By Clifford Ndujihe
AS President Muhammadu Buhari compiles the list of his ministerial nominees, the Ibom Integrity and Servant Leadership Culture Initiative, IISLCI, a group of elders in Akwa Ibom All Progressives Congress, APC, has advised him against nominating immediate past governor of the state and former Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio.
Executive Vice President of the elders, Dr. Asuquo Edidem Etim, said appointing Akpabio as minister could hurt President Buhari’s next level agenda and create instability in Akwa Ibom State.
The Akwa Ibom State Working Committee, SWC of the APC has however, distanced itself from the Dr Etim-led group, saying it does not exist.
A statement by Nkereuwem Enyongekere, publicity secretary, said: ‘’The State working Committee of the APC Akwa Ibom State has observed with utter dismay one faceless Elders’ group-Ibom Integrity & Servant Leadership Culture Initiative parading and arrogating to itself the power of condemnation and recommendation as quite worrisome, embarrassing and unacceptable. We hereby confirm that the self acclaimed leader of the group, Dr Asuquo Edidem Etim is a disclaimer and not an APC member and we have no such group in our APC groups’ Registration Register in Akwa Ibom State.”
However, Dr Etim in a letter to the president said they are ‘’a core group of believers in Mr. President’s leadership philosophy that is rooted in integrity, transparency and servant leadership. And we believe it is incumbent on us to help our leader achieve an enhanced performance in his second and final term of office as president of our great nation.”
To succeed in his second term, the group said President Buhari should select his ministers in ‘’a manner that will ensure that they do not become liabilities to your government or dent your impeccable image. Characters with known corruption allegations or propensity for pettiness, mischief, treachery, profligacy and vendetta, should be avoided.”
Recalling how Akpabio ran Akwa Ibom as governor for eight years, his stint as senate minority leader, his defection to the APC and effect on the electoral fortunes of the party in Akwa Ibom, the elders said making him a minister could be toxic for the next level project.
‘’The same Senator Akpabio that in years past had been your and our party’s nemesis cannot suddenly become the gadfly of your political generosity.
Mr. President, just as we, the masses of Nigeria openly accepted you as our leader by this renewed mandate, the people of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial zone, where Akpabio won in only two of its 10 local Governments in the just concluded elections, in their wisdom, considering what they know about their son, have instructively, in the last election, openly rejected Akpabio as their representative at the federal level. So, we implore you, our dear leader, to be circumspect in considering him as minister in your government, so as not to appear insensitive to the people and counterproductive security wise, in the state, by allowing him acquire a fresh political power from the back door of ministerial appointment, which we fear he may use with vengeance against us, his people and the state.”