Saturday 23 May 2015

Alleged N5bn bribe: INEC boss says his life is in danger

Governor Godswill Akpabio is known to be
generous. He is said to be very free with money.
And, consequently, money never constitutes a
stumbling block whenever he sets to achieve

This has won him accolades with regard
to many of his achievements in his state.
But could he have parted with N5billion just to
ensure his preferred candidate won the last
governorship election in Akwa-Ibom State? Check
out this scene in Uyo, the state capital last week:

It was an unusual and tensions-soaked meeting at
the Akwa-Ibom State secretariat of the Independent
National Electoral Commission, INEC, along Udo
Udoma Avenue, Uyo last Thursday and the agenda
of the meeting was ‘Threat To Life’.

The Akwa-Ibom State Resident Electoral
Commissioner-REC, Barrister Austin Okojie had
summoned the staff including security operatives
and Youth Corps members attached to the
commission to inform them of how he had been
rattled by repeated anonymous telephone calls all of
which, he said, conveyed death sentences on him
by a one of the security staff. The said staff was
demanding his share of the Five Billion Naira
(N5BN) the REC allegedly received from Governor
Godswill Akpabio on behalf of the staff of the

The INEC boss was being told to be
fair to others and let them have a piece of the cake
or face horrendous consequences.
As human, Okojie, the state INEC boss, said he was
engulfed with fear such that he lost his composure
even though he did not know the character behind
the treacherous intermittent midnight calls and even
when he was speechless each time the calls came;
the person aggravated his fears by sending text

At this point, the REC told the staff at the meeting
that he finally decided to call the Department of
State Service (DSS) both in Akwa-Ibom and Abuja,
the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) to complain of
the danger to his life and also the lives of his family
members with whom he had been subjected to
trauma through those midnight calls and text
messages. He said that he was advised by the DSS
to forward the text messages for forensic tests. He

“I don’t know whether this person knows exactly
what N5 Billion looks like in volume! I will collapse if
I see that kind of money. Besides, I don’t think I can
finish that kind of money in my life time. If I should
be in possession of N5BN, I wouldn’t be sitting here
today, I would have travelled out of this country with
my family and settled there to enjoy the money.

“But it is pathetic the way people speculate and
spread false information in this state. I was barely
five days in this state when some sponsored local
newspapers published on their front pages that
Governor Akpabio received me into the state with
N5 billion and 2,000 bags of rice.
“I want you to know that I have not received any
gratification or the so called N5billion directly or
indirectly on your behalf from anybody.

I am also
not indebted to any of you because all your
allowances, claims and entitlements have been paid
up to date”.
He lamented that following the threats which were
often issued at nights, he was no longer feeling safe
and comfortable in the state and may be tempted to
travel home to report his experience to his people in
Edo State.

“Indeed, I am worried and utterly disturbed by those
threats because I have never seen or met the
person threatening me even though he claims to be
a staff of this commission.
“I am now living in total fear of the unknown,
discomfort and danger to my life and members of
my family because I can no longer move about
freely as any other loyal and law-abiding citizen of
this country. I now live in utter fear of the unknown.

“I am so worried that my life and those of members
of my family could be made this miserable by
someone I am not even indebted to and never
discussed with or negotiated any business with
officially and unofficially as all the allowances and
claims due every staff had since been paid”, Okojie

He therefore used the platform to solicit the
cooperation of the security agencies in the state to
investigate the character behind the threats to his
life for possible prosecution as according to him, if
such perfidious characters were allowed to walk the
streets of the state free, many innocent lives would
be rendered uncomfortable and endangered.

Some of the text messages read: “Oga Okojie, it is a
fool like you that says in your hearts and being,
there is no God, because you are corrupt and have
done abominable works n in you doeth no good
(Psalm 14:1). U must reward all the staff of the
INEC, AKS based on the money sent to them by the
state Governor. You want to embezzle it for the
sake of buy’n your cocaine. I am going to open your
dirty can to all the anti-graft agencies.

“Bet me, soon you will go in for it. For the Holy Bible
says whatever a man soweth that is what he shall
reap. You sow to corruption and greed, your reward
is death. Idiot, imbecile, ino, barawo, ikong ekpo.

God will punish you 100 times including all ur
households and the incoming and the unborn
generations, except you share that money to all the

When asked to react to the agenda of the meeting,
none of the INEC staff numbering over 300 including
security operatives and Youth Corps members
attached to the commission, could immediately
comment on the issue and it appeared that they
were worried by the ugly development and were in
sympathy with the REC for the psychological trauma
he was subjected to by the threats to his life and
members of his family.

However, two members of the staff summoned the
courage to speak. One said: “Honourable
Commissioner, we are very sorry for what you
have passed through due to those threats. The
name of the staff mentioned is of the security
department of this commission where I am the
head. We have never discussed any such issue
collectively as staff of the security department and
we did not mandate him to do anything on our
behalf. But as our father, we plead that you forgive
him because we know that the purpose of this
meeting is to enable us reason together.

“If the punishment you intend to mete out to him is
too heavy, it is the innocent members of his family
or his dependants who will suffer. Please, let his
punishment be light for him to be able to bear.
Continue to be a father to him believing that he
would turn a new leaf”, the staff pleaded. The same
plea was made by the same speaker even as he
berated the said staff for misconduct.
Coincidentally, the alleged perfidious messages and
calls threatening the life of the REC and members of
his family, were tracked by the Department of State
Service (DSS) in conjunction with the Mobile Phone
Providers and the name of the staff was identified.

He is a security staff with the commission. Even
when he had allegedly destroyed the SIM card after
executing his malicious project, the text messages
were said to have been used to identify the source,
location and the image of the person.

Following this revelation, the DSS was said to have
swung into action and got the suspect apprehended.
Director-General (D-G), Department of State
Service, Akwa-Ibom State, Mr. Toma Minti said the
suspect, Asuquo David has confessed to his deeds
and has been handed over to the police accordingly.
But the Akwa-Ibom State Police Public Relations
Officer (PPRO), Mrs. Cordelia Nwawe did not
respond to phone calls for comment on the issu

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