July 19, 2024

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Udom Should Be Ready To Face The Law When He Leaves Office -Ekefre, Ex PDP Chieftain

9 min read

 

 

 

Elder Enefiok Ekefre, a former chieftain of the PDP in Akwa Ibom State, is now in full support of the YPP governorship candidate in the state, Senator Bassey Albert Akpan, the man that was jailed recently by a federal high court in Uyo. 

 

In this interview with TNN, Ekefre speaks on OBA’s fate, how he will win the gubernatorial election from prison and why others in the present government in the state should be made to answer questions for receiving gifts while in office.

 

Excerpts:

 

As Another Christmas Season Beckons

 

 

The governorship candidate of the YPP, OBA, is in jail as we speak. How does it affect the governorship campaign project?
Well, to me, Bassey Albert is just a driver of the movement, it’s not just YPP. YPP is now a movement because everybody in this state is all out to do the needful, to see that they chase out poverty, hardship and some of the policies of the present administration that people don’t like.

 

And also for your information, the YPP governorship candidate is undergoing a process of appeal, and in this country, for the first time in the history of Nigeria, I’m not a lawyer, but I need to know, maybe you have more facts or the masses will react to what I am going to say.

 

If you buy anything from a criminal, somebody is alleged to have stolen something and sold to you, I think the law will catch up with the receiver and also the criminal. But there is a situation that somebody said somebody gave to Bassey when Bassey was no more a public officer and the same court refused to arrest and charge Jide Omokere side-by-side with the man, it is unheard of in the history of judicial interpretation in this country. That’s one.

 

Secondly, I hope the present system headed by Udom Emmanuel is not unmindful of what is happening because it’s an open system. Emem Akpabio openly confessed that when Udom Emmanuel contested the governorship of Akwa Ibom State, as the executive governor(at that time), he donated 50 buses to him(Udom) as a public officer and he collected it. That means that we have more and more receivers of gifts who are supposed to be in prison and we don’t care. That’s my observation. Because Akpabio is alive, he said ‘I donated 50 Buses to Udom Emmanuel when he was contesting the governorship of this state, as a secretary to the government.’

 

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That’s talking about Emem Akpabio?
Yes of course.

 

So now, it means that as a public officer, he was still in office. But the case of Bassey was when the bus was given to Bassey, he was no more a public officer. So, that is a lacuna, I need to be corrected.
I need to know whether it was right or wrong for the governor, then, as a secretary to the state government to receive 50 buses from Emem Akpabio. So he is also a suspect because to receive a gift from somebody is now a crime, and his own case is quite different; he was still in public office, but Bassey’s own, he was no more a commissioner.

 

 

You are alleging that the governor is a recipient of a stolen property?
Of course yes, quote me. I’m not saying so because the case is that Bassey received a gift, they did not say Bassey stole anything, they said he received a gift, a car gift from Jide Omakere. When Bassey received that thing, he was no more a commissioner. When he contested the governorship, he resigned, he was no more a commissioner and the tittle of the entire car was on somebody else’s name and now they said noo, how can you receive bla bla bla, but this one was a secretary to government, he was contesting the governorship of Akwa Ibom State in office and he received 50 cars.

 

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In other words, Udom is equally guilty?
I’m not saying that until when the same court would determine whether the law is selective or not.

 

Yeah, but that is what you are inferring; you are inferring that Udom, having received those gifts, is equally guilty?
For your information, you are a journalist. I’m not saying, I’m not a judge. In this country, because the rascality of certain behaviour of some people, I’m trying to add, because the law says it’s a respecter of nobody and it’s not selective; if the man that donated 50 cars is alive, he is from Ukana, he is from Akwa Ibom, If he said I donated 50 buses to you when you contested the governorship and the other person received a gift from a friend, Jide Omakere and they said that he was wrong to receive; now, I’m saying, that means that Udom is a potential candidate for prison when he leaves the office. That time immunity will not be there.

 

It’s becoming interesting. So how is the campaign for OBA going?
Drastically, we are moving. Today, I was campaigning from unit to unit, from village to village. It’s no more a case of YPP. YPP is a way of life here, YPP is against injustice, against poverty, against embezzlement of public funds, abuse of public trust. For your information, the other day my friend my brother, my former governor, Akpabio was on the news, he was challenging everybody that the governor should name and people of Uyo, should name any significant project, any new thing in Uyo, after he left the office. There is nothing there, we only have industries in the newspaper, we have in the television, we have on the social media.

