Hauling Insult at your person is at the instance of Gov Udom Emmanuel, Akwa Ibom Elders tell Buhari
Hauling Insult at your person is at the instance of Gov Udom Emmanuel, Akwa Ibom Elders tell Buhari
Concerned Akwa Ibom State Elders Forum
OPEN LETTER TO PRESIDENT MUHAMMADU BUHARI, GCFR
Federal Republic of Nigeria
Letter Of Appreciation For Taking Udom Gabriel Emmanuel On Trip To Cote D’ Ivoire, Thereby Teaching Him Invaluable Lesson In Non-Partisan Leadership
On behalf of the good people of Akwa Ibom State, we write to congratulate you on your successful trip recently to Cote d’ Ivoire to attend the EU-AU Summit. We acknowledge and salute your untiring efforts to create and nurture the international support and solidarity required to enable our country realise in full, its potential for greatness.
In particular, we wish to express the profound gratitude of the generality of our people for your magnanimity in taking along to Abidjan, Cote d’ Ivoire, the state governor, Deacon Udom Gabriel Emmanuel. As a leader who sees the entire country as his constituency irrespective of political party affiliation, we know that the decision to ask Udom Emmanuel to join you on the trip to Cote d’ Ivoire came to you easily. You also did not have to agonise over whether to allow him accompany you to Cameroun, as he did in 2015.
Mr. President, in your non-partisan accommodation of Governor Emmanuel in this and other matters, you have taught him an invaluable lesson in leadership which the governor would do well to imbibe. But will he? We seriously doubt it. On past form and present inclination, Udom Emmanuel is one of the most uncompromisingly partisan, arrogant, hawkish and haughty leaders to have ever walked on these shores. Everything about him and his government is focused on his political party, the PDP. For example, civil service recruitments are delibrately designed to favour PDP members only. In fact, last year, teacher employment forms were distributed at PDP secretariat for members only!
Udom Emmanuel probably makes nice and exhibits his well-known proclivity for obsequiousness when he is around you in Abuja. But back home in Akwa Ibom though, the governor taunts, insults and denigrates the president. And for for non-members of his party, the PDP, it is hell. Members of the All Progressives Congress (APC), your political party, in particular, have been singled out for the worst forms of intimidation, harassment, oppression and marginalisation. Known members of APC are shut out of programmes of your government which you have opted to implement through strictly statutory channels which, of course, has required the use of structures operated by state governments. We refer to programmes like SDGs, School Feeding, etc. All the persons hired to provide foods to schools under the school feeding program are PDP members only.
Your excellency, Udom Emmanuel does not appreciate that it is out of the goodness of your heart that you have allowed his government access to federal projects and programmes. We recall that some previous governments have chosen to shut out states held by opposition political parties from their projects and programmes. In 1979, President Shehu Shagari appointed Presidential Liaison Officers for such a purpose. The PLOs were specifically mandated to supplant the authorities of governors in opposition enclaves and supervise the implementation of federal government’s programmes. You could have chosen to use similar parallel structures to implement federal projects and programmes. As a leader who promised change, you have chosen not to do so; rather you preferred to carry state governors like Udom Emmanuel along instead.
Your Excellency, rather than appreciate your patriotic approach to intergovernmental relations, Udom Emmanuel has opted for the offensive partisan tack of attacking the federal government, its agencies, your good self and your political party, at every opportunity. He has openly incited youths in PDP to beat up Senator Ita Enang, the SSA to the President on National Assembly Matters (Senate). He has also ordered Senator Ita Enang locked out of the state’s airport during the visit of the Vice President to Akwa Ibom State last March. What was his offence? For having the temerity to draw public attention to the ineptitude of the Udom administration despite the torrents of money that it receives each month from the federation account. In fact, the governor has not publicly disclosed what the state has received from as its share of Paris Club refunds and refunds for expenses incurred on federal roads by the previous administration. He manages our finances in extreme secrecy and murkiness. And when the people question his opacity and non-transparency in the manner he spends money, Udom Emmanuel gets brittle and begin to throw tantrums and insults. Not once, he has called us ‘myopic’, ‘illiterates’, ‘ignorant’, etc.
