Thursday, 26 March 2015

Akpabio wanted my hotel demolished ...also attempted to kill me - Ekarika

Akpabio wanted my hotel demolished ...also attempted to kill me - Ekarika

- Akwa Ibom will vote for APC - Bob Ekarika

 Dr Udoma Bob Ekarika is a man whose name readily rings a bell in the state having been a commissioner for eight years in Obong Victor Attah’s administration first as a Commissioner for Health and later Commissioner for Works and Transport. He served both offices with distinction before he resigned voluntarily to seek the number one seat in the state; an adventure that did not go quite well. Today, he’s a Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and is cocksure the party will change the fortunes of the state if it wins the elections. In this no-holds barred interview with KENNETH JUDE, he recounts his time in government, the Akpabio-led government and why APC is the party to be

Sir, for the sake of the readers who may not really know you can you tell us in  a nutshell who you are?
That’s a very good and interesting question because I have said time without number that the life of a man does not start from marriage because people in Akwa Ibom wants to start writing my history from where I married because I happen to marry the daughter of the former governor and I have been telling them that is very, very wrong. You must start the history of a man from birth. I was born into a family of late Chief Bob Ekarika and late David Bob Ekarika of Ikot Ntuen of Ekparakwa Clan in Oruk Anam on the 22nd of May 1959. 

Thereafter, when I grew up, I started primary school, finished very successfully, finished my secondary education in 1972 at Qua Iboe church secondary school, Ika Annang and entered the university in 1981 to read math statistics. In 1983 I moved to the university of Calabar and succeeded in changing it to read Medicine and Surgery because that was my heart desire of becoming a professional so that I can stand up any day, any time to speak and challenge any situation I feel is against my person. Before this time in 1979, I was employed as a clerk and I worked there between 1980 and in October 1981; I left and before that time, I was confirmed a staff and was given study leave without pay.
So, as soon as I came back after graduation as a doctor after I had finished my horsemanship and became fully registered as a medical practitioner in the state, I was reabsorbed back into the state service on level ten (10). I grew up from there and started and my first posting was General   Hospital Mbribri Itam, Oron and I stayed there from 1993 till 1997 where I voluntarily retired on level 13 or thereabout to take part in active politics and as God would have it, in 1999 when His Excellency Arc. Obong Victor Attah came on board, he found me worthy and appointed me Commissioner for Health and I was in that ministry throughout his first term.

In his second term, because of my hard work and honesty, he reappointed me and sent me to the Ministry of Works and Transport where I stayed and voluntarily resigned to go for a higher office of governor where I won the primary but I was manipulated out. But I have no regret whatsoever for that because what is supposed to be will be.

Talking about manipulation, we thought you were going to emerge as governor with the believe that the then governor was supporting you. Please share your experiences during that time...
As a matter of fact, I can tell you sincerely that I never bought one bottle of drink for Obong Attah or his entire family because I wanted to be a governor. I did it on my merit because I have both explicit and implicit confidence in myself that I am qualified to be a governor of this state. So, when everybody saw that I am competent, experienced and capable, support came from everywhere, not only from the family of the governor but from everywhere; and when we went for the contest, of course, I won the primary but it was manipulated and those who are sincere acknowledged it.

But since I  had understanding with my brother, Chief Godswill Akpabio that if it’s him I will not challenge him but if it’s me he should not challenge me that’s why I left it. Akpabio did not win the primary in all fairness because the guideline of the party as at the time said that whoever is to be declared or fly the flag of PDP at the time must score 50 percent and above of the total vote; Akpabio scored 2, 27 votes out of 5, 500 and something votes while I scored 1, 590 votes. So two of us had the highest votes and by right, we should have gone for run-off but that did not take place and they just manipulated to impose Akpabio on the people of Akwa Ibom state; of course, everybody has come to see the effect of that imposition today because if there’s a man that is being hated all over the state today, it is Godswill Obot Akpabio because he has now shown his real character to the people and everybody has seen it now but it is too late for them now. In that primary, I won it very convincingly and everybody knows that I won it.

