From ADETUTU FOLASADE-KOYI, Abuja
Chairman of the Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Service, Aloysius Etok, has accused Governor Godswill Akpabio of plotting to kill him for vowing to re-contest the Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial election in 2015. Etok made the allegation at a press conference in Abuja yesterday. He alleged that he had been given a deadline of seven days to withdraw his ambition or be killed.
Taking it a step further, Etok said he had forwarded a petition to President Goodluck Jonathan on the plot. Briefing newsmen on the threat to his life by Akpabio, who is also the chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party Governors Forum (PDPGF), Etok said there were series of text messages threatening to kill him if he persisted in going ahead to contest for the senatorial election.
His words: “I have on this phone some text messages which say that if I don’t retract the statement that I will contest the election in 2015, after seven days, I will see what they will do. “Therefore, I want you all the media to ask the governor or those he had let loose to tell the world what is the insult; that is if I still remember what happened during my second term struggle when, as soon as they knew I was going to contest, my wife was kidnapped. “After the release of my wife, my mother-in-law was kidnapped.
When she was released, she died because of the torture she received in the hands of the kidnappers. As a result of that, my father-in-law died out of heart break. Therefore, I also want Nigerians to ask Governor Akpabio what I have done to him. I have not done anything to him. “I want all of you, like I am going to send a petition to the president, to ask Governor Akpabio to let me be. That his hit squad, which he has resurrected should let me live. If anything happens to me, I want the world to know that Governor Akpabio is after my life.”
However, the Akwa Ibom State Government has described as unfortunate, the statements credited to Etok of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District where he made “spurious allegations that the state Governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio, was after his life.” A release signed by the state Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mr. Aniekan Umanah, dismissed such allegations as paranoid, deceitful, baseless and mere hallucinations that served no purpose whatsoever.
The commissioner maintained that Akpabio had no problem with Etok and would not join issues with anyone on conjectures credited to the senator, who the governor worked hard with the people to produce. According to the release by Umanah, “His Excellency, Governor Akpabio is a God fearing and peace loving man, and has never and will never contemplate evil against anyone let alone, his brother and friend, Senator Aloysius Etok.”
The release described the allegation of mobilising local government chairmen and members of the state House of Assembly against Etok as a figment of the imagination of the authors of such scripts because Akpabio was not in the country at the time the alleged actions were taken neither was he party to those as he was attending the Commonwealth Bar Association Conference in Cape Town, South Africa. On the allegation of the governor “resurrecting a hit squad to fight Etok,” the commissioner said, “for the avoidance of doubt, Governor Akpabio has no hit squad and has never been after the life of any citizen of the state,” insisting rather that he engaged the policy of inclusiveness to ensure citizens and stakeholders had a say in the affairs of the state.
Contrary to media reports on strained relationship between the governor and Etok, Umanah said the duo were enjoying very robust relationship and were constantly in touch with each other on matters of concern. On the rumples over the 2015 senatorial elections, the government spokesman said the governor of Akwa Ibom State had high regard for the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and indeed the National Assembly and had always shown this publicly.
He further stressed that Akpabio was only an aspirant to the Senate in 2015 and therefore could not disrespect the office of a senator. On the alleged third term bid of Senator Etok, the commissioner said Etok had every right as guaranteed by the constitution to re-contest election to the Senate in 2015 if he so wished. The state information boss cautioned those bent on tarnishing the hard earned image of the governor to desist from such acts and advised politicians from the state not to jump into the fray of the Nigerian Governors Forum politics, stressing that NGF as a body would settle its issues.
Umanah assured the people of the state and Nigerians that Akpabio would not be pulled into the tides of distraction making wave in political circles but would rather concentrate on his uncommon transformation programme, which had made Akwa Ibom a reference point in the country’s development history.