July 19, 2024

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Akpabio Will Fail Senate Election With Distinction -Assam Assam

9 min read


Even though Senator Akpabio is still battling with the ticket of the APC for next month’s election, his chances of winning the senate election for Ikot Ekpene Senatorial seat is slim, so says his former attorney-general and commissioner for justice, Ambassador Assam Assam. 


Assam, who is currently the Director-General of the Umo Eno Campaign Organisation told TNN in this interview that the former governor is no more a factor in the politics of the state, since the day he left the PDP. He also spoke on the plans of the PDP gubernatorial candidate for the state, if he emerges governor.



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Let’s start with Umo Eno’s plans for Akwa Ibom, in the event that he becomes the governor. What would his legacy projects be?


Well, his legacy projects are based primarily on his ARISE agenda. This is the manifesto of the candidate, the social contract between him and the people, if he wins the election, and it is on these issues that he is campaigning.


He is campaigning first on agriculture, as the mainstay of the economy, getting people back to work through farming, commercial and industrial farming. The commercial farming is to the extent the raw materials will be produced in large quantity and food will also be produced in large quantity, then the industrial farming is raising of such crops and turning them into products, without having to go through the process of selling them raw the way it is, like in palm oil, like in coconut, like in cocoa and coffee, which are part of it. The ARISE agenda in agriculture provides a multiple solution to unemployment, primarily because of the nature of the programme. The nature of the programme is such that there will be agriculture hubs all through the state. Let us take cocoa for instance. We’re looking at a situation where people will be encouraged to have small holdings, perhaps 10, 15 hectares, 20 hectares and so on, within a local community and there will be a hub for cocoa in that area like in the local government where cocoa grows naturally. So, government will encourage the setting up of a processing plants to receive all the coca produced, the processing will be complete to actual food on the table.


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We intend to look at the invitation to some investors who will be interested in setting up plants for the processing of cocoa into all the various things; ice creams, chocolate, whatever, ice creams, cocoa drinks and so on and so forth.

Same thing with oil palm, same thing with coffee, same thing with coconut or coconut coffee processing. Luckily for us, we have a big coconut processing plant, I can turn palm nut into oil, palm nut oil, which is even more expensive than even the palm oil itself.

In education, he intends to set up model secondary schools, to raise the bar of secondary education in the state. We know that in order to have proper materials to enter secondary schools, we need to upgrade our primary schools. He intends to do that by the training of our local teachers, enhancing the facilities in the primary schools. But the most important thing is the secondary school project. He intends to set up model schools in each of the federal constituencies. These model schools will be established fresh, not on any existing structure. It will be located anywhere there is land, there will be no politics about it. The idea is to have schools that are reminiscence of the old times where all children are boarding and the classrooms are compliant with the millennium goals, 25 children per class, and quality laboratories; the children live within the premises, the teachers live within the premises. There are facilities within the hostels that hostel masters have to stay to ensure that the children are well cared for. But in addition to all these, there will be an extended curriculum, to enable children take external examinations. They can take GCE of London, they can take any examinations in America and so on and so forth, normal part of examinations for the school. But most of all, there will be workshops in addition to laboratories, every class, every child will have a computerized learning process, every child, it’s mandatory, that in those schools every child sits on a computer in the classroom, you take your notes by the computer. That is, as the teacher is teaching, if you are writing your notes, you are using the computer.



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And all these will only become possible if he wins. There is a very serious threat from OBA.

Well, I don’t know about threats, threats sounds to me like the inappropriate word, you could say there is competition. I will not look at it as a threat because anybody else is entitled to contest election and you must contest election against somebody and we are not contesting the election against a ghost, or (laughs). We have to contest against somebody. We are not contesting election against ourselves, so we have to contest election against some other persons. But I cannot say we are facing that stiff competition at this moment. I will rather say that there is a group of PDP people who will rather go with other people rather than ourselves. But I can assure you that that doesn’t pose any kind of threat to our campaigns or to our elections.


So OBA is not a threat?

I am not looking at Senator Albert alone, I am looking at all other candidates of other political parties, they will not threaten the election, they will not threaten the candidature or the success of our elections, they certainly will not.


Well, if the pictures we are seeing or things we are hearing are to be relied on, I think people believe that OBA is the one person who will be able to ruffle the feathers of the PDP.

