Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio has debunked claims that he derided the leadership of his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), over its condemnation of President Muhammadu Buhari’s comment that a lot of Nigerian youths are idle.
The former Akwa Ibom State governor in a statement signed by his media aide, Aniete Ekong and shared with journalists described the report as malicious.
The statement reads in part: “The attention of the Senate Minority Leader has been drawn to a malicious publication dripping with hate with the caption, “Akpabio blasts PDP, his party.
“For the records, Akpabio is a highly respected party man who as Governor of Akwa Ibom State between 2007 and 2015 made the PDP an icon of development nationally and internationally. The write up by an unknown Fred Asuquo is not only false but part of the campaign of calumny started against Senator Akpabio since January 2018, as a precursor to the upcoming presidential election primaries in October/November 2018.
“The write up is false, baseless and malicious and the figment of the evil imagination of the writer and his sponsors. Senator Akpabio is yet to listen to the tape of the President’s interview in London where he allegedly made a statement concerning the Nigerian youths and till date has not commented on it, he has read on the social media and newspapers the said statement and reactions but is yet to watch the interview and therefore could not have blasted PDP. Can the writer come up with details of where and when the Distinguished Senator blasted his party or supported the denigration of Nigerian youths? Even the language in the write up is uncouth and does not represent the style and dignity of Senator Akpabio.
“There is no gainsaying that Senator Akpabio is nationally noted for his strong belief in the ability and capacity of the Nigerian youths to make a difference in the governance and development of our dear country. He demonstrated his faith in the Nigerian youth by involving thousands of youths in the governance structure of the state in his eight-year tenure as Governor of Akwa Ibom State between 2007 and 2015. In fact, the average age of Akpabio’s cabinet members was 35/45 years. He was labeled the “Uncommon Transformer who turned Boys into Men.” The youths of Akwa Ibom State who were generally empowered, in a show of appreciation did not disappoint him either. We therefore challenge the internet writer, Fred Asuquo to come up with details of where and when Akpabio blasted his party”, the lawmaker said .
On the ongoing Electoral Act Amendment Bill before the National Assembly, particularly the issue of the sequence of election, the statement said Senator Akpabio recently opposed the new sequence brought up in the Senate by the Chairman, Senate Committee on INEC, Senator Nazif as being capable of portraying the red chambers in bad light.
It said: “The reason was obvious: In the first sequence passed by both chambers of the National Assembly and sent to Mr President for assent, the proposed first election was the Senate/House of Representatives followed by others. The current proposal which generated uproar in both Chambers was a sequence now proposing the governorship election first and ending with the presidential election.
“Senator Akpabio being a consistent politician cautioned that the new proposal could be misinterpreted by members of the public that the Senate was approbating and reprobating and therefore opposed it. Accordingly, the House of Representatives and the Senate returned the new proposal to the Committee for further legislative action.
“Senator Akpabio deserves to be allowed to have peace. He is not vying for the office of the Vice-President or that of the President in 2019. His people in Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District have already endorsed him as their Senator for a second term come 2019. The attempt by the unknown Fred Asuquo to smear Senator Akpabio’s name before his party, the PDP and the Nigerian youths, who form majority of voters, should be seen for what it is: a politically sponsored smear campaign. The question must now be asked: who is afraid of the Senate Minority Leader?”