Governor Godswill Akpabio denies rigging election

The Akwa Ibom State Governor, Godswill Akpabio, late Sunday struggled to explain away an indicting video where he brazenly admitted to manipulating his party’s senatorial primaries that produced Aloysius Etok, a serving senator.

Mr. Akpabio said he personally “used my hand” to strike off the name of the winner of the nomination, replacing same with Mr. Etok’s name. He spoke during the controversial Good Governance Tour to Akwa Ibom state two weeks ago.

The video (view HERE) sparked outrage with many calling for sanctions against the governor.

The Akwa Ibom Government blamed the media and “mischief makers” for the governor’s gaffe in a statement issued late Sunday. The state’s Information Commissioner, Anieka Umanah, said Mr. Akpabio was misunderstood, and emphasized the governor’s subsequent attempt at clarifying the comments.

“Contrary to false impression making the rounds that Senator Aloysius Etok, representing Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District was imposed on the people of the area by Governor Godswill Akpabio, it has been explained that the choice of the Senator was the outcome of due political process,” a statement by Idris Mabadeje, an Information Officer, said.

Mr. Umanah is quoted by the statement as claiming that Mr. Akpabio “was misunderstood in a video post on some websites and in the social media.”

“Chief Akpabio has never, and would never engage in the rigging of election at any level,” he said, assuring that “Governor Akpabio is a true democrat who will always support and promote efforts geared towards deepening Nigeria’s fledgling democracy.”

Mr. Akpabio has been at the centre of multiple “donation” scandals involving his well-known profligate use of state funds for indiscreet purposes.

Despite clear evidences exposing the governor in the past, the state government’s reactions and those of the ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP, which has been a key beneficiary of the governor’s largesse, have been to dismiss the attacks as political; occasioned by Mr. Akpabio’s recent emergence as the Chairman of the PDP Governors Forum.