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Disorderly conduct of Mrs. Martha, others reflects not the good behaviour of our people - Hon. Iniobong by Excel(m) : 1:15 pm On Dec 18, 2018
Disorderly conduct of Mrs. Martha, others reflects not the good behaviour of our people - Hon. Iniobong
The disturbances at Akwa Ibom International Airport during the visit of the Dr. (Mrs) Aisha Buhari, Wife of the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, on Friday, December 14, 2018, to Akwa Ibom State
We wish to begin by expressing our heartfelt gratitude to Her Excellency, Mrs Aisha Buhari, Wife of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, for her visit to Akwa Ibom State last Friday. Her Excellency, Mrs Buhari was the Special Guest of Honour at the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) Empowerment of 11,600 Women and Youths in Akwa Ibom State in collaboration with Future Assured Initiative & Office of Senator Godswill Akpabio, CON.
We wish, however, to offer our apologies, on behalf of our members and indeed the good people of the state, to Her Excellency for the pushing and shoving at the airport when Her Excellency’s plane arrived. We understand that the skirmish was perpetrated by an unruly crowd of PDP supporters led by the governor’s wife and aided by security personnel from the Akwa Ibom State Government House. Their sole aim was to disrupt the airport ceremonies for the wife of our president, create confusion at the airport and force the visitors to return to Abuja.
The disorderly conduct of Mrs Martha Udom Emmanuel and her Dakkada women group at the airport does not in any way reflect the good behaviour of our people and their love for the president. We assure the President and Mrs Aisha Buhari that Akwa Ibom people will express their love for him with overwhelming vote on 16th February and 2nd March next year. We hold our President and his dear wife in high esteem. We will like to give a true account of the incident for the benefit of Nigerians who have been deliberately misled by the state government in their syndicated news releases.
First of all, it should be noted that the Wife of the President was not a guest of the Akwa Ibom State Government. Neither was she in the state to participate any activity of the state government. She was invited by the NDE, an agency of the Federal Government, in collaboration with the Office of Senator Godswill Akpabio, as the Special Guest of Honour in an empowerment programme that was funded by Senator Akpabio. A few days to the arrival of Her Excellency, her Protocol staff called Mrs Unoma Ekaette Akpabio, wife of Senator Akpabio, to inform her that Mrs. Udom Emmanuel had requested to join the welcome party at the airport to receive Mrs. Buhari. Mrs. Akpabio had no objection to this; and so our governor’s wife was duly invited by the Villa to be at the airport to receive Her Excellency, Mrs Buhari, together with all other women and dignitaries from the state.
About 10.30am on Friday, the day of the event, Mrs. Akpabio led about 25 women, including Mrs. Ese Ekere, wife of our governorship candidate, Obong Nsima Ekere, to the airport. Other women leaders like Mrs Florence Umana were also at the airport. The usual traditional dancers and brass band were on hand to add colour to the airport ceremony. APC leaders like Senator Godswill Akpabio, Chief Donald Etiebet, Obong Nsima Ekere, Senator Ita Enang, Senator John James Akpan udoedehe, and many others also went to the airport. But Mrs Martha Udom Emmanuel was not seen at the airport then; although we later learned that she was seated in her vehicle parked at another part of the airport, away from where the waiting party was.
Soon, two planes carrying the First Lady’s advance party arrived, and they were duly received by Mrs Akpabio and the other APC women. The advance party consisted of Hajia Salamatu Baiwa, APC National Women Leader; Dr (Mrs) Pauline Tallen, a former Minister of the Federal Republic; Dr. Hajo Sanni, SSA to Mrs Buhari, family members of Mrs. Buhari and other dignitaries. Our governor’s wife did not come down from her car to receive them, and so nobody even knew that she was even at the airport. When Her Excellency arrived about 12.30pm or thereabout, the welcome party, led by Mrs Akpabio, moved to the tarmac, still unaware that Mrs Udom Emmanuel was around.