Sometime ago, we read in the media that you accused Gov. Akpabio, your friend of attempting to poison you and he reacted by saying that he came to make peace with you but you locked him out of your gate and he stood there and cursed you that government will never come to your house, can you tell us how true these stories are?
 I am laughing at you think God can answer the curse of a wicked man? Laughs... God is a just God and doesn’t think like Akpabio. When Governor Godswill Akpabio took over as the governor of this state, I was the first person to be humiliated. He went public and said he has defeated Obong Attah that he wanted to impose his son in law so that his wife who happens to be his daughter swill be the First Lady and he went further to say that he came to inherit empty treasury and a debt burden of over N45 billion. Were those comments good about a friend? And what you don’t know is that I single handed brought Akpabio to be made a commissioner in this state and I protected him in Akwa Ibom state executive council for six years. The first commissioner for Essien Udim was Dr. Chris Akpan; he stayed only one year and the second person was Dr. Isidore Akpan and was there for one year but when I brought him as somebody I groomed in the university of Calabar, I had a duty to protect him; and I protected him for six years in that EXCO even though he was just a nominal member because so many things today have proven that he as a nominal member of the Executive Council then. For instance, as Executive Council, we chose a place that a university of technology should be sited; agreed on it and sent it to the House of Assembly and the House debated on it, they met  with the executive and as soon as he came on board he said that Obong Attah wanted to site a university in a slum and this is something he participated in and didn’t object to it without knowing that the  petroleum technology that we wanted to use that  university to study and to expose Akwa Ibom people is  in Ibeno in that Atlantic.

Secondly, you cannot build ship in a desert. How will you transfer the ship to the Atlantic? It must be close to the source of the water so that it can easily be taken in there; and besides, apart from oil, maritime trade generates a lot of money and these are the gains and consolidation His Excellency Arc.  Obong Victor Attah wanted to do for the people of Akwa Ibom state. But when Akpabio came, he said no, that he wants to establish a conventional university. Where are we today? What is wrong with the University of Uyo—If you talk about Medicine, engineering, architecture and many other things like that?  Does it make any difference? So, the young man is confused. Like you rightly said, he happens to be  my friend and I have made him what he is today; so when he decided to come to my house, I told him to come but I prayed to God and also called my pastor; my pastor quickly rebuked me not to allow him to step one foot into my compound because he was not coming in my best interest and that’s exactly what I did because previously like I said, he poisoned me in one of the occasions I happened to meet with him in the then presidential lodge before he demolished the building. And if not for the grace of God, I would have been a dead man today. But I am alive today to prove to him that he’s a human being and not God.

Can you please narrate the story of this poisoning?

Well, you know that time UNICAL alumni decided to pay him a courtesy call when they had their NEC meeting in Akwa Ibom state which I happened to be a member of Board of Trustees of UNICAL alumni. As member of BoT, it was incumbent on me to join the NEC members to pay him a courtesy call; and unfortunately for me, that afternoon which was a day a family friend wedded and he came during the reception and I foolishly, hoping that I was talking to a friend told him that we will be paying him a courtesy call in the evening, I didn’t know that it was my death warrant that I signed. That’s the genesis. So as he went back, he did all sort of things to prepare for me. As soon as he came to that occasion, he said gentle men, let’s go and eat, let’s go and eat. He was the one standing there to distribute plates in a buffet. What right had the governor to start distributing plates?

As soon as he gave me my plate, he stopped distributing the plates and it came to my mind clearly that this is not ordinary and I wanted to break the plate but I said no that it will be too shameful in such gathering. What I decided to do was to scoop rice so much; about the size that should be eaten by over ten people and just took a very little on top; my brother that night, I was no longer myself if not that I’m a medical doctor, you wouldn’t have seen me today. I am telling you the gospel truth because as soon as I came back, I had that trouble and I quickly went into poison drugs. The following day I went to a pharmacy to get some drugs and as soon as I went into that pharmacy, one girl ran out from that pharmacy with some drugs and said sir that it was very good that even if I took poison it will clear the poison and I asked for the drugs, she gave it to me and till today, I don’t remember the name of the drug. What I’m telling you is life and that is God for you. 

I don’t remember the name of that drug as a medical doctor and that was God in action. So, I took the drug; I bought water there and took all and when I came back, even the girl I asked did not remember the name of the drug she gave me. Well, this is a story that people who wants to listen to the truth should take very seriously and for those who don’t want to listen to the truth can take it very lightly but what am trying to say is that whatever happens to a man mostly is from a friend not from his enemy.

