Thursday, 28 May 2015

Akpabio sinks APICO

Akpabio sinks APICO

Activities at the Akwa Ibom Property and Investment Company is gradually winding to a halt, top management persons in the company hinted THE INK reporter over the week. Investigations show that the company which is an offshoot of the Cross River State Housing Corporation was established with the sole aim of providing and managing Housing for the people of the state.

APICO, it could be recalled was birthed to answer the questions of Housing Scheme in the state. During the era of Arch Obong Victor Attah, the company was restructured to meet the demands and yearnings of the people of the state in terms of qualitative and affordable Housing Schemes. It was the Obong Atttah era that led to the development and building of one of the most Unique estates in the State, Shelter Afrique, at Mbiabong. This Estate was built in collaboration with Shelter Afrique in Kenya with Arch Ezekiel Nyaetok serving as a consultant who facilitated the work.

The Attah years saw to the restructuring of APICO were it moved to acquire the status of a company. It became a Public Private sector seieing to its effectiveness and productivity with all the structures in place.

Sources who are in top management cadre of APICO while addressing THE INK  reporter in Uyo over the week regretted the dwindling fortunes of the company which they attributed to the unwholesome practice of Gov Akpabio and his management of the company. A staff of the company who hinted our reporter said that the Akpabio era has succeeded in falling APICO, adding that appointments into top echelon of the company like that of MD and others have not been following due processes. Our source lamented that the Governor has seized every opportunity he has to ensure that mediocres are appointed to serve instead of serious and responsible-minded people.

It would be recalled that Arch Okon Inwang was the MD of APICO during the reign of Obong Attah until he resigned and joined politics sometimes ago. When Okon Inwang left, the then Head of Operations, Engr. David Umoetuk took over in acting capacity.

Sources allege that when Obong Godswill Akpabio emerged as the Governor of the state, rather than affirm the appointment of Engr. Umoetuk, he went ahead to terminate Umoetuk’s leadership of APICO and drafted in his brother, Barr Aniedi Akpabio who was then the company’s secretary. Those who claim to know hinted that Barr Akpabio was the least man qualified for the job as at then, due to his inefficiency in managing a Housing Company of such nature.

Investigations by our reporter reveals that despite public outcry by top management of the company to reverse the appointment for someone credible, Akpabio had rebuffed, positing that whoever is not comfortable with his cousin, Aniedi Akpabio can go to hell or quit the company. Aniedi Akpabio, it was learnt first served the company in acting capacity but few months later, Gov. Akpabio against all known rules and regulations, confirmed him as the substantive MD of the company.

A high ranking management staff of the company told our reporter that the Aniedi Akpabio era as the MD of APICO generated so much bad blood and influence in the company. Our source, a female said, decisions bothering on the company and its wellbeing were not always being taken by the management in a meeting but was always dictated for them by some external influences. They described Aniedi Akpabio’s era as a failure blaming it on the Governor who imposed him on them.

Speaking further, our source who refused her name in Print for security reasons opined that Aniedi Akpabio began allocating lands arbitrarily. She averred that the former MD of APICO had even gone ahead to allocate lands along green areas to people. One of such she said is the land owned and developed by the Governor along Shelter Afrique Housing Estate. She also accused Aniedi Akpabio of abusing the laws governing the allocation of land in the state as well as failing to develop more estates for the people throughout his tenure as the MD of APICO,  a distant departure from what is expected of him.  

Our reporter understands that Aniedi Akpabio invested time in high levels of illegalities as he was fond of selling lands even in green areas to individuals and ghost companies.

Early this year, the State Governor had nominated and forwarded the name of Aniedi Akpabio to the Federal Government to be appointed into Federal Government cadre. That nomination by Akpabio had fetched Aniedi Akpabio a directorship in the Federal Housing Authority. Today, he is an Executive Director in the Federal Housing Authority.

When Akpabio moved Aniedi to the National level, he surreptitiously appointed another Essien Udim son, Rev. Ossom without taking due process. Ossom, before his appointment is said to have illegally been coordinating two departments in the Company-Physical planning Department as well as Head of the marketing Department. 

But the state Governor soon fell apart with Ossom due to what many stakeholders in the company regard as the inability of Ossom to meet up with the illegality that was expected of him. Those in the know contend that Ossom wanted to reposition the company and had to step on the toes of the Akpabios, a situation that forced the Governor to be left with no other option than to sack him.

Sources in APICO told our reporters that Akpabio had since crippled all funds and personnel of the company because he wanted to use the company as a conduit pipe to acquire so much lands in the state. A deputy Director in APICO who pleaded anonymity revealed that Akpabio has committed so much fraud in the company and has done so much harm to the Housing Scheme in the State. Our source said, Akpabio has through his actions and inactions shuned decency in his treatment of affairs with the company to an extent that the company which had hitherto been able to fend for itself can no longer do that but is rather depending on the Office of the Head of Civil Service for survival.
The Information unit of the company refused to speak with our reporter. When contacted, the personnel on duty said, da mfinna siba ke itie ami akpon tutu, (the problem in this company is too big).

The commissioner for Information could not be reached for his comments on the role of the Akpabio administration in sinking the company. A text message to his phone was not responded to as at the time this paper went to bed.

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