Akpabio gave us N3m “transport money” each after PDP caucus meetings – Ex-Minister

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A former Nigerian minister and senator from Akwa Ibom State, John
Udoedehe, has narrated how the state’s immediate past governor, Godswill
Akpabio, regularly doled out huge amounts of money as “transport” to
politicians, each time they had a political meeting.

Mr. Udoedehe, a former Minister of State for FCT, said caucus members
of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, were given at least N3 million
each as “transport”, every night they met to discuss the party’s
affairs.

He admitted the governor gave him a “special” sum, way more than the already outrageous N3 million others received.

“Godswill Akpabio used to give us at least N3million each as
transport money every night we attended caucus meeting in Government
House,” he said during an interview on Planet FM in Uyo on Saturday,
November 7. “My own was special, it was more than N3million.”

The former minister said despite the largesse, he still fell out with Mr. Akpabio, who is now the senate minority leader.

He made the claim to buttress his argument that he could not be bought with money.

Mr. Akpabio could not be immediately reached for comments.

Mr. Udoedehe, who is now a Board of Trustees member of the ruling All
Progressives Congress, also narrated how a Divisional Police Officer
was held in his community by villagers, for attempting to illegally take
away election materials during the April 11 governorship poll in the
state.

He said the DPO was held for some time at Afaha Offot, Uyo Local
Government Area, and was eventually rescued by a team of mobile
policemen led by the commissioner of police, Akwa Ibom State.

Mr. Udoedehe did not give the name of the officer, but said he was from the “C” Division, Uyo.

Gabriel Achong, now retired, was the commissioner of police in Akwa Ibom State at the time.

A tribunal recently nullified the outcome of the polls in 18 out of 31 Local Government Areas of the state.

“What I did in my village, I need to tell you this. They came to
carry the ballot boxes in my village. The incident is recorded at the
police headquarters in Akwa Ibom State,” Mr. Udoedehe said.

“The villagers stopped the DPO ‘C’ Division and other policemen who
came to cart away the (election) materials. In fact, the commissioner of
police mobilised police from everywhere to my village to release the
DPO,” Mr. Udoedehe said in response to a question whether he
participated in the governorship election.

“So, did the election (eventually) hold in your village?” Planet FM went on to ask Mr. Udoedehe who is also a former senator.

“No, we had that incident,” Mr. Udoedehe responded.

“So, did you vote or did you not vote?” the interviewer pressed.

“I said we had an incident in my village,” he responded again.

Mr. Udoedehe said the incident was another demonstration that he
should have been the governorship candidate of APC in the state – not
Umana Okon Umana.

“What I did in my own ward (during the election), Umana Okon Umana
(the APC governorship candidate) couldn’t do in his own village. I am
giving you fact. My village did not allow the DPO to leave with the
ballot materials. It took the entire mobile police base to come to my
village. They shot guns and arrested the people,” he said.

Mr. Udoedehe said he deserved to be a governorship candidate of APC,
and not Mr. Umana, because of his contributions to the party within and
outside Akwa Ibom state.

Compromised APC leaders

He said APC leaders in Lagos and Abuja were compromised before the
party primary that produced Mr. Umana as the APC governorship candidate,
and that the primary was rigged in Mr. Umana’s favour.

“The party wanted to do to Timipre Sylva in Bayelsa State what they
did to me here. But the good people of Bayelsa who supported Sylvia
stood against it,” Mr. Udoedehe said.

“They succeeded against me because of the individuals we planted in
the party. They betrayed me because their interest was money and
position. They abandoned me because I didn’t make them to swear to mbiam
(fetish oath). I trusted them. I loved them. People said I should not
put them there, but I put them there. At the time they were supposed to
support me, they left me without any reason,” said Mr. Udoedehe.

He said he was in court to challenge the APC primary that Mr. Umana
won, and that he would fight on till the case gets to the Supreme Court.

But APC in Akwa Ibom State denied having any pre-election case in the court against Mr. Umana.

“The case exists only in the imagination of Udoedehe,” the APC
Publicity Secretary, Akwa Ibom State, Ita Awak, told PREMIUM TIMES.

Mr. Udoedehe said in the interview that nobody in APC or PDP could
use money to influence him to do anything that was against his
conviction.

He denied the rumour that PDP paid him to go out and speak publicly
against APC because of the fresh political battle prompted by the Akwa
Ibom governorship Election Tribunal judgment.

“People go about telling lies that I am coming out to speak so that I
could be given money, do I look like somebody you can pay? I have
sustained opposition in Akwa Ibom state on my own, is it now that I’ll
collect money from someone?

“When I had N1billion to pay as deposit for the Nigeria Newsprint
Manufacturing Company in Oku Iboku, how many people in Akwa Ibom state,
apart from government, had money? When they were selling Nigeria,
through privatization, how many of them in Akwa Ibom had money to buy
anything?”

To reiterate his claims that nobody can buy him with money, the
former senator said he was bold enough to leave the then Akwa Ibom
governor, Godswill Akpabio, and the PDP at a time Mr. Akpabio was doling
out money regularly to members of PDP caucus in the state, of which he
said he was part of.

“Godswill Akpabio used to give us at least N3million each as
transport money every night we attended caucus meeting in Government
House. My own was special, it was more than N3million. But even with
this gift, I disagreed with him (Akpabio) and left him. I left because
Akwa Ibom’s interest was paramount to me than any other thing.

“The main reason I quarreled with Godswill Akpabio is that the
government derailed initially by bringing people that were not supposed
to be in government. Government is so sacred. There are people that are
not supposed to be in government. If you allow them in, then that
sacredness would be broken,” Mr. Udoedehe said.

Mr. Udoedehe accused Mr. Akpabio, who is now senate minority leader,
of misusing state funds and causing poverty in Akwa Ibom state.

“Development goes beyond infrastructure,” he said. “People in Uyo are
now selling off their properties, including their fathers’ graves. It
shows the level of poverty here.”

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