Media professionals working under the aegis of Uyo Senatorial District Media Practitioners Forum (USDMPF) has debunked a story in a state-based tabloid alleging that the state government is secretly planning to obtain a fresh N150 billion loan to execute the 2023 election of the governor’s preferred candidate after already obtaining a N184 billion loan secretly.
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The newspaper in the report also alleged that the current loan profile of the state stood at over N3 trillion.
However, USDMPF in a press statement, endorsed by Pastor Michael Okon Head, Publicity & Strategic Communication obtained by our Correspondent tagged: ‘The Honeyed Deception on How AKSG Acquired N184 billion Secret Loan, Targets Fresh N150 Billion Loan’, described the report as false and a mere smear campaign.
According to the group: “The belief that ‘when one with honeyed words but evil mind persuades the mob, great woes befall the state’, finds greater expression in the recent hoax and mendacity churned out by the newspaper on March 1, 2022”.
The group further said: “The smear campaign alleged among other things that the Akwa Ibom State Government was on the verge of sourcing for a N150 billion loan ‘under the cloak of other exceptional income: 13 percent derivation revenue arrears’. The writer also insinuates that the state is indebted to the tune of N3 trillion.
They described the entire report as a politically – motivated publication with no iota of truth and doesn’t deserve any response from an intelligible mind on account of its intent and purpose was to deceive the people of Akwa Ibom State and pitch them against the administration of Governor Udom Emmanuel.
USDMPF said their clarifications and deconstruction of the allusions became necessary to protect the vulnerable and innocent members of the public from losing trust and having wrong psyche towards the government.
They group further explained: “First, most reliable sources in this respect show that there is no such approach for a loan of N150 billion as alleged by the writer, his sponsors and co- travelers.
“The N150 billion loan allegation is not just a figment of the imagination of an idle mind, but a carefully thought-out mischief to masquerade the truth in order to achieve a sinister motive – which is to demonise the governor and project the aspiration of the sponsors of such gibberish”.
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The media professionals also lampooned the alleged N3 trillion owed as debt by Akwa Ibom State Government describing it as misleading and very mischievous.
They asked rhetorically: “Where is the source of the writer’s information? The pertinence of the question emanates from the fact that, ‘objectivity requires that the source of an information must be critically evaluated’.
“It must also be asked at this point, when did it become a crime for governments to source for loans, to finance critical infrastructure, granted there was such an intention?
“Available records from the Debt Management Office (DMO) show that by December 31, 2014, the total indebtedness of the state was over 90 billion at an exchange rate N160 per dollar.
“This figure is at variance with what is obtainable in Governor Udom’s administration when exchange rate for external loans stood at between N400 and over N500 per dollar. If this is placed side by side with the little above 100 billion the current administration has taken as loan, it therefore puts the total indebtedness of the current administration at a little above N200 billion – which is a mismatch with N3 trillion alleged by the revisionists.
“If this is juxtaposed against the indebtedness inherited by the administration in 2015 and the current level of infrastructural renaissance in the state, particularly in the rural area, which hitherto was neglected, one would appreciate the fact that so much has been done in the state, to ameliorate the living conditions of people. This sends a clear warning to mischief makers to verify facts and figures before initializing their wild goose chase, because as Benedicto Croce puts it, facts don’t lie.”
Uyo Senatorial District Media Practitioners Forum advised the purveyors of the story to move on with the reality that Governor Udom Emmanuel has a preferred successor, who has been accepted by the generality of the people of Akwa Ibom.
The group warned agents of mischief and the purveyors of this misinformation to desist from manipulating the people of Akwa Ibom state by saturating them with falsehood as they deserve the truth.
“The Forum would not hesitate to take legal actions against perpetrators of lies against the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, who has given the star quality governance and shared prosperity,” they warned.