There were rumours sometime ago that the governor attempted to cause something to affect your investment, DATTY HOTEL, did he try anything of such or was it just a rumour?
It’s not a rumour, it’s true and we are in court so I don’t want to discuss about that. But the only thing I want to say is that they attempted to do that by giving us very offensive letter that if the Hotel is not relocated within three months it will be demolished. Having seen the letter and read through the contents and saw the seriousness and the bias they have, we had no option than to go to court to seek redress. The matter is still in court so I can’t discuss it.

What did he say was the offence of the Hotel?

He said that I did not get approval to build a Hotel in Ewet Housing and that it’s a security risk to the residents. My worry was that DATTY is the youngest hotel as far as am concern. There are other hotels in Ewet Housing and they are still operating, many more are built till today so they don’t constitute security risk to anybody, it’s only DATTY that constitute security risk to residents. But since I didn’t want to go into long interpretation or whatever, I decided to go to court because court is where a common man gets justice.

You talked about yourself but you did not tell us about your political aspiration and what you are in APC both in the state and at the national level...
I’m a very strong member of APC and am not hungry for positions. I’m not that type of person that if it’s not me, nothing works out. No, am not like that. So, when the leadership of the APC was constituted, I refused to vie for any position. I am an elder in the party so, as am talking to you now, everybody has reckoned with the fact that I am an elder in the party. There’s nothing they want to do without inviting me; and am very happy with that. I am nationally and state-wise recognised.

There seems to be a minor crisis in your party between James Udoedege and Umana Okon Umana; what are elders like you doing to resolve the impasse knowing that it may affect your party at the polls?

Well, let me correct that impression; there’s no crisis in APC whatsoever between UOU and Senator John James Udoedege. If Umana has a problem, would he be in the party?

But he has taken the party to court...

If he has taken the party to court, he has a right as an individual and he will explain to the court why he has taken the party to court. It is the court that will judge whether he’s right or wrong.

In your thinking, can you say that the APC governorship nomination followed due process?

Yes, it did. For instance, all delegates from Oruk Anam were camped by me as an elder of the party and they moved from my place to go and vote whoever they wanted to vote. We were there and at the point of starting the voting, John James Udoedege came with thugs to pack everything there but the party has many ways of resolving problems. It’s a much disciplined party so they adopted the method that is appropriate to continue with the election and after the exercise; Umana Okon Umana was declared the winner of that primary. So, he’s our candidate besides, there’s time for everything. It is left for somebody to acknowledge that. Two situations can no longer be the same. Udoedege should know that this is 2015 and it’s different from 2010/2011. All those who were his supporters are no longer supporting him; so where will you get people to go and be the governor of this state? 

That’s the big question so he has to accept certain things but if he does not, I encourage him as he’s doing, let him seek his right in court as he’s doing; there’s nothing wrong about that. And if at the end of the day, the court says he was right or wrong, we are a disciplined party and we’ll abide by it but I don’t think that he has a chance.

Is there no standing rule in your party that says an aspirant should not take the party to court?
The constitution of the country is superior to any other constitution. Don’t forget fundamental human rights. The constitution of the party is not stronger than the constitution of the country when we consider it from the fundamental human rights. Otherwise, it will make nonsense out of everything such that whenever you have something to say, you won’t say it because of party—it’s not right.  

As a strong member of the All Progressives Congress in Akwa Ibom state, how prepared is your party for the elections?
Thank you very much. We even finished preparations before the postponement. So, the postponement and the additional six weeks was an added advantage to us; I want to tell you very clearly that we are fully prepared to stand these elections with other parties.

The PDP keeps accusing your party of not being sensitive to the demands of Akwa Ibom people as regards the zoning arrangement and your governorship candidate comes from Uyo senatorial district, what is your take on that?
I was one of those who fired the first shots that Eket should produce the next governor of Akwa Ibom state considering the fact that Uyo has produced and the current governor is from Ikot Ekpene senatorial district and by right it should be Eket but when we look at it critically and what PDP did, for instance Udom Emmauel has never told anybody in this state that he wants to be a governor; he has been drafted into it because there were more credible people in that line up to be elected to be the standard bearer to run this state but the whole thing is this issue of monkey de work baboon dey chop. We must put a stop to it so that’s why APC  has come to elect the incumbent candidate Obong Umna Okon Umana to stand election with whoeve PDP has produced  because it will be a walkover  for the PDP has no candidate.