To the NDDC, the governor is very petty and hostile. Udom Emmanuel’s commissioners and aides regularly mobilise thugs to interrupt and disrupt work at federal government project sites in Akwa Ibom (e.g. NDDC projects); all in a bid to put you, your government and political party in bad light. Our governor is so small-minded and insecure that he considers the NDDC as an opponent rather than a development partner. While other governors in our region woo the NDDC to their states, our governor routinely insults its Managing Director at every public function for no just reason. A typical example was the governor’s intemperate outbursts against the MD of the NDDC at the Security Summit convened by the Inspector General of Police in Uyo in September.
Mr. President, Governor Emmanuel has extended his antagonism and aggression to the EFCC, an agency at the heart of one of your key policy thrusts. He has instructed his Attorney General to institute several court cases in several courts against the EFCC in order to prevent the anti-graft agency from investigating the finances of the state government under his predecessor, Godswill Akpabio. Akwa Ibom people are embarrassed and offended by the actions of Udom Emmnauel. By frustrating and blocking the EFCC from performing its legitimate duties of fighting corruption, the governor has essentially declared war against one of the three cardinal programmes of the federal government under your able leadership. There is no other governor, and indeed, there has never been any since 1999, that has so brazenly helped a suspect to escape justice. It is one of the gravest violations of our Constitution by a governor and the most unconscionable betrayal of the trust of our people.
Mr. President, we are proud of your sterling performance in the last 30 months in the area of tackling corruption, prosecuting looters and recovering billions in cash and assets from politicians and their allies. Several former governors, senators and politically exposed persons are either facing court charges or are being investigated by the EFCC for corruption. Even the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, who is a ranking member of the Federal Government, and an influential member of the APC, is facing a court case on corruption charges. We believe that Sen. Akpabio should also have his day in court to defend himself. Gov. Udom Emmanuel has a duty to his conscience, Constitution and Akwa Ibom people to allow justice to prevail and ensure accountability in the deployment of the resources of the state during the tenure of his predecessor, Godswill Akpabio. He should allow the EFCC unfettered access to information and persons necessary for the performance of its duties. But our governor does not only prevent the EFCC from working in the state, he cuddles corruption and revels in opacity in the management of state finances. As we all know, the mother of corruption is opacity in government.
Mr. President, another reprehensible character of Udom Emmanuel is his aversion to clean, free and fair elections. He became governor in 2015 through the most dubious and brutal electoral process in our history. Over 40 people were killed just to make him governor! And so when he had to conduct Local Government elections just the other week, he literally ordered names of PDP members written down and sworn-in! No semblance of election was conducted!
But Sir, in stark upright contrast, you have allowed INEC to conduct elections that have been hailed by all and sundry as models for credibility and integrity of the vote. Although the PDP, Udom Emmanuel’s political party is notorious for sundry electoral chicaneries, some people had dared to hope that your commitment to clean elections would rub off on the governor; especially since he had recently spent some time in your company. They hoped in vain. It may well be that Udom Emmanuel and his political party are so steeped in their stupefyingly narrow partisan approach to governance that they cannot take the cue from your example.
Your excellency, Mr. President, Udom Emmanuel is also very disrespectful, disdainful and quite contemptuous of you when he’s out of your sight. In October 2015 when the Court of Appeal pronounced that he was not duly elected, Udom addressed a rally of PDP members and said: ‘No Fulani man can remove me from office. They should go back and rear their cattle and leave Akwa Ibom and its oil alone’. When you were hospitalized in London earlier in the year, his media aides, particularly, Mr. Essien Ndueso, wrote an article disparaging you and making a mockery of your ill health. ‘We do not want a president who will be wasting our money in hospital’, he wrote. The governor did not repudiate this. We were therefore not surprised when the same media aide wrote recently in another disparaging article that ‘Buhari’s cattle appear better fed than Nigerians’. It was in reference to pictures of you visiting your farm in Daura recently. As a former member of the House of Representatives, Mr. Eseme Eyibo put it, in reacting to these diatribes, ‘the aide’s opinion is the expression of the master’s thoughts’. We believe that Udom Emmanuel has been aware of these insulting and derisive comments by his staff. He either encouraged or condoned them.
The governor himself incessantly rants about the failure of the federal government to give full derivation funds to his state. At every function, he announces that ‘Abuja has seized our money, even when oil price is improving and our crude oil production level is going up’. It is a deliberate attempt to twist facts, poison the mind of the people and incite them against the President.
Your excellency, we conclude by noting that as Udom Emmanuel cozies up to you, it is advisable to keep him at bay and treat him as a very sly and insincere person.
Long live Akwa Ibom State
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria
Hon. Perry Ntuk
Akwa Ibom State Government
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