa Ibom Northwest) Senatorial seat in the National Assembly in the February 19 elections on the platforms of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) and All Progressives Congress(APC) respectively.
Trouble started when Akpabio allegedly accused Ekpenyong of corruption and dishonesty in the handling of electrification contracts in Obot Akara local government area of the state when he served as deputy governor under former governor Victor Attah.
Akpabio is also quoted to have said during a campaign rally at Obot Akara recently that Ekpenyong does not possess the credentials and integrity to represent his people at the Red Chambers of the National Assembly.
“Chris Ekpenyong in 2006 sold all the materials released for rural electrification projects of Ikot Abia clan in Obot Akara Local Government Area including over 10 units of 200 KVA transformers, 33 KVA generators, MV cables, insulators and poles”, adding: “A good friend is better than a bad brother”, Akpabio is quoted to have said at the rally.
But in a swift reaction, Ekpenyong at the weekend dismissed such allegation as “a mere fabrication spewed by a serial liar and desperate Akpabio who has lost out in the political equation of the district with the intent to score cheap political points”.
“I am not a coward and I am not bothered by Akpabio 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 benefited 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 as well as when he came and stole the mandate as governor for 8 years”, 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 of their hard-earned resources alongside some Igbo partners in a dubious office on top of tasty fried kitchen outlet on Opebi Road in Ikeja, Lagos ”.
Ekpenyong dismissed as laughable the allegation by Akpabio that he embezzled funds meant for construction of Obot Akara Bridge and lamented that Akpabio is crossing the same bridge he (Ekpenyong) spent his 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 Anenih 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 Thief Godswill Akpabio 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 removed from Akwa Ibom State coffers by Senator Akpabio as governor of Akwa Ibom State, the guy is just a rogue and EFCC must investigate this too”.
Ekpenyong therefore, urged the people of the zone, especially eligible voters across the 10 Local Government Areas against being misled into returning a candidate who has already shown much disdain for his people and the party that brought him fame and fortune.