Southern leaders under the aegis of Citizens Network for Peace and Development in Nigeria CNPDN have risen in defence of the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio following the wave of attacks against his lighthearted remarks that “prayer tokens” had been sent to the mail addresses of Senators as they were going on recess.
Leaders of the organisation in a statement Friday in Abuja, said the campaign is aimed at “tarnishing his image.”
Secretary of the organization, Francis Okereke Wainwei, who signed the statement on behalf of others, said; “We have observed with great displeasure the campaign of calumny against the President of the 10th Senate, His Excellency, Senator Godswill Akpabio ,aimed at tarnishing his hard earned integrity and pulling him down.We are therefore, calling on those behind these unnecessary attacks on the person of Sen.Akpabio to desist forthwith from their unpatriotic and nefarious activities.
“The said campaign is orchestrated by both persons in the 10th Senate and persons outside the Senate with the aim of portraying him as incompetent and insensitive to the plight of the masses.
“We know that the people behind these unwarranted attacks on the Senate President don’t mean well for the stability and prosperity of the country and therefore, members of the public should scrutinize their fabricated reports against him before reacting.
“We have recently witnessed a plethora of negative and fabricated media reports against Sen. Akpabio following his harmless and lighthearted comments about the statutory N2 million running cost of the office of each Senator as provided for in the 2023 budget.
“According to the clarification made by the management of the National Assembly, the allocation for running costs is not a new development but has been the standard practice of the National Assembly.
“Therefore,the calls that were made for the resignation of Sen.Akpabio as Senate President were misplaced,mischievous and totally baseless. The said calls were not driven by patriotic motives or outcomes of sincere and thorough investigations.
“We hereby condemn in the strongest of terms, the unpatriotic and mischievous activities of the people behind the campaign of calumny against the Senate President. They should desist from distracting the President of the Senate and allow him to focus on working harmoniously with President Tinubu to deliver quality and life-transforming projects and programmes to alleviate the pathetic plight of the long-suffering masses of this country.
“The era of divisive and negative politics is over and therefore, they should think of making positive contributions to advance the country and work for the stability of the polity.
“They can make constructive criticisms and proffer relevant solutions aimed at enhancing the legislative process and better the polity, if their motives are purely patriotic rather than involving themselves in activities that will destabilize the smooth running of the 10th Senate.
“All patriotic citizens of this country should be careful with their utterances and avoid making inflammatory comments that will further heat up the polity because there is already a highly tensed situation in the country due to the difficult but progressive policies of the current administration designed to move the country forward.
“What we need in Nigeria now is to support the current administration to effectively implement its progressive policies to change the pathetic plight of the ordinary citizens across the country. We are therefore, compelled by the need to promote the welfare of the ordinary citizens in the country to make this sincere appeal to all patriotic Nigerians to follow the path of national interest and ensure political stability, national cohesion and focused leadership, that will create the enabling environment for the holistic development of this country by heeding our call and shunning negative and divisive politics.
“We know that the Senate President, Sen.Godswill Akpabio has the capacity and competence to help President Tinubu to concentrate on tackling the myriads of developmental challenges facing the nation.He has the charisma and capacity to mobilize the 10th National Assembly to be result-oriented and focused on legislative excellence rather than engaging in unwholesome activities and distracting our dear President”.