Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State on Thursday defended his controversial wedding gifts to hip pop musician, Tuface Idibia, saying the gesture was to reward the musician’s wife who is “a daughter of Akwa Ibom State” for standing by her husband through thick and thing.
Akpabio came under fire after he, on Friday, announced a gift of two brand new Toyota Prado SUVs to Tuface and his wife. He was also quoted as promising to bankroll an all-expense paid trip for 29 delegates from the state to attend the white wedding of the couple fixed for Dubai, the United Arab Emirate on March 23.
But in a statement by his commissioner for information, Aniekan Umana, on Wednesday, Mr. Akpabio denied donating two cars for the couple or sponsoring 29 wedding guests to Dubai for the couple’s white wedding.
The statement reads, “Following spurious and false speculations in the social media concerning the wedding gift by Governor Godswill Akpabio to Mrs. Annie Innocent Idibia, née Macaulay, I wish to state as follows:
“That the Governor of Akwa Ibom State Chief Godswill Akpabio, donated ONE Prado jeep to Mrs. Annie Innocent Idibia, nee Macaulay a daughter of Akwa Ibom State and renowned artist during her traditional marriage at Eket.
“That the State Governor as a token of support for the couple promised to fund the traveling expenses (economy return tickets) for only 20 relatives of Mrs. Annie Idibia Macaulay to Dubai, where the couple have chosen to wed.
“That looking carefully at the surrounding events in perspective, Mrs. Annie Idibia, nee Macaulay is a daughter of Akwa Ibom State and the gift of a Prado SUV from her governor is only a gesture of love and goodwill. Her resolve to stand by her husband on his journey right from his days of youthful beginnings to stardom even in the face of challenges was commendable and a true attribute of the Akwa Ibom women.
“That It is however unbecoming that mischief makers and enemies of progress have decided to inflame the social media with incongruous reports that the State Government is sponsoring an entourage of party supporters to the wedding in Dubai, when in fact the Government is only sponsoring the travel expenses of twenty of her family members at an estimated cost of roughly Three Million Naira (N3,000,000.00) only.
“I wish to therefore urge members of the public to discountenance the misrepresentations made out of a well intentioned act of the governor.”