Publicity Secretary of Akwa Ibom State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Ini Ememobong spoke on the party’s chances ahead of the 2019 elections and development strides of Governor Udom Emmanuel. Inemesit Akpan-Nsoh reports.
What is the fate of the PDP in 2019; do you think the party can still retain Akwa Ibom?
Let’s wait for 2019 to come. There may not even be APC in 2019. Yes! It has never contested any two general elections in the same name or structures, from Alliance for Democracy (AD) to Action Congress (AC) to Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and now APC. The only thing that has been constant in their name is A.
Regarding the issue that `PDP is not in control of INEC, police and other necessary institutions, the electoral umpire is to count votes, not to vote. We will ensure that votes are counted because we are at the point of political awareness. The same INEC that counted the votes when APC won the presidential election is the one that will count the vote in the next election. The political projection that threw up Governor Udom Emmanuel in 2016 was not known to our political history in Akwa Ibom and therefore the hand of God was manifestly seen, and that hand is still there. And so I can assure you that the hand that brought him, the hand that is sustaining him, will confirm his mandate.
We defeated APC when this same governor was not this popular, we defeated them when the governor did not do programs and we defeated them with his political history as Secretary to Government.
Now we will be going to elections with his political history as governor. You think that the people of Ikot Udom in Ibiono will vote any other person apart from Emmanuel? I can assure you that as the lord lives, the hands that brought Emmanuel in 2015 is still at work.
How can you be so certain about Emmanuel’s victory if the party members are not happy with him?
I don’t know who these stakeholders are; but I do know that if the stakeholders are members of the party’s caucus, if the stakeholders are those that have been attending meetings with us because the governor has been endorsed as sole candidate without any prompting.
The difference between the governor and other candidates is that the governor is already a candidate, others would have to fight for nominations but he has already been endorsed.
The issue of putting money in the hands of politicians, assuming but not conceding that, what you are saying is the truth and assuming also that the people you are talking about are also members of the PDP, the question we would like to ask is; how far did we go in the past in putting money in people’s hands? Governance is not about putting money in people’s hands, the governor is more interested in creating sustainable developments that money can keep coming.
Akwa Ibom at 30, how far is it developing?
The hands of God have been upon this state, especially in the area of leadership selection. I tell you that I am the last person that would criticize its past leaders; you needed to witness their times to know what they went through. Leadership is not easy but talk is cheap. God always intervene in the selection of leadership in Akwa Ibom. Former Governor Obong Victor Attah was not the richest candidate during his period, but he was elected through a consensus. I am not even sure that people who went for the consensus had him in mind but God chose him, and in the process, God turned things around.
Attah was rated among the best governors during his time because he fought for resource control.
Chief Godswill Akpabio, who came with the determination to massively transform the state, succeeded him. If he had the opportunity he could have done 300 things at the same time. God brought him when the state needed aggressive development and we had that. Now we have a recession, the economic situation that is affecting the entire country, God brought Governor Emmanuel to manage our resources.
Has the state kept to the vision and dreams of its founding fathers?
What were their dreams, the founding fathers of Akwa Ibom wanted a state where there will be equity, justice and fairness, and the fact that there is the geopolitical (senatorial) arrangement of governorship at 30 years, we can truly say that every senatorial district has produced a governor in this state and that was their dream.
Why is Akwa Ibom seemed to be laying back in the popular debate for restructuring?
The debate for restructuring has not gotten to a stage where states have to submit their dispositions, I am not aware states are submitting, but while you are discussing restructuring time is going. The governor is interested in delivering on the promises he made. If the restructuring comes, fine! Governor Emmanuel is a result-driven person; he works with what he has at hand.