So, the issue of Eket senatorial district doesn’t come in again because having looked at it, the people that should have been given the ticket were not given and even when the 22 people protested, nobody listened to them. It was just an arrangement to bring somebody from nowhere to be an ATM for one particular family and we don’t want to take that nonsense any longer.

You are the main opposition party in the state and the PDP is talking about consolidation but your party is talking about change, what are you coming to change?
Consolidate on what? If you listened the other day when I was on Planet Fm, I said PDP is full of deceit. To the best of my knowledge, the first foundation stone laying ceremony done by His Excellency Barr Godswill Obot Akpabio was 20th Anniversary Hospital at Itu. As am talking to you now, they say they want to commission that hospital. What you see outside is just window dressing. This is the same government that said they finished Le Meridien Hotel and Ibom Golf resort in three months, the same thing with Independent Power Plant and the same thing with Airport and that is why I say that such a government is a magician.

And I also say which one should have been given priority? Is it the projects inherited from Obong Attah or the projects initiated by himself?  So, what am trying to say is that we don’t want consolidation and continuity. What Akwa Ibom people are looking for is change; and the wind of change has come and definitely will wipe them off because it’s becoming stronger on a daily basis—the wind is very strong and they know that’s why they are running helter skelter looking for all ways to boycott these elections but we in APC  want to stand election with PDP and other parties in this country so that it will serve as deterrent so that whenever you are elected to be in an office, you should do the right thing to the people because you are not a master but a servant and the people who have elected you are the masters.

The PVC controversy is still raging with the PDP seemingly not at ease with the device but your party insist it must be used, what is your take on this issue?
We don’t want to talk about the Card Reader because INEC is an autonomous body and they have all the powers constitutionally and the electoral Act to conduct free and fair elections. And they have planned seriously towards that. The use of Card Reader is part of it; so why do we say it should not be used at this eleventh hour after huge sum of money was approved by the senate and presidency? And now they say that we should not use it again. I don’t subscribe to that and I don’t want to talk as if I am INEC; what am saying is that whatever INEC wants to use including Card Reader, we are ready for elections. What INEC knows will be used to do credible election that will be generally accepted by the people, it should be used? It’s only somebody who is insane would say that an institution that wants to do the right thing should not do it. It’s just like going in for exam and students are ready for it and one or two students comes to say they don’t want exam, then you postpone exam because of one or two students. It has never been done that way. We are fully ready for these elections, if we go and fail; let us fail in the field. 

After all, other people have been failing election before so, it’s not a news or a new development whatsoever. But whoever is going to fail this time should accept it in good faith but we in APC say that we want this election to be held on the 28 of March and April 11th but if we go and fail, so be it. But we know we  will not because we have put every machinery on ground to win this election; we know that PDP, especially in Akwa Ibom state are putting several machineries on ground to rig elections bu it is our wish that every body’s vote should count.

But PDP is saying that Jega is working for your party, is it true?

That one is blackmail. How can Jega work for a party? Jega is an Umpire and he shouldn’t work for a particular party. It’s just like we coming up to say that Jega is working for PDP. That is cheap blackmail; we can’t say that. As an institution, the head of that institution cannot work for a particular party. The only reason they say he’s working for APC is because he wants to do the right thing. And the PDP as a party knows that APC is ahead of them this time round that’s why they have brought this cheap blackmail that is not tenable anywhere and nobody accepts it, except in their small circle. That is the truth about it. So, the issue of Jega is not what I should talk about because I’m not the one who appointed him. He was appointed by Nigerians and will be removed by Nigerians because as far as am concerned, it takes 2/3 of the Senate to remove him and I don’t think that 2/3 will sit today to remove him, so he will stay and conduct his elections and whatever will be the outcome of that elections, we will all accept it.

Isn’t your party intimidated that military will be involved in the elections?

In previous elections military have always been involved; what type of intimidation? We know the position of the military men, they are security agents. Their role in election is clearly defined.

Between Umana Okon Umana and Udom Emmanuel, with all sincerity, who do you think is the better candidate and why?

