AKWA Ibom State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, has denied the allegation that he plans to spend a whopping N9.1 billion to build a new governor’s lodge in Lagos State.
There has been a lot of frenzy about the new governor’s lodge, especially as news of its construction came within the period that the Government House, Uyo, is facing a debt litigation of N2.1 billion claimed as professional fees by a firm of architects, Otto Trinity Studio, which was said to have designed the buildings.
But Governor while speaking at the opening of the 2017 conference organized by the Christian Lawyers’ Fellowship of Nigeria (CLASFON) in Uyo, said it was the handiwork of some persons who habitually cook spurious and laborious stories against his administration.
“Someone called me last night and said ‘I beg you in the name of God, please don’t spend 9.1bn to build a lodge in Lagos.’ You know when you have a theocentric government, when they don’t have anything to say against you, they fabricate stories and I just asked my people, can I have a look at the budget again? Do we have such thing in the budget? I asked and they told me no sir.”
Dismissing the allegation as false insinuation, the governor said: “I answered all of them by saying I know politics is like a church, everybody sits on the pew, but said despite their antics, power comes from God and there can only be one governor at a time.”
Similarly, the chairman Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly Committee on Information, Mr Ime Okon, while speaking to the press yesterday, said the House had so far approved the sum of N1.2 billion only for the project.
Okon, who is also the Deputy Leader of the House explained that the sum of N500 million was initially allocated to the project in the 2017 budget but it was later increased to N1.2 billion through the addition of N700 million in the year’s subsequent supplementary budget.
He said the project was necessary to the people of Akwa Ibom State and wondered why there is much hullabaloo at the moment when such provision had been made known to the members of the public before the budget was passed by the House and signed into law by the governor.
Also speaking on the issue, the state Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Uwemedimo Nwoko explained that the lodge, which would serve as a first point of call for foreign investors coming to the state through Lagos, may not be completed even in Udom Emmanuel’s administration.
According to Nwoko, the lodge was never a new project as the land for its construction was purchased by the past administration of Chief Godwin Akpabio, now a senator.