The Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, has debunked allegations that he bribed the chairman and members of the election petition tribunal in Akwa Ibom State.
Akpabio was responding to reports that he bribed the chairman and members to influence the tribunal to reclaim his mandate from Senator Chris Ekpenyong of Akwa Ibom Northwest.
A statement by his media aide, Anietie Ekong, said he could not have been privy to the allegations because as a senior member of the bar and a party in the matter, he understood the need to allow the judges decide the cases.
The statement reads: “Moreover, Senator Akpabio cannot be said to be desperate to win a Senate seat; he is only contesting the outcome of the INEC manipulated results to ensure justice and sustenance of democratic practice in Nigeria.
“Senator Akpabio is shocked by the spurious allegation made by the Attorney General of Akwa Ibom State, Uwemedimo Nwoko, in a rejoinder to the said article, alleging that he “succumbed to blackmail and handsomely paid Leo Ekpenyong to recapitulate.
“The fact is that Ekpenyong withdrew the petitions against Senator Akpabio voluntarily, when his clients made a volte face and could not substantiate their claims as contained in Ekpenyong’s affidavit. Moreover, Ekpenyong’s client as mentioned in the stated affidavit is linked to the current government of Akwa Ibom State and its officials.
“As an elder statesman, a serving minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, a former governor of Akwa Ibom State, a former Minority leader of the Senate and a former boss to Nwoko, decorum demands that he accords Senator Akpabio some respect. The attorney general should substantiate his wild allegations or offer an unreserved apology to Senator Akpabio.”