When I listened to what Barr Ukpong said on Planet Fm I laughed. If it’s a Central Bank position, I would have said Udom Emmanuel but if it is the state, Udom Emmauel doesn’t come in at all, it’s Umana Okon Umana. So, I stand on that existing protocol...laughs. Udom Emmanuel has been in the banking sector all his life. Apart from the fact that Udom has never told anybody that he wants to be a governor, like I said, he’s being drafted into it. In fact, he has never consulted anybody in this state that is why you see that the campaign of Udom is being led by Akpabio and the wife; and Akpabio at a point had said that it’s not even him who brought Udom but the wife. And that’s the question people are asking that have you looked critically at the relationship between your wife and Udom? That is number one. Number two, Udom, like I said has never consulted anybody in this state about his ambition to become a governor.

He only believes and relies on Akpabio because he wants to protect that family. I remember sometime ago in one of the interviews where they asked Udom, why are you going to be used to come and clean this mess this present government is doing? He said yes, “if building a model stadium is what you call a mess, let me be part of that mess.’’ And I say which stadium? That is a football field and that’s the truth about it because maybe Udom doesn’t travel outside this country or he doesn’t have an idea of what a stadium is supposed to look like. A stadium is not only football field; it has other pitches for other games. In fact they were telling people that it’s about 30-seater, it’s less than that; it’s about 25 or 20. So, you cannot hold any important event in this stadium when it comes to the size, and this stadium is the most expensive in the world. Even South Africa that built eight new stadia for the world cup was not this expensive. Put them together, it’s not as costly as this one stadium here in Uyo. What we are saying is that there’s no basis whatsoever to compare Udom with UOU. Umama Umana as a person has passed through the system very well up to the level of Director of Budget, Commissioner for Finance, SSG and apart from that, there’s no military administrator in this state, starting from Tunde Ogbeha that Umana has never been part of the system. 

He has been a teacher and has won the shoes very well and knows where it pinches. What I’m saying is that he is versatile and has been fully tutored, educated and he has learnt and passed all the exams and is waiting for application of the knowledge. The final application of the knowledge is for him to be the governor of this state and you’ll see the difference. And people like us and many others are outside to support him because we believe in Akwa Ibom project.

But Umana was part of Akpabio’s government that you are criticising... (Cuts in)
To clarify the question that Umana has been the problem of this government that is criticised; yes and that is why he was forcefully removed from Government by Akpabio because Akpabio doesn’t want any advice from anybody. I am telling you today that if Umana were to be remaining with Akpabio today, he wouldn’t have been the standard bearer in APC and no Akwa Ibom person would have touched him with a finger; but as God would have it, because he has been advising this Government, Akpabio had to expunge him they way he did.

But the governor said he went on early campaigns thereby undermining his position as SSG...
So, when Udom came, what happened? Let’s put Umana and Udom together; both of them have been the Secretary to the state Government. If he has accepted Udom, why has he refused Umana Umana. If he says it’s on the basis of campaigns, was Udom not campaigning right from the first day he came? Or is it because he drafted him to come and be the governor? And if you remember, as soon as Udom was sworn in as SSG, that same week, Global Concord reported that Udom is coming to be the governor of Akwa Ibom state by proxy through the instrumentality of Akpabio and Unoma; that was the first publication after he had been sworn in on the 31st of July 2014. So, there’s no basis to compare Umana Umana with Udom for whatever reason. And if you put Umana Umana with Udom side by side, you’ll see that there’s no basis. I’ve said that if it’s a job of Central Bank, I would have said Udom should go.

But the sentiments from Oruk Anam seem to favour Udom because of the wife...
Well, Jimmy Cliff said many years back ‘time will tell’. The voting will prove to us whether Oruk Anam will vote Udom or a credible candidate like Umana Umana.

But your party has already been raising alarm that PDP are trying to rig election through the buying of PVC and all that, what is your take on this?
You know those who have raised the alarm have been so close to the system and they know how the normally do the thing, that’s why they are raising alarm but we are not afraid of the other side of it because we are prepared for credible election and let me tell you that PDP is only existing by mouth not by people’s heart and that’s the honest truth. And people will use their voter cards to demonstrate the change and not continuity.

Ok, as of now, who is crying loud; is it the APC or PDP for the postponement of the election? It’s PDP. Nationally, you cannot compare Buhari with PDP. He’s a man that has been tested and has zero tolerance to idiotic things, corruption and the rest of the things and it is there in the record books. And he’s not a man who goes to public office for self-aggrandisement or looting. He wants to come truly to serve Nigeria and he had exhibited this character many years back, so people have confidence in him and that is why the entire country even outside the country are in support of Buhari and he’s going to win this election convincingly and clearly without any ambiguity.

