jump to navigation

IBOM PEOPLES ALLIANCE: Obong Attah and the Journey of Self Contradiction January 31, 2013

Posted by Ibompulpit in News, Opinion, Politics, Press Release.
Tags: , , ,
add a comment

Ibom Peoples Alliance

PRESS STATEMENT

Obong Attah and the Journey of Self Contradiction

.

At 74 years and having been a two-term Governor of Akwa Ibom State, and later an aspirant to the position of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, by all accounts Obong Victor Attah should earn the title of an elder statesman. But since 2006 after his failed bid to install his son-in-law, Dr. Udoma Bob Ekarika as his successor, the former Governor has remained a very troubled man, often times producing misleading, false and uncouth publications in the media.

.

With a corresponding and self-inflicted loss of political relevance at home and in the country, Obong Attah has chosen the launching of tirades against the present Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Chief Godswill Akpabio as his pastime. Lately we have witnessed series of unprovoked attacks by Obong Attah aimed at rubbishing the sterling performance of Chief Akpabio through all sorts of falsehood.

.

The latest which has drawn us out of hibernation because there is a limit to mischief, falsehood and mudslinging, is his article in the VANGUARD newspaper of January 28, which he claimed is his response to an innocuous interview Chief Akpabio granted some Journalists few weeks back. But the man has chosen to dance naked on the pages of newspapers and the Internet and we can’t help but call him to order and return him to the path of sanity, lest he continues to falsely drag the name of the governor and that of the State he presided over for eight years with little to show for it in to the mud.

.

Having followed Attah’s attacks on Governor Akpabio right from 2007 till date, we are convinced that his actions are predicated on jealousy because a younger man has come to show that government can work and is being therefore celebrated nationally and globally for his uncommon achievements.

.

We find it curious that in his diatribe Obong Attah in a rather incoherent fashion claimed that Chief Akpabio was not one of the intellectuals in his cabinet and yet he retained him for close to six years as a Commissioner and entrusted him with superintending over three key and sensitive Ministries. This is aside other sensitive assignments such as Akpabio serving as the Chairman of the Mobilization Committee for his re-election and that of President Obasanjo’s re-election campaign in 2003. Again we are surprised that in spite of Akpabio’s “perceived inadequacies,” Attah lacked the courage to sack him as Commissioner but waited until Akpabio pulled off the coup de grace against his son-in-law, Dr. Udoma Ekarika by clinching the ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and subsequently becoming the Governor. What a contradiction!

.

In his earlier bid to rubbish the achievement of Governor Akpabio, the former Governor probably out of senility slipped into amnesia. In a treatise he had earlier published on December 22, 2012, titled: “Insights into onshore – offshore dichotomy,” Obong Attah had mischievously claimed: “I was able to build an airport with a maintenance hangar and the best runway in the country,” but in the latest tirade he did a 180 degrees summersault when he said: “The people are angry because they remember that the first aircraft landed at Uyo airport in September 2009. During the tour of the facilities, Air Comdr. Idongesit Nkanga, the Chairman of the Airport Development Board, assured the audience that the Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) building would be completed and fully operational by the end of that year.

.

“Till today the building is still in construction even though the steel for its erection had arrived since January 2008, and the country is now crying out desperately for such a facility.”

.

Our question to Obong Attah is since he claimed he had built “an airport with a maintenance hangar and the best runway in the country” why did it take the first plane to land at Uyo Airport over two years (by his admission) after he had left office. Again since Attah admits that Nigeria “is now crying out desperately” for a Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul facility, we want to inquire of him what happened to the one he claimed he had built. As stakeholders in the Akwa Ibom project, we hope this project which was meant for our state was not taken to the Caribbean. As for the Ibom International Airport, which our Governor met at site clearing level, we are sure being a Promise Keeper; Chief Akpabio will deliver on the components and will not leave it to his successor.

.

It must rank as the worst case of wariness that Obong Attah is crying over the free and compulsory education policy of the Akpabio administration when he had had the opportunity to have executed it as Governor but failed to do so. What is he complaining about: that now less privileged parents have the opportunity of sending their children to school without bothering about where the fees would come from? Has Attah forgotten the ignominy that Akwa Ibom people were thrown into when the then President Olusegun Obasanjo on a state visit to Akwa Ibom State adopted a 13-year old Udo, who could not communicate in simple English with Obasanjo because, according to the parents, they could not afford to send him to school? Is he angry that now courtesy of the free and compulsory education of Chief Godswill Akpabio, there are no more “Udos” in the state to be adopted by visiting Presidents?

.

It is our view that Attah has lost the moral right to comment on the flagship tourism project of the Akpabio administration, the Ibom Tropicana and Entertainment Centre. This is one project that Obong Attah had fought against its execution with the entire arsenal at his disposal but today he has grudgingly accepted that a component of the project, the Cineplex is working and by his own admission, “compares favourably with Silverbird in Lagos.” Again, he should be assured that Chief Akpabio will not abandon it to his successor.

.

But Attah has every reason to be grateful that he had a successor in the mould of Akpabio. Not only has Akpabio completed most of his failed and abandoned projects, but quite unlike a Nigerian politician, he graciously started and completed a brand new dualised road that leads to Obong Attah’s village complete with street lights – a road that Attah could not do for his people throughout the eight years of his government. We are of the opinion that neither his vindictive son-in-law, nor the ACN candidate in the 2011 governorship election, Senator John Akpanudoedehe he was busy lifting his hands and endorsing during political rallies of the ACN could have done the Aka – Nung Udoe road for him.

