By Nkoyo Edunam
Political stakeholders in okobo local government area have lambasted the Deputy Speaker, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly (AKHA), Rt. Hon. Felicia Bassey, for allegedly diverting the sum of Twenty Million Naira (N20m) meant for their empowerment.
Mrs. Felicia, who is also the member representing Okobo State Constituency in the state Assembly, is alleged to have diverted the said funds for purposes other than was expressly authorized by the State Governor, Mr. Udom Gabriel Emmanuel recently.
According to her accusers who claimed to be the supposed beneficiaries of the cash, the said money was to be shared to a specific number of people allegedly based on the roles they played toward the emergence of the governor in the April, 2015 gubernatorial polls. Some of them who spoke with our correspondent on grounds of anonymity, citing fear of victimization, said they were members of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP)
Corroborating each other, they alleged that since after the last election, Governor Udom Emmanuel had not anything to compensate them on the roles they played. One of them said: “Since after the 2015 elections, this is the first time we would be remembered by the Governor. Most of us suffered during the elections and in most cases, had to contribute to enable the success of the Governor and even this same House Member (Hon. Felicia) and other PDP candidates.
“But unfortunately, when the empowerment money came, it was given to her for onward disbursement to us. But she diverted it for purposes known only to her”.
Another complainant accused the lawmaker of using the funds to settle her family members, robbing the genuine beneficiaries of the opportunity of being empowered. He accused Deputy Speaker of conniving with some ‘self acclaimed’ stakeholders to mismanage the cash.
He said: “When the money was given to her by the Governor, she was specifically instructed to share it to specific number of people. But she decided on her own to bring other people, most of whom are her family members and close associates. That is unacceptable. The effect of it is that those who were supposed to be given, say, Three Hundred Thousand Naira, ended up being given as paltry as Twenty Thousand Naira only; some even got less than that. So it is proper to alert His Excellency”.
But the Okobo lawmaker, in a chat with our correspondent on phone, denied the allegation saying it was the handiwork of her enemies who would stop at nothing in their effort to tarnish her image.