We have pondered on the frivolous, deceitful, misleading and inciting statements made by Senator Godswill Akpabio, Nigeria’s Senate President during a recent church thanksgiving service hosted by the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Pastor Umo Eno, at the All Nations Christian Church in Eket on Sunday, February 11. At that event, Akpabio lied before God, lied on the pulpit and lied before a cross section of the State

Senator Akpabio deliberately came for the programme few minutes to the end of the church service, an act he has mastered over the years since his days as Governor of Akwa Ibom State. We are not particularly worried that he intentionally arrived late, disrupting the service, causing protocol breach and undermining Governor Umo Eno, who had to punctuate his address and wait for several minutes, for the late comer to dance in and greet everyone before taking his seat. We are only aghast that Akpabio was later to open old wounds on the sensibilities of the people of Eket when we listened with disdain, to the frivolous, deceitful, misleading and inciting statement made by Senate President of Nigeria especially on the abandoned moribund Qua River Hotel in Eket.

Chief among his lies was that he had re-purchased the Qua River Hotel, which had previously been sold to a private firm in 2001 by the then Governor Victor Attah administration, and that he had gone ahead to design a 16 Storey Hotel for the present location of Qua River Hotel for Eket people.
Even if Akpabio does have any regards for Eket, like we know he does not as clearly shown in his eight years of governorship of Akwa Ibom State, he should have at least feared God and scrutinize the lies he gushed out from the pulpit.

Nothing could be so untrue like Akpabio’s gospel of Qua River Hotel. Amusingly, Akpabio is now pretending to love Eket people. That is just a product of the guilt that he has had to fight with and suppressed over the years. That was simply his style of confession, and speaks volume of a guilty conscience. Perhaps Akpabio feels that Eket people have very limited retentive memory when he himself is the one whose memory needs to be recalibrated.

Let us therefore remind Akpabio that at the QIC Primary School, Usung Inyang Eket in March 2007 when he visited Eket to seek for votes as the PDP Governorship Candidate, he made bold to promise several things: the building of a new stadium in Eket, revamping of the ailing Qua River Hotel and resurrecting the Qua Steel Factory. He also promised Eket – Ibeno Road and Eket-Etinan Road among others.
He clearly said, “I know you want Eket Sports Stadium, I can assure you, I can assure you and I can assure you.
“You want the Qua River Hotel, I can assure you I can assure you and I can assure you…” It had since been confirmed that Akpabio in 2007 was basically listing all what he will never do for Eket people; and he showed undiluted fidelity to the pledge to neglect Eket as if he swore to an affidavit to do just that. He did none after eight years. This is why we condemn his open mockery on Eket after such heartless treatment? Oh what an audacity to add salt to injury.

Our happiness is that God has been passing through succeeding administrations to give Eket what Akpabio vehemently opposed and denied the area. It was only after the Senate President left office in 2015 as Governor that infrastructural reforms were witnessed in Eket, despite its strategic status as headquarters of Eket senatorial district.

All of the music of uncommon transformation that rocked the airwaves throughout his eight year tenure had no echo throughout Eket land as no major road was constructed beyond ground breaking stage. We have now seen the construction and in dual form, the Eket – Ibeno Road, Eket – Etinan Road all the way to Uyo and the remodeling of Eket into an urban standard. We now see how it feels to have roundabouts with water fountains and amphi theatre. Sporting life has resurrected in the area with the ultra modern sports facility. We know those who truly love Eket and Akpabio is not one of them.

His comments on the pulpit in Eket soil, which came very few days after he swore openly to his party stalwarts that he will make sure he captures the governorship seat in Akwa Ibom State for APC in 2027, aptly confirms our suspicions that this is just another of his political antics and never a sign of love for Eket people.

When he had the yam and the knife as Governor, Akpabio knew that besides Uyo which already had a Five Star Hotel on Nwaniba Road, the next city in Akwa Ibom State that justifiably needed a five star hotel and other amenities was Eket, a part of the State where the vast natural wealths of the country emanate. But he ignored his conscience then and rather built a 12 Storey hotel in Uyo few poles from an existing 10th Anniversary Hotel started by the Joseph Adeusi administration, and took the third one to Ikot Ekpene. Where does such a man still hide his face to come and talk about the importance of a Hotel and other developments in Eket?