We will rather not look at ruffling the feathers or causing confusion, we are rather looking at the issues, who can challenge Pastor Imoh Eno, as to the programmes he has on the tabl?, I’ve just told you part of it. This election is about issues. I do not think that any particular candidate wants to cause confusion in the PDP, no. Every other candidate has a right to contest, his business is to win election, it’s not to cause confusion in another person’s camp and because our own mantra is we rather contest election on issues, we rather not worry about what other people are doing. It doesn’t matter that those people may have intention of causing confusion, and believe me, I can tell you one thing, as at this point, nobody wants to cause confusion in anybody’s camp. What they want to do is keep their own camp because everybody needs to have peace in his own camp.


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People have said Oba was sent to jail or the process of being sent to jail was hastened by the governor because the PDP saw him as a threat.

Look, let me tell you something, in Nigeria, people say all sorts of things about leaders. I would have asked you, so looking at the facts of this case as they were unfolding, what do you think? Do you think that it was the governor who created this scenario? You will tell me no. I will tell you one thing, the governor has absolutely nothing to do with the trial of Senator Albert. If anything, the one thing that the governor that I know would rather not do is to try to incriminate anybody at all. Senator Albert contested the primaries, applied to contest primaries in PDP and left the party and so to contest in YPP and to that extent, he has galvanised as many people as he wants to contest election and in our own view, I personally, I believe Senator Albert has a right to contest election in any manner or form that he wants, I hope you understand?


But whether it was Udom Emmanuel who sent him to prison, I tell you no. Governor Udom Emmanuel does not send anybody to prison, he would not have done a thing like that. By what means will he send him to prison? He was not a witness in the court, he was not the complainant in the case, he was not a member of the judicial panel. In fact, all through the trial, I never heard that it was governor Emmanuel who was responsible for Senator Albert’s trial, much less talk about incarceration. But having said that, there is something we must know about the politics in Akwa Ibom, there is always an issue of scapegoatism; everybody finds reasons to quarrel the next man because you believe that he is responsible for your problem. But I don’t even think that this comes from Senator Albert himself. Followers can say anything they like, but Senator Albert is himself a politician. He knows the effect of making statements like that and of course he is a responsible person. He certainly will not say Governor Emmanuel had sent him to prison. He will not say so.

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Okay, let’s round off with the threat from Akan Okon. The pending matter in the Appeal Court, judgment is coming very soon, there’s the OBA angle that we talked about before, the APC and Akpabio perspective is also there. Which one really worries your campaign organization the most?

None. I am the director- general of the campaign; we don’t find these things, anything to worry about; that is why we don’t even talk about them. You will never hear us talk about these things in our campaign because they don’t bother us. What do you think should bother us? YPP is a splinter group of PDP; it cannot be the leading group. Akan Okon’s case, he lost the case from the day he filed it; I don’t think there is a candidate in APC yet, so why should anything like that bother anybody?

And the Akpabio factor?

Akpabio has no factor, if Akpabio contests in general elections in Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District, he is going to lose and he is going to lose election with distinction this time, I can assure you.

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Akpabio is no longer a factor in Akwa Ibom politics?

He has never been, ever since he left PDP. Everything Akpabio achieved as a politician, he achieved it under PDP. He was minister of Niger Delta, tell me one thing he did in Akwa Ibom, not even the road in Ika which NDDC had awarded. He couldn’t do the road, the road was awarded in the PDP days as president, after that he became Niger Delta minister, the road has not been done till today as we speak, but it was under his portfolio, and it is in the heartland of Annang land, and that road comes from Ika to his local government. So, what will Godswill be campaigning on? Campaigning on the fact that the people of Southern Annang are not entitled to go to senate, that he can finish eight years as governor and go for senate for four years, and Chris Ekpenyong goes to senate for four years from his federal constituency? Before then, there was senator Ibok Essien who came from that same federal constituency and none in 60 years have come from the Abak area and then somebody says no, no, no, Godswill must go back. The Abak people are not interested in that kind of politics; they won’t ruin the relationship of the brotherhood they have in Annang land just because of Godswill Akpabio. There is nothing like that. I can tell you that he will lose election like mad, everybody who was working for him left, some left with Bassey Albert, some came back to PDP. Who is going to support him? So why does anybody think that Godswill is a factor in our politics?

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