 

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It’s a bit shocking, we have seen Ibom Air, we’ve seen the new international wing of the Akwa Ibom Airport, we’ve seen new roads, we have seen many other projects that were recently commissioned in the state. So, it’s shocking that you are saying, there’s nothing happening in Uyo after Akpabio
Is the road construction an innovation? It’s not. It’s a social contract. I’m asking you, your experience as a journalist, is the road construction an innovation? It’s not! Ibom Air, what is the equity interest of Akwa Ibom State? Who and who are the directors? What is Akwa Ibom State equity interest in Ibom Air? I challenge you, through this, to publish and ask the governor to publish the purchasing agreement between Ibom Air and the Booeing of America. All the planes you have there is on lease, I’m knowledgeable enough that when you lease, it’s like taking a car and lease to somebody, it’s your property somebody else owns the title. I leased some cars to a company some years back, I have a driver, the only thing they do, they use the car for their transaction, but the ownership, the driver, everything is mine. So, is that the kind of airlines we are talking about? That is why we say the governor must come clean.

 

 

But, would it be right to say that you are speaking like this because you are angry with the governor?
I am not angry. I am entitled to it because I am a citizen. The money is not belonging to the Akwa Ibom State governor, for your information. Let me enlighten you and tell you more; the money coming to this state, talk about the population, in 1993 I was counted, the money does not belong to the governor, the governor is holding the position in trust, he is managing my money. I need to know how my money is managed. You are talking about angry, am I not entitled as a shareholder of Akwa Ibom project to ask about my money?

 

 

What it means is that, if YPP gets to win the 2023 election, the governor may have to be held accountable, or may be called to account for the resources of Akwa Ibom State.
For your information, it’s not about YPP, it’s a constitution matter. The constitution says that you can be asked to come back even though out of office, to come and give account of your services when you were in office. That’s the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. You go back and read because it’s not YPP arrangement. YPP is complaining, I myself I’m complaining, or I’m trying to enforce Nigerian constitution, so it’s my right to enforce the constitution.

 

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Have you had cause to doubt that the governor is not saying the truth about…?
(Cuts in) He is not a truthful person, he has never been honest one day, I have worked with him as an adviser. I know he is one of the most deceitful public officers we have ever produced. He comes from a very useless pedigree.

 

 

Why do you think so?
Of course he…

 

(Cuts in) That is a very heavy allegation. I know him to be a man of honour
I may know so many things, say I said so. I was part of him, he is very deceitful, take for example most of the jobs, the road is not about the high way and all of that, get into the internal, find out, are there people there, are they citizens of the country? What is the innovation, what is the yardstick of leasing a place like the hotel here on a 50-year lease to a particular person? Is that not a monopoly?

 

Which hotel?
Ibom hotel and resort, are you not aware?

 

As Another Christmas Season Beckons

Okay, Le’ Meridien?
It’s on lease. And for you to lease an institution like that from a corporate practice, you need to publish and call for interest groups to tender, ask Udom to tell you, when he made a publication to lease that place.

 

Let’s look at the chances of the YPP, as against the chances of the PDP. PDP is very strong in the state, it has been in government since 1999 and people like you were in the PDP. Now there is a YPP, whose governorship candidate is not even in circulation; he is in jail. What magic would YPP perform to be able to take?
(Cuts in) People have moved away. Take for example, you can and tell you that I was one of the founders of the PDP, I am not just a joiner, if you check the record, go to the national secretariat, my name is there as one of the founders of the PDP.

 

The party deviated from the intentions and the policies of our party, the manifesto and everything; they dabbled into vote buying, there were impositions, a lot of things; there is nothing like democratic content in my former party PDP. So for that reason, the masses have moved on and I tell you, no party is popular when the citizens are not happy. So PDP is not a force to reckon with and if they are talking about being popular, being in government and so on, I tell you what, comparative analysis is open for you as a journalist. The peoples power is superior to the so-called oligarchies who are controlling certain group of people with state resources, because Akwa Ibom people are all out to chase the evil government out of power, because poverty is not a good project. They use poverty as instrument of state. Now people have decided even with the poverty, that they will chase them out, that is one. Secondly, to enlighten you more, in this country are you not aware, that Omisere won election from prison? Are you not aware? Are you not aware Theodore Orji, the former governor who is now a senator won from detention, a former governor of Abia? I can go on and on.

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