A group under the auspices of Senator Akpabio for Common Good, on Monday, cautioned political rivals of the former Akwa Ibom State governor and current Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, to henceforth desist from campaigns of calumny against him.
In a statement by the group’s national coordinator, Malam Jibril Tafida, he called on Akpabio to contest for the presidency in 2023, saying the former governor was never convicted of corruption.
The group’s position was coming on the heels of a publication in the media which insinuated that the Niger Delta Minister was intimidated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to decamp to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
The statement explained that it was wrong “to tie former Bayelsa State governor Seriake Dickson’s recent invitation by the EFCC to the false allegations against Akpabio.”
Tafida while condemning in strong terms the newspaper publication, described the decamping of Akpabio to the APC as “purely voluntary action and never forced to do so, like ThisDay publication insinuated.”
The statement also cautioned against “the use of unfounded allegations deliberately meant to tarnish the reputation of Mr. Akpabio – who has been making the sacrifices for the good of this country.
“We take exception to the new wave of campaign of calumny in the media, notably ThisDay, that the EFCC had in 2015 commenced probe of Akpabio over alleged theft of N108.1billion, in a petition forwarded to the agency by an Abuja-based activist, Leo Ekpenyong. We make bold to say that this matter remains at the level of a petition and has never been tabled before any court of competent jurisdiction in this country,” the group emphasised.
The group called on people with vested political interests “using mere allegations to tarnish the reputation of this patriot to stop wasting time and resources in this futile attempt to score cheap political points.”
The statement also noted that the Niger Delta Minister has “almost unbeatable records in infrastructure, health, education and sports among other legacies while serving as governor.”
The group argued that Akpabio while serving as a senator initiated Bills through his legislative activism, that “could accelerate Nigeria’s move towards greatness.”
The statement, however, said the group has gone very far in its mobilisation of like-minded groups and individuals genuinely interested in supporting the Niger Delta Minister to join the 2023 presidetial race already.