Akwa Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio has confessed to manipulating the result of a 2007 Peoples Democratic Party senatorial primary election in the state by single-handedly replacing the winner with the name of his preferred candidate.
Akpabio, who is also the PDP Governors Forum chairman, made the confession when a delegation of the National Good Governance Tour visited the state on March 9.
The tour, which was recorded with a video camera, was led by the Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku. The video which went viral on Sunday was as of 8.47pm viewable on premiumtimes.com, the website of an online Nigerian news portal, Premium Times.
The governor made the confession while defending his claim of being fair to the people of Ini and Ikono.
He was responding to a question that he had not impacted the lives of the people of the two communities, especially in the area of roads, schools and other public infrastructure.
The communities form part of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District. Akpabio said he struck out the name of the person who won the PDP primary election and replaced it with Aloysius Etuk.
Etuk 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 at the town hall meeting, confirmed the claim when Akpabio asked him to stand up and “take a bow”.
The governor’s confession shocked many in attendance.
The governor, who 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.”