It was after the aircraft door was opened and a few people disembarked, that our governor’s wife was driven down to the tarmac in her car. By the then the APC women were already by the aircraft. What followed then was pushing and shoving of the people from behind by Mrs Martha Udom Emmanuel’s security personnel and protocol staff to make way for the governor’s wife to get to the plane. These security personnel wore long overall coat and were well armed. The DSS Director in the State and the Commissioner of Police (CP) were also around at the airport. Senator Akpabio and other APC leaders were also waiting a few meters away from the plane. They all watched as Mrs Martha Emmanuel’s entourage and security were shoving and pushing people away.
When the pushing and shoving became unruly, Mrs Akpabio called out to the SSG to call his people to order. She then walked away from the plane. The door of the plane was then closed and the engine revved up. It was then that the people who came with our governor’s wife started shouting: ‘Go! Go! You can go back!’ Mrs. Martha Udom Emmanuel then got to the aircraft, and took the position vacated by Mrs Akpabio moments earlier. Calm then was restored, and the aircraft door reopened. Her Excellency alighted and was received by Mrs Udom Emmanuel, who was then politely advised that her duties were done. It was now the turn of Mrs. Akpabio and other APC women and leaders to give Mrs Buhari a befitting welcome she deserves.
SO WHAT CAUSED THE BRAWL AT THE AIRPORT?
1. The unruly conduct at the airport was essentially caused by the PDP crowd led by Udom Emmanuel’s wife and her security details from the Akwa Ibom State Government House, who pushed the crowd away to make way for the governor’s wife to get to the tarmac. The security personnel that came as part of the advance party also pushed back to prevent the surging crowd from ramming into the plane.
2. If Mrs Martha Udom Emmanuel had arrived the airport early enough; or if she had come out of her car on time to meet the advance party of the President’s wife, she would have been to the tarmac right on time to meet our august visitor, Her Excellency. Rather, Mrs Udom Emmanuel, in her arrogance, preferred to wait in her car till all other women got to the plane.
3. In fact we are surprised that the governor’s wife chose not to come down from her car to meet with Mrs Pauline Tallen and Hajia Salamatu and Mrs Akpabio before the First Lady arrived. This is the same Mrs. Akpabio who had campaigned vigorously and contributed immensely to make Mr. Udom Emmanuel governor. In any case, Mrs Udom Emmanuel was only invited to the airport because Mrs Akpabio Okayed it.
4. The APC in Akwa Ibom State will like to place it on record that Mrs. Martha Udom Emmanuel has not in the last three and half years invited our President’s wife to the state for any programme or event. Never. Never. Wives of other PDP governors like Mrs Ayade of Cross River and Mrs Ugwuanyi of Enugu have routinely hosted Mrs Buhari in their own states.
5. The reason Mrs Martha Udom Emmanuel had not invited the President’s wife is because her husband had spent his time in office demonizing the President, castigating him and calling him all sorts of derogatory names like anti Christ when he is among the PDP crowd in the state. During the governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun States, our governor spent close to N10 billion funding the PDP in the two states. Our governor is also serving as the Chairman of the PDP Fund raising Committee for the Presidential election. Yet, Udom Emmanuel is also posturing as one of the President’s ‘friendly governors’, and is scheming for the president’s support for his re election bid. In other words, Udom Emmanuel is spending billions funding the PDP and trying to unseat President Buhari, and at the same time, the governor is stealthily seeking the president’s support for his re election.
Again, we wish to thank our Special Guest of Honour, Mrs Aisha Buhari, for her visit to Uyo and the country home of the Akpabios at Ukana in Essien Udim LGA. We are equally grateful to the APC women, our teeming party supporters, members and leaders for turning out in large numbers to welcome the august visitor.
Again, we offer our sincere apologies on behalf of Akwa Ibom people to our dear First Lady for the unruly behaviour of the PDP crowd at the airport.
Hon. Iniobong Okopido
APC State Chairman
Akwa Ibom State
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