Withdraw Udom’s NTA award now, Akwa Ibom APC tells Lai Mohammed

* Governor Udom Emmanuel 

______________________________

By Our Reporter 

The Akwa Ibom State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has stated that Governor Udom Emmanuel does not deserve to be celebrated by the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), or any federal agency in the country, as he is an opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) “governor who regularly abuses the APC and President Muhammadu Buhari”.  

The party, in an open letter addressed to the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr. Lai Mohammed, on Monday, copies of which were published in the print and social media, demanded that the recent Integrity and National Service Award given to the Akwa Ibom Governor by NTA “be withdrawn immediately and disavowed publicly”.

Edet Eyo Bassey, the APC publicity secretary in Akwa Ibom, signed the letter on behalf of his party.

Bassey described the award as “nauseating, very insulting and bewildering” to members and supporters of the APC in the state, insisting that officials who gave it out to Mr Udom were wrong to have done so, and, as such, should be called to order.

The letter read in parts: “Instances of Udom Emmanuel’s insults to the President can make a book of respectable volume. The Akwa Ibom State Governor deals these routine insults to the President either personally or through proxies.

“Mr. Udom Emmanuel has been head over heels in celebration of the NTA award, just to thumb his nose at the Presidency and the APC.

“The NTA award therefore is a display of a most thoughtless act of indiscretion, made even more heinous by misleading the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, to present the award to Udom Emmanuel on 16 February 2018 at the Conference Centre of the Presidential Villa”.

Effort to reach Mr Lai Mohammed to confirm receipt of the letter was unsuccessful as of the time of filing this report.

Below is full text of the letter to Mr Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture.

OPEN LETTER TO LAI MOHAMMED: NTA POLITICAL MESS

March 5, 2018
Ahaji Lai Mohammed
Honourable Minister
Federal Ministry of Information & Culture
Radio House, Area 11, Garki
Abuja

Dear Sir,

WHY THIS POLITICAL MESS MUST STOP

We are scandalized that the Board & Management of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) could decide to give Mr. Udom Emmanuel, the PDP Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Integrity & National Service Award.

The very act of NTA, a major parastatal and information platform of the Federal Government, celebrating a PDP governor who regularly hounds and abuses the APC and His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, is to say the least nauseating, very insulting and bewildering to members and supporters of our great party, APC, in Akwa Ibom State.

Instances of Udom Emmanuel’s insults to the President can make a book of respectable volume. The Akwa Ibom State Governor deals these routine insults to the President either personally or through proxies.

A few weeks ago, for instance, his Personal Assistant on Media inundated the social media with the noxious claim that ‘President Buhari’s cows are better fed than most Nigerians are’—an ill-disguised attempt to incite the public against the President on the inherited whirlwind of economic adversity which the current administration is doing its level best to address.

Honourable Minister, we would like to believe that you were not aware of this NTA faux pas because you are committed to our progressive cause, and cannot be imagined having anything to do with the atrocities of the PDP and the embarrassing absentmindedness of the NTA.

Mr. Udom Emmanuel has been head over heels in celebration of the NTA award, just to thumb his nose at the Presidency and the APC. On Wednesday, 28 February 2018, his administration celebrated the NTA award with more than 10 full-page colour ads in The Nation newspaper, all of them making the claim that Udom Emmanuel has been adjudged by the Federal Government & NTA as a conscientious, upright and hardworking Governor!

However, the truth is that he is not; he is the direct opposite. We recall with shock and horror the violence and nightmare that PDP’s thugs visited on our supporters and voters during the last general elections. Over 30 people were killed on the Election Day in what has become the worst electoral violence in Akwa Ibom history, just to make Udom Emmanuel Governor.

The bloodletting has not abated under Udom Emmanuel’s watch as governor. There are near daily murders and kidnappings in Ukanafun and Etim Ekpo local government areas of the state, and the state government is doing nothing to protect the people of those unfortunate local government areas. Since taking office, Mr Emmanuel has been nothing but a puppet to his godfather, and demonstrates no concern about the people for whom he has a duty of care.

The NTA award therefore is a display of a most thoughtless act of indiscretion, made even more heinous by misleading the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, to present the award to Udom Emmanuel on 16 February 2018 at the Conference Centre of the Presidential Villa.

