The Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Mr. Onofiok Luke, yesterday alleged that the Presidency offered him N2 billion and the state’s deputy governorship slot to defect from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to the All Progressives Congress (APC). However, the ruling APC has immediately denied the claim. Luke’s claim is coming on the heels of rumours making the rounds that huge sums of money and juicy political promises were made by the APC in a ploy to take over the state.
Speaking during a solidarity rally for Governor Udom Emmanuel and Senator Bassey Albert in Uyo, Luke said he would rather quit politics than defect to the APC. This allegation is coming few days after the defection of former governor Godswill Akpabio with insinuations that there are ongoing attempts by APC to woo political bigwigs in the state.
“They said the President had sent words for me to become the deputy governor. They offered me N2bn, but I said no. If you like, offer me N10bn, mine is no,” he said. He said the defection of Akpabio and others to the APC was borne out of personal interest, noting it was aimed at grabbing and sharing power. “They have no plan for us and no plans for the future of our state. It was all about them. It was only about power grabbing and power sharing, but by God’s amazing grace, we will overcome them,” Luke said. On the second term bid of Emmanuel, the speaker said the people would resist any ‘federal might,’ to ensure that he is returned for a second term in office.
“Tell Abuja that Akwa Ibom people are ready to resist them, tell them we are ready to vote who we want, tell them we are defending our course. We will deliver our governor for another term in 2019,” he said. But in a swift reaction, the APC, speaking through its immediate past publicity secretary, Edet Eyo Bassey, described as hilarious the claim made by the speaker. Bassey, who spoke with our correspondent in Uyo, said the youthful speaker is seeking for relevance in the unfolding political scenario across the country. “He is a funny fellow. Where would the person lift N2billion from to give him. What is his political value?’’ he queried.
The former APC spokesman said offering Luke such funds for defection is against the anti – corruption mantra of the Buhari – led administration. “Such funds can pass for an allocation to one state and why would an individual who is expected to render selfless service to uplift the fortunes of his state be offered money to cross over to another party?” he asked. He concluded by saying the speaker who is seeking to grab his party’s ticket for Etinan Federal Constituency is trying to make political capital from Akpabio’s recent defection to the APC.