Stakeholders of the regional peace and development advocacy group, the Alliance for Peace in the Niger Delta APND, have charged the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, to focus on the high demands of his office, rather than dissipating his energy in making utterances capable of fuelling ethnic tensions and inciting violence in his home state, Akwa Ibom.
Specifically, the body frowned at what it described as “deliberate actions and vituperation made by Senator Akpabio in denigration of the person and office of the Governor of Akwa Ibom, Pastor Umo Eno” as well as the institution of the State House of Assembly
Akpabio, a former Senate minority leader had during the State’s 36th Anniversary Thanksgiving Service declared all Local Government Areas in the state as oil-producing, and that there should be no distinction among them in terms of sharing of resources or benefits.
He also reportedly impressed it on Gov. Eno to repeal the Akwa Ibom Map Bill which has been signed into law
However, APND in a statement by its National Coordinator, Nsikak Francis on Wednesday, lamented that the comments by Senator Akpabio at the 36th Anniversary Thanksgiving Service of the State held in Uyo, the State Capital, and at the opening of the National Assembly leaders retreat in Ikot Ekpene could pitch the people against one another, disrupt the peace and trigger widespread ethnic violence in the State.
The advocacy group insisted that Senator Akpabio’s “unguarded outbursts” on issues relating to the leadership of the traditional institution as well as the mapping of Akwa Ibom State are, “to say the least, thoughtless, unstatesmanlike and ostensibly intended to cause divisions and unnecessary conflict among the various peoples of Akwa Ibom State”.
“It is instructive to note that the people of Akwa Ibom State are living in peace and tranquility since the last eight years, under the immediate past Governor of the State, Udom Emmanuel, and the incumbent, Pastor Umo Eno.
“However, it is saddening that this peace is now being threatened by the unguarded utterances of Senator Akpabio, apparently for personal political reasons.
“More distressing is that our check has revealed that the Senate President is allegedly the brain behind the traditional institution leadership arrangement. His current revolt and outburst against the issue therefore appears to be with the intention to cause crisis.
“This body counsels Senator Akpabio not to import into Akwa Ibom State the same proclivity which is brewing serious crisis in the Senate for which he is facing impeachment threats, the same proclivity which destabilized the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs under his watch as Minister and for which President Bola Tinubu nearly scrapped the Ministry.
“Akwa Ibom is a home of peace. The people have elected a new Governor in the person of Pastor Eno and they are happy with his leadership style. Senator Akpabio has had his time as the State governor. He is now the Senate President, he should concentrate on his duties in the National Assembly and desist from this unnecessary attempts to cause crisis in Akwa Ibom State”, the APND stated.
The peace body called on the people of Akwa Ibom State to discountenance Senator Akpabio’s antics and continue to protect the peace of the state.
It also called on President Tinubu to call Senator Akpabio to order adding that his activities in the State, if not addressed, is capable of causing very serious crisis in the entire Niger Delta region with a devastating negative consequences on the economy of the nation.
The group however urged Nigerians to hold Senator Akpabio responsible should there be any ethnic-based breakdown of law and order in Akwa Ibom State.