Tuesday, 29 September 2015

APC accuse Udom of wasting N4b on anniversary

* It’s cheap blackmail - Aniekan Umanah


Governor Udom Emmanuel has come under serious attack from the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) over what the party described as reckless and insensitive the amount of money sunk into the recent anniversary celebration of the state. The APC have accused the Governor of contunuing the trend of wanton spending that characterised the last administration of Godswill Akpabio. THE INK also gathered from impeccable sources that Akwa Ibom State Government spent a whopping sum of N4 Billion to mark the anniversary of the creation of the state. This sum has generated rumpus and unease across the state with many taking exception to the development. Some people have described the money spent on the celebration as a waste of public funds in light of the financial crunch that has hit the state. Those who expressed disappointment over the wild celebration embarked upon by the Udom Emmanuel administration observed that the state government had no reason whatsoever to have devoted such an amount on the celebration even when President Muhammadu Buhari has approved just N70 Million to mark Nigeria’s 55th anniversary.

They overwhelming displeasure across the state is the wisdom behind the Akwa Ibom State Government’s anniversary and the reason it should supersede that of the federation in terms of money earmarked for the celebration. Those who spoke with our reporter on the vexed issue expressed displeasure over the lavish celebration describing it as callous and in sharp contrast with the Governor’s background as a thoroughbred financial expert.  The people are of the opinion that Governor Udom Emmanuel’s excessive spending portends a grave danger to the state. They observed that with the way Udom is going, the state may be rendered bankrupt even as they challenged the governor to come out clean on what the state actually spent if he denies the allegation.
A visibly enraged man who spoke with our reporter argued that Udom is continuing in Akpabio’s style of wanton spending by deploying lean resources on projects that are not necessary. “It is disappointing that Governor Udom Emmanuel has refused to break free from the spending style of his predecessor even when he is coming from a financially disciplined sector. It is painful that such amount was squandered on launching of the Dakkada project, printing of T-shirts, feeding, giving out handouts of N1000 per youth while fat envelopes were given to ex governors except Obong Victor Attah.
Not a few people have expressed angst at the recent anniversary celebration due to the way and manner it was marked without recourse to how the people are suffering daily with many going through excruciating circumstances to feed. A business man who spoke to our reporter on the condition of anonymity noted that beaming the event live on AIT was not necessary especially with the huge amount that had gone into the occasion already. “My brother, what was the point of showing that thing on AIT. Even Katsina state that also had their anniversary the same day did not do half of what Akwa Ibom did. This is unnecessary spending in a state many are poor and struggle to feed. Udom has to stop this kind of excessive spending in future if he wants to enjoy the goodwill of the people.’’
The All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state has taken a swipe at Udom Emmanuel and PDP over the needless and insensitive spending of the state’s resources in the last anniversary. The party maintained that such lavish spending is a pointer to the fact that Udom Emmanuel is not ready to govern the state. It added that it is only a matter of time before the APC sweeps out PDP and Udom from the Hilltop Mansion. The APC says such spending is a clear indication that the PDP do not have the interest of the people at heart even as it urged Akwa Ibomites to brace up for a rerun where they will have the opportunity to vote out an ‘oppressive’ Government.
Meanwhile, the Akwa Ibom State government has described as deliberate falsehood, the rumour making the rounds on the internet and in some local newspapers that it expended about N4b to celebrate the 28th anniversary of the State.
In a phone conversation with our reporter in Uyo, the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mr. Aniekan Umanah said, peddlers of such story are political jobbers who are out to misinform the people, with a view to achieving negative ends. According to the Commissioner, no such humongous amount was spent on the anniversary, during which the Dakkada spiritual rebirth and moral transformation and reorientation Campaign was launched by Governor Udom Emmanuel.
 On the allegation that contracts for the execution of various aspects of the celebration were given to non indigenes, while Akwa Ibom people were reduced to ‘mere dancers,’ Mr. Umanah said “purveyors of the falsehood are not attuned with facts of the matter.’’ He explained that the consultancy firm, which handled the media campaign for the Dakkada launch, “is owned by an Akwa Ibom indigene from Etinan local government area.’’ According to him, “at the risk of sounding immodest, even when it is not an offence, no external group was engaged in the execution of the anniversary events.”
 Advising Akwa Ibom people to be wary of false and misleading information by people who are bent on creating disaffection between the government and the citizens, the Commissioner maintained that the government of Governor Udom Emmanuel will always work in the best interest of the State.He maintained that “the Governor did not mortgage the State as the agents of falsehood would have people believe, rather, the financial engineering of the present administration has repositioned Akwa Ibom for greater accomplishments.”
 According to the Commissioner, the prudence and top notch financial management of Governor Emmanuel has resulted in outstanding accomplishments in less than four months of his administration.
Mr. Umanah said, with the rehabilitated and re-commissioned Peacock Paint in Etinan; the newly constructed and commissioned blocks at the St. Luke’s Hospital, Anua in Uyo; ongoing construction of over 137km of roads; and several groundbreaking for industrial concerns across the State, “there can be no room for financial mismanagement or wastage in Akwa Ibom State.”
The Information Boss admonished politicians the State to engage in more civilised and democratic ways of playing opposition politics, rather than peddling falsehood, with a view to gaining attention from unsuspecting members of the public.
The administration of Governor Udom Emmanuel, Mr. Umanah emphasised, “deserves the support of all and sundry, including those who consider themselves as belonging to the opposition, because Akwa Ibom has arisen to the destiny of greatness, and cannot be stopped.”

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