Udom’s government is Akpabio’s third term in Akwa Ibom – Chief Nkpubre
Cases of decamping and cross carpeting among chieftains of major political parties are on the increase in Akwa Ibom State. In this interview, Chief Edet Nkpubre, a one-time South-South National Vice-Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), gave reasons for his recent defection to the All Progressive Congress (APC). Excerpts:
What is your experience in the APC after defecting from the PDP?
I am now a chieftain of the APC in Akwa Ibom state. I have resigned my membership of PDP at my ward level before the last election and my local government delivered APC in all the elections. PDP had played its part for 16 years and if Nigerians are to put them on a scale with what Buhari is doing these few days, I think the scale will tilt in favour of Buhari who is performing creditably within the very short period.
It is believed that politicians cross-carpet to other political parties when their personal interest is not served. Is that the case with you?
It is not about my personal interest. I have said it many times that I am an Oron man. I am fighting for the interest of my community. The then governor, Akpabio said that Ibibio has ruled and Annang has ruled and the next in line is Oron but he didn’t allow Oron people to even survive in the primary. He picked Udom from Zenith Bank, an Ibibio man. And by the arrangement of things, in the next sixty years, an Oron man would not be the governor of Akwa Ibom state. I am now with APC. After eight years, Oron people would have a chance to contest for governorship in Akwa Ibom state. That is why I am in APC because that is the party that cares for the interest of my people. I have to be in APC because that is the party that would stop the kind of impunity that we witnessed in Akwa Ibom, including gangsterism, killing and maiming of people in the past eight years. Let me emphasize once more that politics has never put food on my table. I left my profession and businesses to come into politics in 2008. Everybody here knows that I never benefited from a single contract from the Akwa Ibom state government.
You were one of those who didn’t support the candidacy of the incumbent governor. However, Akwa Ibom people are now saying he is performing, especially in the areas of industrialization and infrastructural development. Are you going to change your mind?
Udom has not done anything. He has no money to do anything. The debt profile in Akwa Ibom has overwhelmed him. He is one of the governors in Nigeria who has refused to declare what he took over from his predecessor in terms of assets and liabilities. I don’t see this government as Udom’s government. I see it as Akpabio’s third term. In appointment of commissioners, I see it as Akpabio’s third term; in his continuation of marginalizing Oron, I see it as Akpabio’s third term; in his programme for the entire Ibibios, I see it as Akpabio’s third term; in allowing ethnic disharmony, inequity and injustice, I see it as a continuation of Akpabio’s policy. He has not addressed anything as Udom; he is still addressing issues like Akpabio.
But the governor has attracted an automobile assembly industry to the state, re-activated some ailing industries, brought new industries, and constructed roads across the state and even in Oron where you come from. Are these not visible enough for everyone to see?
All the people are seeing and hearing are flag-offs and ground-breakings. There is nothing working in those places at the moment. After all, Akpabio did a ground-breaking ceremony at Ibaka Deep seaport in 2009? Where is it today? You see, these are shenanigans built around the politics of possible rerun of governorship election. They know there would be a rerun. This is a part of their campaign strategies for the anticipated rerun. They don’t have the resources to do anything. Akwa Ibom state is heavily indebted. Only fools would be deceived by such antics.
(Cuts in)….Please can you give a rough figure of the state’s indebtedness if it is true?
Banks debts and debts owed to contractors are to the tune of a trillion. That is why the man (Udom) has refused to declare the assets and liabilities of the state because it would be an embarrassment to his mentor, Godswill Akpabio.
Some Nigerians think that Buhari would not achieve much especially with his purported over concentration on fighting corruption, which is perceived also as witch-hunting of political enemies. What is your take on this?
Those complaining about Buhari are those who have skeletons in their cupboard; those are people who have looted this country with impunity. The man has not prosecuted anybody. What he is doing so far is investigation. The man has only set up a committee to advise on prosecution of corrupt officials. Buhari has brought dignity, orderliness and discipline back to the country. Even the security challenges we have are being confronted transparently and with strong military offensive. There is a change and so let’s support this positive change whether you are in the opposition or not. It is good for all of us Nigerians.