Akwa Ibom’s Apology To Buhari On Missing Budget Childish, Says Activist

By Akanimo Sampson,
Port Harcourt

AKWA Ibom State Government’s apology to President Muhammadu Buhari on the controversy surrounding the purported missing budget, has drawn the ire of a concerned activist of the state, who said on Wednesdaythat government acted childishly.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) administration in Uyo under the watch of Governor Udom ERmmanuel, was labouring to indict President Buhari’s Special Assistant on Senate Matters, Ita Enang, who is a thorn in the flesh of the PDP in the state.

The state Information Commissioner, Aniekan Umanah, who claimed to be conveying the position of the state government on a radio interview programme in the state capital, said that they felt ashamed by the dent brought to the state by Enang’s ”illicit actions”.

According to him, ”our people were rather shocked when they heard on the news that a budget submitted in full glare before the senate had been retrieved and swapped illegally by Senator Enang, without the knowledge of the Senate leadership and this has brought severe ridicule to the image of the state.”

He explained that such poor conduct in public office was not in the character of Akwa Ibom people, and expressed dismay that such a national disgrace would be linked to the peaceable and lawabiding people of the state.

Umanah relayed the sympathy of the people of the state to President Buhari, saying no one would have envisaged that a man of Senator Ita Enang’s pedigree could have condescended to the level of such inactions leveled against him by the senate leadership, thereby being disrepute to the anti-corruption battle by the President.

Although Enang has refused to comment or respond to the issue, the Information commissioner maintained that, “Let’s give our brother Ita Enang the benefit of doubts and give him time to come around and explain that what we are hearing is not really true.”

But on a telephone interview on Wednesday, Ofonime Etokudo, a political activist in the state said, ”it is a shame that my state government acted without the facts. That is not how to play politics at such a high level. Though i am not holding brief for Ita Enang of the All Progressives Congress (APC), i think his attacks on the PDP has been very acidic”

Continuing, Etokudo said ”the facts of the matter however, is that, the Presidency has admitted that a corrected version of the controversial budget was produced and sent to the National Assembly.

Senate President, Bukola Saraki Tuesday at the plenary read President Buhari letter with respect to the raging ‘confusion’ emanating from the alterations to the version presented to the joint session of NASS December 22, 2016.

President Buhari’s letter, according to Saraki, requested the National Assembly to work with the corrected version, indicating that he presented the 2016 budget proposals to the joint sitting of the national assembly and “submitted a draft bill accompanied by a schedule of details.”

The rest of the letter went thus: ”At the time of submission, we indicated that because the details had just been produced, we would have had to check to ensure that there were no errors in the detailed breakdown contained in the schedule.

“That has since been completed and I understand that the corrections have been submitted.
“The national assembly would therefore have the details as submitted on the 22nd and a copy containing the corrections submitted last week. It appears that this has led to some confusion.

“In this regard, please find attached the corrected version. This is the version the national assembly should work with as my 2016 budget estimates. The draft bill remains the same and there are no changes in any of the figures.”