Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Mr Onofiok Luke, Tuesday, said nobody can use the office of President Muhammadu Buhari to intimidate him or any member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, in the ongoing preparations for the 2019 general elections.
The Speaker, who spoke shortly after plenary, was reacting to last week’s invitation of some Akwa Ibom PDP leaders by the Inspector General of Police, Mr Ibrahim Idris, over a petition written by Ini Okopido, chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom State concerning the destruction of some APC campaign billboards.
According to the Speaker, the Department of the IGP’s Monitoring Unit had invited also, the Director General of Governor Udom Emmanuel’s Divine Mandate Campaign Council, Otuekong Idongesit Nkanga; Commissioner for Environment, Iniobong Essien; Chairman of Uyo local government area, Imoh Okon; and the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Security Matters, Fubara Duke, following the content of the petition which he described as “frivolous allegations”.
He said although the petitioner did not say he did something bad, but it was written falsely that, while he was on the campaign train of the governor, he had threatened not to allow candidates of the opposition APC in the state to campaign freely and openly.
He said the invited PDP leaders were ordered to make written statements on the matter before they were released to go at the weekend.
The speaker said: “In Akwa Ibom State, we are law abiding citizens of Nigeria and no one can use the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the security agencies, under the guise of politics, to intimidate us. That is my message for the Akwa Ibom people, and that is my message for the teeming supporters of the PDP.
“If members of the Akwa Ibom APC think they are popular, they should stop using the state apparatus and security agencies to intimidate us. The more they try to intimidate us, the more our resolve to defend the common mandate of Governor Udom Emmanuel.
“And I am also telling them that, if they are popular; they should come back home and campaign, and not behave like children who would go and start a fight and then run to their father for protection”.
The speaker also express concern at the speed with which President Buhari minuted on the petition and forwarded same to the Inspector General of Police for treatment, noting that such speed could have been equally applied in other areas to solve the myriads of problems plaguing the country.
“I wish that such speed was equally applied in other areas, we would not be having security challenges in the country again. If such speed was employed in addressing issues in the Niger Delta, we would have had a clean up of Ogoni land before now.
“I wish that such speed too by the Presidency would have been applied in the award of contract for the dualization of Calabar/Itu Road, with a spur to Ididep; by now we would have been driving on that dual carriage way.
“So let that speed at which the Presidency minuted on that frivolous petition with trumped up charges and allegations be applied in other areas to solve the poverty in Nigeria.
“Akwa Ibom people respect the President and Commander- in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. His office should therefore not be used as the office of the intimidator-in-chief.
“Within the ambits of the law, and as law abiding citizens, we will use every legal means to resist every attempt to cow or intimidate the PDP and its supporters in Akwa Ibom State, and the Campaign organization of Governor Udom Emmanuel”.
This reporter had, during a tour of Uyo metropolis, last week, observed that campaign billboards belonging to both APC and the PDP were turn to pieces at different locations. Propeller Newspaper has not received report of arrest of anyone responsible for the destruction.
Earlier, the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly Legislative Funds Management Bill 2018, which was sponsored by the House Leader, Udo Kierian Akpan, passed through the second reading.
The bill which seeks to provide for the management of funds accruing to the state assembly from the consolidated revenue fund of the state was further committed to the joint House’ committees on Parliamentary/Special Matters and House Services for further legislative action.