I'VE NO PROBLEM WITH MY DEPUTY, SAYS AKPABIO
Akwa Ibom State Governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio has debunked the allegation that he dropped the incumbent Deputy Governor, Obong Patrick Ekpotu, as his next running mate because of their personality clash.
Akpabio, who made the explanation at the fund raising dinner organised by his campaign organisation for his second term bid last weekend, stressed that there was no frosty relationship between him and his deputy but that he decided to drop him after due consultations.
While describing Ekpotu as an excellent gentleman and a hard worker, the governor said he decided to change his deputy for Nsima Ekere from the same local government area based on history and foundation.
Akpabio recalled that prior to the 2007 general elections, he had chosen Nsima Ekere as his deputy but he was compelled to drop him due to a truce reached by the erstwhile governor to produce the deputy governor, stating that 'Ekere stepped down with candour and grace.' According to him, the present deputy governor had graciously accepted the change, noting, 'I have worked with him closely. This change was done in consultation with the current deputy governor.'
He used the occasion to announce the allocation of N20 billion in this year's budget for the establishment of cottage industries in the 31 local government areas in the state to address the problems of restiveness among youths in the Niger Delta and acute unemployment facing most people. The governor said the programme was part of his administration's policy to ginger the siting of a cottage industry in each local government area during his second term in office, adding that this would be done through Public-Private Partnership (PPP) in collaboration with the private sector.
In addition, the governor pledged to establish an Olympic-sized stadium, new airport terminal and to construct the third Ring Road to an international standard. The governor thanked the guests for responding to the invitation and for donating generously to his re-election, saying 'I am delighted to partner with you. I hope the government has struck the right bond of partnership in bringing you to this ceremony.'
The Chairman of the occasion and chief launcher, Chief Ferdinand Anabraba described the governor as a person who had made Akwa Ibom people, a young man who had made South-south proud and a man who had empowered the downtrodden. Anabraba, who called on people in the state to vote massively for Akpabio during the April general elections announced a donation of N50 million from 50 friends.
The director-general of Godswill Akpabio Campaign Organisation 2011, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga (retd.) commended the people for donating towards the campaign project and stressed the need for the people to vote for Jonathan/Akpabio during the forthcoming elections.