Stakeholders representing the regional peace and development advocacy group, the Alliance for Peace in the Niger Delta (APND), have strongly urged Senate President Godswill Akpabio to concentrate on the substantial responsibilities of his office rather than engaging in remarks that could stoke ethnic tensions and provoke violence in his home state, Akwa Ibom.
The stakeholders specifically expressed their disapproval of Senator Akpabio’s recent comments, which they deemed derogatory towards the Governor of Akwa Ibom, Pastor Umo Eno, and the State House of Assembly.
During the State’s 36th Anniversary Thanksgiving Service, Senator Akpabio declared all Local Government Areas in the state as oil-producing and advocated for an equal distribution of resources and benefits among them, while also suggesting the repeal of the Akwa Ibom Map Bill, which had been signed into law.
However, APND, through its National Coordinator, Nsikak Francis, expressed concern that Senator Akpabio’s comments, both at the anniversary service in Uyo and the National Assembly leaders’ retreat in Ikot Ekpene, could sow discord among the people, disrupt the peace, and potentially trigger widespread ethnic violence in the state.
The advocacy group characterized Senator Akpabio’s “unrestrained outbursts” regarding traditional leadership and the mapping of Akwa Ibom State as thoughtless and unstatesmanlike, seemingly designed to create divisions and unnecessary conflict among the state’s various communities.
The APND highlighted the peace and tranquility that had prevailed in Akwa Ibom State for the past eight years under former Governor Udom Emmanuel and the current Governor, Pastor Umo Eno. It expressed disappointment that this peace is now under threat due to Senator Akpabio’s remarks, seemingly motivated by personal political considerations.
The APND advised Senator Akpabio not to import into Akwa Ibom State the same divisive tendencies that have disrupted the Senate and the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs in the past. It urged him to focus on his duties in the National Assembly and refrain from attempting to incite a crisis in Akwa Ibom State.
The peace body called upon the people of Akwa Ibom State to disregard Senator Akpabio’s actions and continue to preserve the state’s peace. Additionally, it called on President Tinubu to intervene and address Senator Akpabio’s activities in the state, which, if left unchecked, could lead to a serious crisis in the entire Niger Delta region and adversely affect the nation’s economy. The group also made it clear that Senator Akpabio should be held accountable if there is any ethnic-based breakdown of law and order in Akwa Ibom State.