What do you think is the missing link between the PDP led Government in Akwa Ibom and the people that APC is coming to link?
The missing link is that people are not involved in the choice of the candidates. It’s only one man and one family that are sitting down to write people’s name and saying that those are the candidates and that’s the difference between APC and PDP. APC went and elected all the candidates and that’s why you see total peace in APC as of now as a family because everybody was given equal opportunity but PDP, starting from governorship to the 26 members of the House of Assembly, the names were written by one individual and one family. It’s on record.

Some weeks back, the speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly declared the seats of your APC brothers vacant; this happened under the nose of one of your members’ who’s currently representing Uruan State Constituency and he did not oppose to it to show his disapproval and that gave credence to when the Speaker addressed the Press at NUJ press centre, that this thing was done and Kufre Etuk who was there did not oppose to it, why is the media crying more than the bereaved? Do you think the speaker was right in taking that decision because, he said that the action was necessitated by the party which gave them the platform to represent them? 

This is a constitutional issue. I think the supreme court has led that matter to rest so Kufre Etuk was right not to respond because he knew that it’s a job in total futility because if you remember, Obasanjo, then president of this country, when Atiku left to join ACN, he said that he was no longer the Vice president and he went to court and the supreme court told Obasanjo that Atiku is not his houseboy; you elected him but the country and the man  has fundamental human right to participate in any association he likes. As am talking to you now, Aminu Tambuwal who is the Speaker of House of Representatives is still the Speaker as well as the governorship candidate of the APC in Sokoto state, so the problem with Ikon is that he’s a fool because he doesn’t read and I don’t know whether he had gone to school at all. 

And if this is what he’s going to use to pacify the people of Etinan where he comes from because Ikon, to me, I was even looking for this opportunity to abuse him, he’s a fool—sitting down for eight years in the House of Assembly without attracting anything to Etinan and he’s the one approving the budget and what is the budget for? And now he says he wants to go to Federal House; to go and do what? So, he doesn’t read between the lines, he doesn’t read the constitution clause by clause or even the Electoral Act then he would have known that he has no right whatsoever to declare anybody’s seat vacant. So, what Kufre Etuk did was correct and if the press is crying, you are right to cry more than him because he depends on you people. He doesn’t need to come and shout because he knows that thing was irrational. As am talking to you now, I can tell you authoritatively that nobody can declare any body’s seat vacant and those people are still fully members of the House and they will stay in that House till the end. If it were easy and possible, Aminu Tambuwal would not be the Speaker of the Federal House today. In this country now, House of Representatives members, APC are more than PDP but initially it was PDP versus APC but today, APC are more tan PDP by crossing from one party to the other and still remain there so what is different from the state House of Assembly?  Sam Ikon doesn’t read his constitution and he doesn’t have advisers because if he has, he would have been properly advised but he’s still on the euphoria of being a houseboy for Akpabio because what Akpabio tells him is what he’ll do . Akpabio will lead him to Red sea and he will drown like Pharaoh and his people.

Let us look at Ikot Ekpene senatorial district where you have Chief Inibehe Okorie from APC and Barr Godswill Akpabio of the PDP and one General Umoh on another platform, people accuse Inibehe Okorie of not having the political will to stand to the end, do you share this position?

People can say anything about Inibehe but don’t forget that the system is very dynamic, it’s not static and Inibehe I know who is now an APC man and is contesting Senate seat for Ikot Ekpene senatorial district is very serious. And it’s not Inibehe himself alone that wants that seat, it’s the entire Ikot Ekpene senatorial district and they want Inibehe Okorie to be there not Akpabio because Akpabio has been a governor for eight years and has never done anything for Ikot Ekpene people except his family.

But there’s a hotel under construction in Ikot Ekpene... (Cuts in)

That Hotel belongs to him; if you like you believe if you dot like you forget about it; that Hotel and Tropicana which one should have been finished by now? But Tropicana has been abandoned. And if you go there, it’s a ghost area but that of Ikot Ekpene, he is working day and night because it belongs to him.

So, we know what he doesn’t know and the public too knows what Akpabio doesn’t belief we know that is why for him to even aspire to become a Senator angers every person from Ikot Ekpene Senatorial district because that is the attitude of somebody who is ungrateful to the people. When Akpabio wanted to go for Governorship, the idea was that we should allow Ini/Ikono to produce a senator so that he would be a governor of Akwa Ibom state so that he will help us particularly from Ikot Ekpene Senatorial district. In that Senatorial district, no single individual has ever gone twice but because of him, Aloysius Etok went twice as a senator. He has created that record that will be too difficult to break. Senator Aloysius Etok was allowed to go for second term so that Akpabio will be the governor for second term and in this 2015, definitely, it’s going to be Abak Federal Constituency and theyshouldl produce the next senator but Akpabio at the end of the day put himself forward to be the senator against the wish of the people.

So, Ikot Ekpene people have decided that Inibehe Okorie is the man they want and he’s going to win that election convincingly starting from Obot Akara, Ikot Ekpene, Essien Udim, Abak , Ika, Etim Ekpo, Ikono, Oruk Anam and Ukanafun. We are prepared to vote for Inibehe Okorie and nothing will stop those votes. Akpabio cannot think of being a senator before he knows what to do for Ikot Ekpene Senatorial district. How many people can eat in Ikot Ekpene apart from Akpabio’s family? There’s none. So, why should we be thanking you for coming back as a governor, go for senate? He’s not going. It’s Inibehe that is going because he is very serious as a senatorial candidate for APC and will win the election. Don’t mind what people are saying because everybody have made up their mind towards this election; this election will be one man, one vote. And it is after that that you’ll know that what a Goat sees to keep quiet is more than what a Hen sees to make noise.

Are you saying that Akpabio has not impacted positively on Ikot Ekpene senatorial district?

You have already said so, what do you want me to say?

Compare your time as a Commissioner and now that you are no longer there, what do you miss in Government?
I miss virtually nothing in Government because Government is service. The only thing I would have regretted missing is to serve my people rightly because when I see wrong and deceitful service to the people that’s what my regrets are. When you want to compare one thing to the other, it must be holistic—you compare the person, the qualification, the money and the length of time. 

Now, if you want compare today with the eight years of Obong Attah, how much money came in at that time as compared to the money Akpabio is collecting today? If somebody receives N 3 trillion, do you think it will do exactly the same thing as somebody who collected N 200 billion? I remember when we were in the cabinet; Obong Attah struggled to be collecting about N 200 million from the Federation account. The records are there. But when Akpabio assumed office and came with that mindset of deceit, the first statement he made to Akwa Ibom people was that he came to inherit empty treasury with a debt burden of well over N45 billion but on that day he made that statement, the Federation account cheque of April received in May was not touched by Obong Attah. It was N11 point something billion. You can verify what I’m saying. But he said that he inherited empty treasury. A cheque received and paid to Government treasury was 11. 6 billion and that goes to tell us that this young man came with a mindset to deceive Akwa Ibom people so that at the end nobody will blame him if he doesn’t do anything. 

He also came with another mindset. He wanted to get access to the power and the money and he has taken advantage of that. But it is said that ‘in all the causes of deaths, the one that somebody dies by drowning is the most dreaded.

Compare Attah’s relationship with his Commissioners and that of Akpabio and his Commissioners, do you have an idea with how he relates with them?

During the time of Obong Attah, we were working as a family but this one, from what I’ve heard from his commissioners whose names I won’t mention is a relationship between an Emperor and a houseboy because Akpabio looks at the Commissioners as his slaves because what I have heard from the Commissioners themselves is that during the time you want to take Memo to Akpabio to sign for you, you cannot just go and draw a seat and seat down and present the Memo, you have to kneel down and send him a Memo and not only that; you don’t even see Akpabio because he doesn’t attend EXCO meetings.

There’s one Commissioner I had been told in this state that his car got exhausted from the booth because of files and since he was appointed a Commissioner for nine months, Akpabio never signed one Memo for him and he removed him. His regime is selective because he only picks about one or two Commissioners to relate with him, the rest are just there as nominal. For instance, what does the Commissioner for Science and Technology do in Akwa Ibom state? That is why Iboro Ekanem was fed up and said “instead of sitting down as nonsense Commissioner, let me go and represent my people,’’ which he will not because he was the one who moved a motion that Aloysius Etok should be recalled and that’s why he was given that appointment because he was good in doing dirty jobs for a dirty Government.

What advice do you have for the people of Akwa Ibom state with elections around the corner?
 My advice is very simple. Election is two days away, and they should vote wisely so that we can rescue ourselves from this wicked government. 

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