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Essien To Akpabio: Learn From History, Prioritise People’s Interests, Uphold Transparency, Accountability, Justice

...Knocks Him on Inconsistencies

A former Minister of Lands, Housing, and Urban Development, Chief Nduese Essien, has advised the Senate President, Chief Godswill Akpabio, to heed the lessons of history and prioritise the interests of the people above all.

In the same vein, the octogenarian appealed to Chief Akpabio to uphold the principles of transparency, accountability, and justice and ensure that the legislature functions as a true bastion of democracy.

Essien, a former member of the House of Representatives (1999–2007), highlighted that for Akpabio to accomplish the task, he must speak less, listen to his colleagues more, and monitor the national mood before wielding the gavel.

“By doing so, you will lead the National Assembly in collaborating with the Executive and the Judiciary to create a better future for our dear country,” he added.

The former Minister, who made the remarks in an open letter to the Senate President on Monday tagged “Modesty Is a Virtue to Embrace” with a copy sent to our correspondent, averred that all efforts in the past to access and advise the Senate President owing to their long-standing relationship and mutual respect were met with silence, prompting his open letter.

Related: A’Ibom: Youths Commend Akpabio’s Aide For Service Delivery

Essien said, “Regrettably, the Senate and House of Representatives between 2019 and 2023 fell short in fulfilling their constitutional duties. By failing to effectively check the executive and allowing many illegalities to go unchecked, they contributed to the hardships facing our nation today. As you lead the National Assembly, I urge you to heed the lessons of history and prioritise the interests of the people above all else.

Speaking on the alleged inconsistencies in the public utterances of Senator Akpabio, Essien said, “Sir, I am compelled by a sense of duty to address the inconsistencies that have come to characterise your political expressions, particularly within our beloved Akwa Ibom State. Your Excellency, during the 36th anniversary Thanksgiving service of our state creation at the Apostolic Church in Uyo in 2023, you declared, “All local government areas in the state are oil-producing areas, and there should be no distinction among them in terms of sharing of resources or benefits.” I was shocked because, throughout your eight years as governor of the state, you never said so, though you were blatant in depriving the oil-producing areas of their rights.

“You refused to establish the Oil Minerals Producing Areas Commission in the state, despite demands and pressures, thus making Akwa Ibom the only oil-producing state without this commission. You also diverted most of the NDDC projects to non-oil-producing areas of the state. It is now clear how and why you operated that way.

He added, “While you have been an apostle of “every local government in Akwa Ibom being oil-producing,” can you now reconcile your claim on the floor of the Senate that the whole of Nigeria is not oil-producing?

“In the same service, you directed the state governor not to implement the law establishing the authentic political map of the state. The law was promulgated by the State House of Assembly in 2023. As a lawyer, former commissioner for local government, and former governor, you cannot deny knowledge of Stubbs Creek Forest and its ownership. Yet as President of the Senate, which is the country’s foremost lawmaking body, you were asking the governor to disobey a law legitimately made by the state legislature. Would you ask President Bola Tinubu not to implement a law legitimately passed by the National Assembly? Your Excellency, you will agree with me that this is not just the highest level of inconsistency, but also a baseless call for executive rascality and rebellion against the rule of law, and you should be conscious of the consequences.”

Read Also: Gov. Eno Leads A’Ibom Dignitaries To Celebrate Chief Nduese Essien At 80

The former Minister further highlighted, “In a televised plenary session last Tuesday, you told Nigerians that you had received an unverified report about the purported allocation of N30 billion to each governor of the Federation by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) to mitigate inflation and food prices in their states. Before making such a public statement, you, as the leader of the Nigerian legislature and one of the highest-ranking officials in the current administration, should have thoroughly verified such a claim.

“The subsequent rebuttal of this claim by Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, and the loud silence from All Progressives Congress (APC) governors suggest you did not double-check the information before giving it to the public. This serious error, along with previous blunders, harms your leadership reputation. I urge you to stop making hasty and unfounded claims that could inflame tensions or damage the government and the institution you represent. It is important to apply caution when we speak as leaders.

The octogenarian further drew the attention of the Senate President on a viral video circulating in the state, saying, “Your Excellency, there is a disturbing video currently circulating in the state where you told Oron leaders that Mobil Producing Nigeria, now ExxonMobil, was supposed to locate its office in Oron but was taken to Eket because of politics.

“To the best of my knowledge, you were about five years old when the decision was taken. I agreed that there were alternative locations for the company to choose from. But investment decisions for a renowned multinational corporation like Mobil, are not taken on the spur of the moment or weighted in favour of political considerations, as is done in Government House.”

He intoned, “As Governor for eight years, it was surprising that you made no effort to change the wrong political judgement and never compensated the Oron people for the perceived unfair treatment. Again, in 2014, when you had unfettered political authority to pick and install an Oron man as governor, you never did so. Why are you inciting divisive sentiments among our people in a peaceful state to destabilise it now?”.

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