The Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio has publicly admitted to rigging the results of a 2007 senatorial primary election of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, in which he single-handedly replaced the winner of the primaries with his preferred candidate.
Akpabio made this admission when the National Good Governance Tour delegation, led by the Minister of Information, Mr Labaran Maku visited the state on the 9th of March.
The confession was also caught on video, which went viral on Sunday and was available on the website of Premium Times, a Nigerian news portal.
Akpabio, who is also the Chairman of the newly-formed PDP Governors’ Forum, had made the admission while emphasizing his point that he had been fair to the people of Ini and Ikono, which form part of the Ikot-Ekpene Senatorial District.
This was in response to a question that he had not made any visible impact the lives of the people of the two communities, especially in the area of roads, schools and other public infrastructure.
Akpabio said he struck out the name of the person who won the PDP primary election and replaced it with Aloysius Etuk, who went ahead to win the senatorial election. He remains a serving senator having won a reelection in 2011.
The governor said, “The people of Ikono and Ini (Local Government Areas) from 1960 have never produced a Senator.
“I used my own hand to strike out the name of the person who has won before, and I said it is important for me to give that region a Senator in 2007, and I produced Senator Aloysius Etuk for you; that’s where he comes from.”
Etuk, who was in attendance, was asked by Akpabio to stand up and ‘take a bow’.
The governor’s confession shocked many in attendance.
He was later hinted of the implication of his claim then sought to further clarify it.
He said, “So, I must say that I thank all of you, including the members of the National Assembly led by Senator Aloysius Etok. And when I said that I made Aloy(sius Etok) to become a senator in 2007, I need to explain it so that you don’t think that I wrote his name and he became a senator.
“During the primaries of the PDP, we zoned the Senate seat to his federal constituency. And from the federal constituency, he came first in the primaries. That happened in the PDP. So we said since he was the first among the people who came from his federal constituency for the primaries, then he must be the one to become the senator.”