The Akwa Ibom government has reacted to a publication by the online version of Vanguard Newspaper, over a report alleging that Gov Udom Emmanuel had in a recent Retreat of the State Executive Council in Lagos, asked members with political ambition in 2023 to raise their hands.
The government, in a rejoinder, Tuesday, by the state commissioner for information and strategy, Comrade Ini Ememobong, demanded an open apology from vanguardngr.com.
The statement read thus: “We have read an online report, without the reporter’s identity, published by vanguardngr.com on January 24, 2022 alleging that the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Udom Emmanuel had asked members who had political ambitions in 2023 to indicate.
“The report went on in a ‘tales by moonlight’ manner to create a concomitant narrative as to those who indicated and what transpired thereafter.
“Additionally, the report recorded that the commissioner for lands and water resources, Pastor Umo Eno granted an interview wherein he made some claims relating to some of his colleagues and the 2023 elections.
“The event referred to in the report was the retreat of the State Executive Council of the Akwa Ibom government, which had in attendance all members of the State Executive Council, Chairmen of Technical Committees and the EXCO Secretariat only.”
It said, at no time during the retreat which had as its focus, ‘Teaming for Excellence’, did any discussion on the political ambition of anybody come up.
“What transpired at the retreat was the delivery of seminal lectures by a highly intellectual faculty and a comprehensive presentation of the status report of all ministries and ongoing projects.
“Furthermore, the commissioner for lands and water resources, who has been quoted massively in the report, has denied granting an interview to anyone, through any medium, after the retreat.
“It is therefore unbelievable to read such a report, which stated utter falsehood from an otherwise credible medium like Vanguardngr.com. To this end, we state as follows: That the report is false, misleading and capable of tarnishing the image of the entire Executive Council of Akwa Ibom State, painting them as those who use public resources to create an environment for the discussion of personal or group interest.
“That the commissioner for lands and water resources, Pastor Umo Eno has denied granting the said interview and therefore could not have made the statements accredited to him.
“Ipso facto, we demand the following:
An immediate retraction of the story and an apology to the State Government and all the individuals mentioned in the report. Or
“The audio recording of the interview alleged to have been granted by the commissioner for lands and water resources, Pastor Umo Eno.
“We urge the public to ignore the story and treat same as an evidence of the imaginative capacity of the author, whose only aim as can be deciphered from the report, is mischief.
“The State government under the capable leadership of Gov Udom Emmanuel has reiterated her commitment to continually put the interest of the State above every other interest. The retreat was therefore an opportunity to refuel for greater efficiency in the delivery of democracy dividends to our people.”