As the 2019 general elections approach, there seems to be a renewed battled between the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Akwa Ibom State.
The latest is the public outcry by Edet Bassey, the publicity secretary of APC in the state, who alleged that “the PDP administration in the state has been running on lies and propaganda”, noting that “the so-called industrialisation policy is founded on deceit”.
While PDP holds the levers of governance in Akwa Ibom, APC holds power at the federal level.
Edet, in an interview in Uyo, the state capital, on Monday accused the Akwa Ibom government of lacking in transparency, due diligence and openness in its approach to governance.
The APC spokesperson challenged Governor Udom Emmanuel to properly account for the several billions of naira the state had been receiving as the number one revenue earner from the Federation Account every other month.
“In the first quarter of 2018, the state government received N50 billion, which is more than what the entire South Eastern Nigeria got within the same period,” he said.
He claimed that the huge cash receipt had not reflected the reality on the ground as painted by the administration, adding: “The welfare, health and educational index of the people could not reflex the enormous revenue in-flows from the Federation Account in the last couple of years.”
He further alleged that “some of the so-called industries, including the syringe, toothpick, pencil, fertiliser and electric meter plants, are mere packaging or assembly warehouses where finished goods are repackaged.”
The APC scribe, therefore, challenged the state government to make public all the contractual agreements, including Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) the state reached with the foreign partners, “for the purposes of transparency and due process”.
Reacting to the allegations raised by the APC, Charles Udoh, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, dismissed the allegations as unfounded, mischievous and blackmail, explaining that the state government under Emmanuel had nothing to hide.
Arguing that the administration of Governor Emmanuel had continually demonstrated transparency, due diligence, accountability and integrity, the information commissioner therefore urged the people to discountenance the allegations, as “they were made out of ignorance”.
He disclosed that while the state government would not be publishing the state’s account books on the pages of newspapers, details of government income and expenditures could be located on the state government’s annual audit financial statement.
His words: “Do you know that Akwa Ibom State government publishes its annual audit financial statement? This act is a clear sign of a governor that is committed to transparency, accountability and integrity.”
He stressed that the feat by the governor, especially in the area of financial transparency, was unprecedented in Nigeria.
In the same vein, Iniobong Ememobong, PDP publicity secretary, urged the people to disregard such “attention-seeking allegations by the APC”, adding that “there is absolutely no truth in the entire fabrication. The APC publicity secretary is learning on the job and is obviously seeking some financial support from his party.”