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Group Demands Apology From Akpabio Over Outburst Against Ex. Dep. Gov. Michael Udofia

A frontline socio-political group, Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District Frontiers for Unity, has asked Nigeria’s Senate President, Senator Godswill Akpabio, to apologise to a former deputy governor of Akwa Ibom State, Sir Michael Udofia, over his recent outburst, describing it as “offensive, jaundiced, and disappointing.”

Recall that during the funeral service of Late Dr Herbert Wigwe and family, in Port Harcourt, Akpabio while responding to Governor Fubara’s call on Nigerian politicians to minimize the struggle for power, desperation and the kill and bury attitude, narrated a “concocted story” of how he aspired to be a deputy Governor in 2006.

According to him, “In 2006, I wanted to be a deputy governor, so the then deputy governor invited me and told me that there was no money in the office. So, a woman who went there with me said, ‘Your Excellency, since there is nothing in the office, don’t wait to be impeached, just resign and go’. The then-deputy governor stood up and started punching the woman. I told him, Don’t punch her; she is telling the truth. Since there is nothing in the office, that’s why I want it. You are too big for the office. Governor Fubara, since you say there is no need for the struggle, don’t struggle.” Akpabio quizzed.

In a press statement issued by the group and signed by its Convener, Comrade Samuel Etim on Sunday, the group said it received the above outburst with shock and disbelief.

The group, which further described Akpabio’s remarks as “self-confession,” expressed very deep shock while decrying that the Senate President, who, as a commissioner in 2006 and close ally to the deputy governor then, was the master brain behind the unsuccessful impeachment plan against Sir Udofia.

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They also took a strong exception to the harsh language’ Akpabio employed in his response to Governor Fubara’s views during the burial.

According to the statement, Sir Michael Udofia, who became the Deputy Governor in 2005 following the resignation of his predecessor, Engr. Chris Ekpenyong, was widely admired for his humility, dedication, and commitment to duty.

The group therefore expressed worry over Akpabio’s unwarranted utterances while also wondering what would have prompted Akpabio’s interest in an office that wasn’t vacant, as he narrated during the funeral.

The statement further reads: “Sadly, the Senate President, by his continuous unguarded utterances and his response to the comment made by Governor Fubara, has made another unnecessary public utterance.

“It is, however, not surprising that, because of his already known attitude, Akpabio decided to act predictably while also talking irresponsibly about a former deputy governor who has not offended him in any way.

“Ordinarily, we wouldn’t have been bothered by Senator Akpabio’s usual careless statements, but the allegations against Sir Michael Udofia of throwing punches at a woman, which suggest gender-based violence, got us perturbed.

“It will be a thing of joy if the Senate President, Senator Godswill Akpabio, immediately retracts his statement against the former deputy governor and makes a public apology to the elder statesman and his kinsmen in the senatorial district that his speech has created psychological disturbance.

“If Akpabio refuses to set the record straight by retrieving his statement and making a public apology, we will be left with no option but to take legal means to seek justice for a man whose life resonates with simplicity, sincerity, and godliness.

“Also, we are calling on the general public to disregard those allegations of gender-based violence labelled against the former deputy governor of Akwa Ibom State by Senator Akpabio, as such only existed in the figment of Akpabio’s imagination,” Comrade Etim stated.

Sir Udofia, a knight of John Wesley, was a retired Permanent Secretary from Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area before his confirmation as Deputy Governor in July 2005, and since he departed from office in 2007, he has not been enmeshed in any political controversy.

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