Our attention has been drawn to a false claim made against the Speaker of the Akwa Ibom state House of Assembly, Rt Hon Onofiok Luke, and published in a section of local and online media. In a story which was first circulated online and later published in the Guide Newspaper dated Thursday January 7, 2016, a certain Abia Ante was quoted to have claimed that Hon. Onofiok Luke attended a “security meeting” in which an alleged plot to assassinate Obong Umana Okon Umana, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the last governorship election in Akwa Ibom state, was hatched. According to the pernicious claim, the meeting was held on Sunday, January 3, 2016.
Whereas the pedestrian comment by Ante (obviously a pseudo name) does not deserve to be honoured with a response from any quarter, it is important to put facts straight before the public following the undue amplification of the untruth by some tabloids.
On the said Sunday, Mr Speaker was in church, Full Life Christian Centre, Full Life Avenue, Uyo, as early as 7am. He left the church at about 10:30am and remained indoors with his family the rest of the day. He was indoors till the following morning when he again left home to attend the beginning of the ongoing 21 days of prayer and fasting being observed by his church. At no point in time therefore did he meet with any group of persons for any purpose as claimed in the mischievous story in circulation.
It is important to state for records purposes that as one whose upbringing is laced with strong Christian values, and whose course in life is daily and solely determined by the Supreme Being, the respected lawmaker has never, and will never, plot nor sit in a company where there is a plot to assassinate anyone. Even in the face of great provocations and threats to his life, he has never condescended so low as to connive with, or plan in any way, to take a life.
The honourable Speaker therefore calls the attention of the Commissioner of Police in the state, the Department of State Service, and other security agencies in the state to the alarm raised by the writer of the circulated article, and to this response of ours. The Speaker is convinced that the false alarm is a covert threat to his life as it is capable of inciting some target groups of persons against him. While we urge the reading public to disregard the false story being peddled, the Speaker pleads with the security agencies to thoroughly investigate the claim made and if he is found culpable, the full wrath of the law should be made to take its due course. Meanwhile, the Rt. Hon Speaker wishes to warn that any attempt to hide behind malicious and false allegations to harass his person will seriously be resisted within the ambit of the law by him, his loved ones, and his teeming supporters within and outside the state.
WHILE HON. LUKE PATIENTLY WAITS AND HOPES THAT THE SECURITY AGENCIES WILL CARRY OUT THEIR PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY, HE WISHES TO STATE THAT THE ANTICS OF SMEAR CAMPAIGN IS NOT STRANGE IN THIS POLITICAL TERRAIN AND THEREFORE, NOT STRANGE TO HIM. IT IS NOT A SURPRISE THAT THE SPONSORS OF THIS STORY HAVE RESORTED TO THE OBSOLETE TACTICS OF EMPLOYING LIES AND BLACKMAIL TO HUNT DOWN POLITICAL TARGETS. SMEAR POLITICS HAS BEEN PLAYED FOR FAR TOO LONG AGAINST OTHERS, BUT MR SPEAKER WISHES TO ASSURE THAT THIS TIME, IT HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO THE DOORSTEPS OF THE WRONG PERSON.
Although no one is left in doubts as to the brash tactics of employing pseudo names to blackmail people as evident in the story being circulated by our detractors, we have resorted to sticking with issue-based politics. The originators of this series of lies seek to achieve one goal: to impugn the integrity of Hon. Luke and try to whittle down the support base and the political capital which God has built for him over the years. They must realize by now that their identities are known and that nobody is afraid of them. As they bask in their game of lies, they seem not to know that although we steer clear of their kind of game for decency sake, the game remains one which we all know too well. They also have ruled out God completely from their machinations. The Honourable Speaker believes that his journey from the PDP primaries to the House of Assembly and to the office of Speaker is enough to make those plotting the undue attacks against him to accept the fact that God remains very interested in his affairs. This is why he owes Him alone his submission and not man.
Again, while Mr Speaker urges his supporters, Akwa Ibom people at home and in the Diaspora, as well as all well-meaning Nigerians to disregard the story, he strongly requests security agents in the state to begin an immediate investigation into the claim so published.
Press Secretary to the Honourable Speaker, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly