Tuesday 6 August 2013

Eket Senatorial District is not serious about 2015 guber - Udoedehe

Controversial Uyo born politician, Senator John James Akpanudoedehe in this recent interview bares his mind on the 2015 gubernatorial election, zoning, and his party APC. The read the full interview after the cut…

You have been away for some time; how has it been?
I was constrained by the court bail condition given to me. That is what people don’t understand. Our people have a saying that you can only lay on the back of a dead ca. when you go everywhere and talk, people who are trying to foment trouble will say you are the one and then they will cancel your bail and put me in the prison. That doesn’t make me a brave man. A dead lion cannot be compared with a live cat.  You simply obey the condition. I am a leading opposition figure in the state, keeping quiet doesn’t mean that I am taking sides with the government.
Don’t you think your supporters may abandon you as a result of your posture?
Our supporters are not leaving us. It is the propaganda of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to lure them to its side. They should know more than that. Did I abandon them? Abandonment means that we did not pursue the tribunal case to logical conclusion which was my legal right. I went to Supreme Court twice. I don’t want to talk about the case but I will say I have enjoyed the righteousness of the judiciary. I am not going to say anything about an institution which I have so much respect for.
I understand what it means to leave PDP. I abandoned my business, I could not be patronized in what I do. I had no patronage.
Let me give you a story, my running mate during the 2011 election, Chief Ime Umanah is in court today because of a text message. He hasn’t gotten out of it. Now, if you rob anybody or you kidnap someone and that kidnapper is arranged to implicate me; if I am the last person you called and you drop that phone and when police asked what was the last number he called and it was traceable to me, that is trouble for me. It is only a fool that will not understand some of those things. You must understand your enemies and understand how far they can go.
Is it not clear what is going on at the NGF, where lower vote defeated a higher vote? Have we not seen the situation in  Rivers State where five is greater than 27? Is it not clear that tehse people are doing this with impunity? If you think you are surviving because of the rule of law, who will save you? If Akwa Ibom people understand what I have given up to speak on their behalf, they will be thanking God.
Even a lot of PDP people come and lobby me to speak so that Akpabio will bring to the PDP people.
Even in the face of all these, you seem to control a whole lot of followers; what is responsible for this?
When I used to mind my business, mind my money, nobody will care because your prosperity is not affecting them. The same people that hated you, when you turn and speak on their behalf, they will like you. To the glory of God, it is not magic. It is just that you have decided to give eyes to those who don’t have eyes. You have decided to give voice for those who don’t have voice. You have decided to be that leader, to fill the gap for those who don’t have the ability.
I am pleased with my life. I stand for what I believe in. if you have hope of eternity, you shouldn’t be afraid of this life. It depends on the level of spirituality you have with your God. For instance, when they put me in Uyo prison, they were trying to take me to Enugu that night. What shocked the people that came was that when they came I was sleeping. They don’t understand why I was sleeping. They thought that I wont be able to sleep. I don’t bother because the message is very clear at that particular point in time because I have word of God that will keep me. When I was in detention, it really devastated wife. She was totally shattered.
How would you assess the development plan of Akpabio’s government?
Akpabio’s government is a complete failure. Development is not based on media hype. The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) had set out indices that can determine development. Poor sanitary condition must improve, access to water must improve and access to other life changing facilities must improve but it is unfortunate we have not been able to meet up with some of these things. You said you are developing a state while you are running on generator at night. When people come, you do a guided tour to show them. You keep advertising a particular thing all over again with nothing else to show.
What is your position on the zoning of governorship seat in 2015?
Zoning is a very convenient political arrangement. They are trying to bring in their own so that the status quo will continue. We need to be liberated so that we don’t slaughter the freedom of the state on the altar of zoning. Don’t quote me wrong. I support fairness, I am not for zoning.
As we speak, everybody who wants to run for this office believes in anointing. They are not people friendly. You need to have a message that will sell you to the people. There is something that is wrong; our people are living under a certain spell. Why would you have people being frightened to their marrow? Democracy is freedom.
In a normal political situation, there is nothing wrong with zoning. The question is, are they going to be fair in their zoning? For instance, if they are fair, they should narrow it down to ethnic group. But they won’t do that.
In 2015, what the people of Akwa Ibom need is  a message that will give hope, a message that will bring back the state from the hands of despots. Was I not one of those who came and actualized the dream? Governor Godswill Akpabio was the least among the people that came from Annang to contest the governorship seat but just because they called him names, I was angry because God created everybody but calling people names doesn’t make sense.
So here we are today, all those people who are clapping for Akpabio today, what did they do that I did not do for Akpabio? The same man who made a law to imprison me. You can be happy today because you are eating prawns; what about your children? We don’t do things for the future, people only think about the present situation.
Are you satisfied with the state government’s efforts toward poverty reduction?
It is sad that we have people in this state who  are smiling while suffering. For instance, last month, we got from the Federation Account almost N70billion, excluding Internally Generated Revenue. If you have people who believe in anything goes, where there is no intellectual component to propel the future and someone is deceiving you and you are still believing him, then something is wrong. Do I need to look for two people to believe the way I think? No, it is not always a lot of people who believe in something. It only takes one person to change a society. It is a terrible situation we are facing here in Akwa Ibom.
You cannot cry more than the bereaved. If people are suffering and smiling, and I am telling them you are suffering and they said ‘no’, so what do I do? There are those who come to tell me things are difficult. When they come here, they tell me you are not giving us money. I am not a commissioner and not a contractor here in Akwa Ibom State.
How prepared is APC towards 2015 in Akwa Ibom State?
We are building a platform. That is what we are doing. We need a strong party. we need people who believe in progressive arrangement; an ideology that will bring in a better future because party is a vehicle and you need to build a structure.
Are you saying APC would not allow PDP castaways?
By the time they come, we must have finished our structure. We are willing to take everybody but you must not come after the deadline. If you come in from PDP, that means you still have your structure in PDP. What we want is for people to believe in the ideology of the progressives.
Are you saying that money received by Akpabio’s government since inception is not commensurate with the level of development in the state?
Don’t even use commensurate. What he has done is like that of a local government chairman when compared with the money he has collected so far. What he is celebrating can be likened to the  performance of a local government chairman. It is only a local government chairman that will build a healthcare centre and commission it. When I was a Minister of State for Federal Capital Territory, it was mandatory as a policy to build healthcare centre in each of the wards to be closer to the people based on the indices/criteria of development. Education must be given to everybody not the type in Akwa Ibom State. It is not just going to paint classrooms on the street and call that free education.
Next year, we will engage him. This is why I don’t like giving interview. I am just giving you an idea. If we engage him now, it will turn to propaganda. There will be a time he won’t be able to defend himself again. That is why I am keeping quiet.
So will you be vying for governorship in 2015 considering the fact that you are from Uyo Senatorial District and the people are agitating for zoning of the governorship seat to Eket?
I am waiting for them. Eket Senatorial District people are sleeping. Is it not shameful that some of them from Oron are going to collect money? Is that a serious set of people? They better get money now than to sacrifice the governorship seat. Do they expect me to fight for them? We need people who will redeem Akwa Ibom because it has been sold out. We need to redeem it first. Somebody can come from Eket or anywhere who has the message and ability. If you are not ready to die, you don’t come and struggle for the governorship position. It is a wrong timing for zoning. Even with courage, there is a little element of fear.

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