.

It must be one of the wonders of Nigerian politics that the PDP has continued to allow this man who was clearly involved in anti-party activities before and after the 2011 elections to remain a member of its Board of Trustees – seen as the conscience of the party. Nigerians are even more shocked to learn that Victor Attah with a 25 count charge hanging on his head and bordering on fraud and money laundering before the Crown Prosecution Services in the United Kingdom is even aspiring to the chairmanship of this same Board of Trustees.

.

In case Attah has forgotten, he should be reminded that his accomplices in the V-Mobile share scam are presently serving jail terms in London.

.

Attah should deploy his ‘great’ intellectual prowess in defending himself of those charges of fraud and money laundering pending before the Crown Prosecution Service in the United Kingdom instead of dissipating his energies in attacking the government of his state and the person of Governor Godswill Akpabio.

.

As an NGO, we are worried that Attah is labouring very hard to falsely convince Nigerians that nothing good is happening in his home State when the citizens and the entire country know to the contrary.

.

One the charges that beckons on Victor Attah for explanation is charge no 16 brought against him and others by the Crown Prosecution Service in the United Kingdom reads:

.

“… that on or about the 22nd day of June 2006 ….. Victor Attah… conspired with others to defraud Akwa Ibom State, of sums representing part of the sale price resulting from the sale of shares owned by Akwa Ibom state in Vee Networks (Nigeria) Limited (trading as V Mobile) to Celtel (Nigeria) BV, and held in the names of their respective authorised ministries or agencies the said sums being paid to a company named African Development Finance Limited or its predecessors under an Exclusive Arranger Agreement to a total invoiced value in excess of $37,000,000 United States.”

.

Another charge that beckons on him is charge number 20 which reads:

.

“….on or about the 22nd day of June 2006 … Victor Attah … and others concealed, disguised, converted and transferred criminal property, namely the sum of $11,400,000 United States dollars being a purported loan from African Development Finance Limited or its predecessors to a company named Brookes Aviation Limited, they knowing or suspecting that that sum constituted the benefit from criminal conduct himself and / or another person, or that it represented such benefit in whole or in part and whether directly or indirectly.”

.

In yet another instance of money laundering and contrary to section 327 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 of Britain, charge 21 reads:

.

‘’…on or about the 19th day of September 2006 … Victor Attah …. and others concealed, disguised, converted and transferred criminal property, namely the sum of $3,780,000 United States dollars being a purported loan from African Development Finance Limited to a company named FE Samuels, they knowing or suspecting that that sum constituted the benefit from criminal conduct of himself and / or another person, or that it represented such benefit in whole or in part and whether directly or indirectly ‘’

.

The Statement of offence in charge 22 reads:

.

“…. on or about the 18th day of December 2006 … Victor Attah,.. and others concealed, disguised, converted and transferred criminal property, namely the sum of $10,000,000 United States dollars being a purported loan from African Development Finance Limited to a company named Ascot Offshore (Nigeria) Limited, they knowing or suspecting that that sum constituted the benefit from criminal conduct of himself and / or another person, or that it represented such benefit in whole or in part and whether directly or indirectly.”

.

Instead of remaining a fugitive from the law, Obong Attah owes it to himself and other Nigerians to go to London and clear his name of these charges.

.

For the avoidance of doubt, the offer of an online medium to pay a business class ticket for Attah to London is still subsisting. He should accept the offer and report to London Metropolitan Police and thereafter return to Nigeria to run commentaries on issues of governance.

.

As a concerned Non-Governmental Organisation, interested in the conscience of the society, we are wondering why the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC is still glossing over established cases of fraud against Obong Victor Attah or does the EFCC believe that Victor Attah is above the law? What happened to the $7 million dollars loot seized from Victor Attah being part of the proceeds of the V-mobile scam now that some Attah’s accomplices have confessed to the crime and are serving various jail terms in London.

.

We were surprised that Attah’s in his write up finds nothing good in the fantastic monument called the E-library built by the Akpabio administration in reverence to his ICT park which he as Governor, awarded at the contract sum of N5.9 billion and paid N5.3 billion up front without more than 10 percent work done. What he called a Science Park site has become an epitaph for non-performance. Even out of office, can Victor Attah not advise his contractors to go and complete the project which they were paid to execute? Shouldn’t it interest the EFCC to find out who the beneficiaries of this fraud against Akwa Ibom people are?

.

Our advice to the Nigerian media is to always cross-check the background of those who hawk materials that seek to rubbish performing public officials. The media should be wary of playing into the hands of those who had opportunity to make a difference when they were in public service but squandered such opportunity on the altar of egotism.

.

Whatever Attah holds against Akpabio, only Time will tell. If he is angry that Akpabio has raised the bar of governance far beyond what he could dream of, he should be proud of the achievement of the young man. If he is suffering from regret of not being able to complete his projects during his eight-year tenure, he should remember that he was not a Saint while he was there. Obong Attah should not heap the frustration of his many failures on Governor Akpabio. A word is enough for the wise!

.

Etubom Inyang,

President

.

Umoh Mathias Akpan,

Secretary

.

Advertisements