Quite typically, the Governor immediately started advertising the award as a badge of honour and an emblem of the Federal Government’s endorsement of his achievements that are worthy of support for his reelection. We have it on good authority that Mr. Emmanuel has instructed that billboards be erected in the state to further trumpet the award as evidence of Presidential backing for his reelection. Akwa Ibom APC is baffled by this unforced error of our hard-won government, and we have made our disconcertion known in an open and private letters to the SGF (Please, see copy attached).

We know of no government anywhere in the world that exists to help the opposition to take over power. But this seems to be what the APC Government wants to see happen in Nigeria through the sloppiness of its various propaganda and information organs.

In the midterm report of the Buhari administration edited by Senator Babafemi Ojudu, Special Adviser to the President on Political Affairs, 32 pages of the publication, by Udom Emmanuel’s admission, are devoted to parroting the achievements of the Akwa Ibom state governor as a supper leader and a magic worker.

In the Presidential Diary of October 2017, another publication of the Presidency, Udom Emmanuel’s life-size picture is in celebratory display on page 65 of the periodical. All these publications misused to advertise and celebrate the opposition are under the Presidency.

Where is the control and direction to channel their potential to the advantage of the APC government that is unjustifiably daily vilified by minions of the opposition? Federal Government’s institutions and resources cannot be handed over to the opposition just because they can write fat cheques!

We wonder whether the NTA Act of 1977 permits the broadcaster to give awards to tainted politicians, more so to Governors who are obviously wanting in the areas the award purports to celebrate! Can the TV station of a PDP state make out an award to any APC public official?

In Akwa Ibom, to be specific, the NDDC is creditably discharging its core mandate as an intervention Agency of the Federal government in the state, yet the state-owned TV and radio stations have never mentioned it in their news bulletins, talk less of giving an award to the Commission, or its Managing Director, Mr. Nsima Ekere, who is an Akwa Ibom son.

The state-owned media houses regularly abuse federal appointees from the state, notably, Senator Ita Enang and Mr. Ekere. The state-owned news media also refuse to carry any news item or commercial announcements from the APC.

Besides all other considerations, Udom Emmanuel does not deserve an award from the NTA, or any federal agency. Even if the governor paid for this award as we understand, the NTA, as a public broadcaster that should strive for global service standards as practised by the BBC, ought to have refused such inducement. BBC or VOA would never give an award to a discredited politician, or anybody for that matter.

Akwa Ibom people have many things to complain about Udom Emmanuel. He does not keep his promises to the people (again, please see page 40 of The Nation of Wednesday, 28 Feb 2018). This is a man who does not allow his people to see the state budget since he was railroaded into the office of governor.

The budget should be the most public of any public document, and so it had been in all previous administrations in the state until Udom Emmanuel came along. Since he came he has hidden the state annual budget documents like nuclear secret. Why would a man of integrity be hiding his state budget? What is he afraid of?

He has achieved nothing with the N700 billion he has so far received from the FAAC, IGR and other sources, and most people in Akwa Ibom actually say to his hearing that he claims and advertises previous government’s projects as his!

The Governor is planning to build a Worship Center for N10 billion in Uyo; a 21-storey edifice also in Uyo and a Governor’s Lodge worth N19 billion in Lagos. Yet the state’s Fire Service has no serviceable trucks apart from the two donated by the NDDC recently.

And so, when fire gutted a power sub-station the other day in Uyo, there was no help in sight. The city is in darkness now. Many of our children in public schools, even in Uyo metropolis, have no writing desks.

They sit on bare floor to take lessons. Municipal services like street lights and garbage collection have been neglected, yet our governor is wasting billions on useless fancy edifices and empty awards! Is this the right man for NTA to celebrate with an award?

OUR DEMANDS

1. We believe that the NTA is wrong in giving an award to Udom Emmanuel, and so the Board & Management should be called to order and be asked to desist from such embarrassing and politically self-defeating enterprise.

2. No federal media house, including the NTA, VON, FRCN, NAN should be allowed to give out awards to PDP politicians, no matter the amount they offer to pay. It is an act of self-immolation. These are the same people who destroyed this country in their brazen corruption of 16 years.

3. We ask that the NTA Award to Udom Emmanuel be withdrawn immediately and disavowed publicly.

Thank you, Sir.
Please be assured of the highest consideration of the Leadership and Members of our great Party, the APC, in Akwa Ibom State.
Sincerely,

Signed:
Barr. Edet Eyo Bassey (Esq)
State Publicity Secretary

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