By Ibrahim Wuyo, Kaduna
A group, the Senator Akpabio for Common Good, has cautioned the political rivals of the former Governor of Akwa Ibom State and Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio to desist from campaigns of calumny against him, insisting that at no time Akpabio was he convicted for corruption.
The group, which revealed that its mission was to convince Mr Akpabio to contest elections in 2023, made this known in a statement signed by its National Coordinator, Malam Jibril Tafida.
The group’s reaction is coming on the heels of a story in which it was insinuated that the Niger Delta Minister was intimidated by the EFCC to defect to the APC.
The group explained that it was a false allegation against Akpabio and condemned it in strong terms. It described the decamping of Akpabio to the APC as purely voluntary action and never forced to do so as insinuated.
The statement also cautioned against “the use of unfounded allegations deliberately meant to tarnish the reputation of Mr Akpabio – who has been making sacrifices for the good of this country”.
“We take exception to the new wave of a campaign of calumny in the media…that the EFCC had in 2015 commenced probe of Akpabio over alleged theft of N108.1billion. We make bold to say that this matter remains at the level of a petition and has never been tabled before any court of competent jurisdiction in this country”, the group said.
It called on “people with vested political interests, using mere allegations to tarnish the reputation of this patriot to stop wasting time and resources in this futile attempt to score cheap political points”.
We take serious exception to the syndicated insinuations by elements who would want to use “legally and constitutionally untenable allegations, unproved by any authority in the country,” to bear in mind that their agenda “is dead on arrival”.
The statement also noted that the Niger Delta Minister has “almost unbeatable records in infrastructure, health, education and sports among other legacies while serving as Governor. Akpabio, the group argued, has initiated bills through his legislative activism, that “could accelerate Nigeria’s move towards greatness”.
The statement also indicated that the group has gone very far in its mobilization of like-minded groups and individuals genuinely interested in supporting the Niger Delta Minister to join the 2023 race.