On the establishment of tertiary institutions, during his tenure, he had the opportunity of fulfilling the longstanding dream of Eket’s forebears when the federal government dangled him an opportunity to host a Federal Polytechnic in Akwa Ibom. He rather took it to his backyard in Ukana, when Eket was willing to avail him of better facilities at Afaha Eket. Eket was not also worthy of any of the campuses of the State University which he established as Governor.

During that service at All Nations Christian Church, Akpabio also accused the Governor of taking his thanksgiving to his own church. As if addressing his Personal Aide, he told the Governor, “as Governor, you are a member of all churches. Next time go to Apostolic, Mount Zion or other churches for thanksgiving.” Does he forget that on Sunday September 24,2023, Pastor Umo Eno had hosted the State Anniversary thanksgiving service at The Apostolic Church, Obio Imo street in Uyo. At that event which he came late as usual, Akpabio clearly told Governor Eno to discountenance the Akwa Ibom State Map, duly enacted by the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly and signed into law by the immediate past administration. Why would a lawfully approved Map of the State pain Senator Akpabio, if not because it afforded Eket the opportunity of reclaiming its ancestral land and property?

That is why we vehemently condemn his unguarded utterances at the church in Eket. We witnessed how he took turns to attack everyone he could recognize from the lectern; from the former Deputy governor, Mr Moses Ekpo to the current deputy governor, Senator Akon Eyakenyi and even the director general of the Umo Eno Campaign Organisation, Chief Assam Assam, SAN. This was even after he had cleared his throat by saying that he was not going to abuse people that day, as if the duty of the senate president is to abuse people from the pulpit. Senator Akon Eyakenyi was a Commissioner in the State Executive Council when Akpabio himself was made commissioner, but that is the same person Akpabio would say had never been to Abuja until he made her Minister. “The first time your deputy Akon Eyakenyi ever set foot in Abuja to know where the federal capital territory is located, was when I sent her to be a Minister”. I was the one who brought Moses Ekpo back from US and made him deputy Governor but throughout his tenure in 8years, he never invited me for a state function in my own State”. What manner of blatant lies and reckless statements.

While we cannot change him at this stage of his life, we want to let Akpabio know that his counsel to the Governor on Qua River Hotel is respectfully unsolicited as it was wrapped in falsehood. During his tenure, Senator Akpabio made no effort to recover the Qua River hotel from EKPOUDIA ENTERPRISE that had acquired it in 2001. Eket people had since taken their destiny in their hands and commenced processes of revoking the contract deal on the hotel through a motion by the member representing Eket in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Dr Nsidibe Akata. The House of Assembly is in the process of legally empowering the Governor, Pastor Umo Eno to revoke and reclaim the project and build a standard hotel for Eket. Why would such a resolution have been needed if at all Akpabio’s Government had re-purchased the hotel from the private owners as he lied in his gospel of lies?

So, suddenly, Eket now deserves such attention? Akpabio is waking up late in the night; he shunned us in the morning, afternoon and evening. This late night interest is suspicious and curious, and we reject it with the alertness a night action deserves. If he wants to steal the glory when eventually the rights to the project is revoked, remodeled and put to use. He has failed once again.

Akpabio is a wrong person to advise Governor Umo Eno on what to do for Eket people; Akpabio cannot be more Catholic than the Pope, Akpabio cannot cry our cry for us.

Good enough, we have a listening leader in Governor Umo Eno, who does not allow ethnic sentiments or other mundane trivialities to put a wedge between him and his plans for the people. We trust that the humble Man of God in the helms of Akwa Ibom State affairs, will build an ultra modern Hotel complex for Eket, he will expand on its infrastructure and will afford us more government presence through industries, a tertiary institution and other infrastructure to enable our local government reclaim its past glory as ‘Idung Mfianwe’.

For the umpteenth time, we urge Senator Godswill Akpabio to leave Eket alone. He did not like us yesterday, he cannot like us today. We are not interested in his cosmetic love.

Ekid Nation Interest Forum