Dr Tom Fred Fish is the Head of Public Administration Department, Maurid Polytechnic, Nsit Ibom. He is a political communication strategist and a PDP Chieftain from Abak Local Government Area in Ikot Ekpene Senatorial district of Akwa Ibom State. In this interview with PAULINUS NTA, he speaks on why Senator Godswill Akpabio and the APC cannot win in Ikot Ekpene Senatorial district in the forth coming rerun.
Are you not bothered that with the voting strength of Essien Udim Local Government, the APC can torpedo your party in the forth coming rerun?
Let me start this way, Senator Godswill Akpabio is currently in the state of melancholy and the APC is an unpopular party, both in Essien Udim, in Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District and Akwa Ibom State. I don’t see any possibility of the party winning in my senatorial district. The people of Essien Udim will cast their votes for the umbrella which they know for decades now. The PDP has not disappointed Akwa Ibom people, so we cannot play with our destiny.
Agreed, Akpabio performed very well when he was in the PDP, even as a PDP senator, he was one of the leading voices in the Senate, but the moment he defected to the APC, the people of Ikot Ekpene senatorial district turned their back against him.
But by statistics, Essien Udim has the highest number of voting units, and politics is a game of number. Are you not bothered that some magic can change the game?
I thank God for INEC and the spirit of justice. By their fraudulent arrangement it is so, but I thank God that only accredited voters will vote. We will see how the magic will be done. I can assure you that it would be difficult for Senator Godswill Akpabio to win Senator Chris Ekpenyong in Ikot Ekpene senatorial district.
Analysts say Akpabio performed well as a governor. Are you now saying he is not competent again?
I must be categorical here, Senator Akpabio performed creditably well during his tenure as the governor, particularly in road infrastructure. You will agree with me that he initiated the Uyo-Ikot Ekpene, Abak-Etim Ekpo, Uyo-Ibesikpo and other major roads in the state. Akpabio did very well, I give it to him. But he missed the bus the moment he defected to the APC, a party that has no development plan for the state. The Godswill we see today is not the Godswill we know yesterday. The APC is an untrusted platform, therefore the people of Ikot Ekpene senatorial district, even his local government, Essien Udim, cannot gamble with their destiny. He cannot win election as a senator in APC, irrespective of what he did when he was the governor.
But the people of the Old Abak Division of the same senatorial district say his benevolence was restricted to his immediate state constituency. What’s your take on this?
I think those who say so must have their reasons and data. But I know that as a leader, especially a state governor, you can never satisfy everybody.
Don’t you think the federal might would be mightier than the state might?
They may decide to use the same old rhetorical tool to frighten and intimidate the electorate, especially the uninformed in the rural areas. There’s nothing they did not say. The “warsaw war”, the federal might, the federal fiat. None of them worked. None of them could suppress the voice and the opinion of the people. There’s always the God factor in all human affairs. Godswill Akpabio left the party that brought development and good governance to his kinsmen and larger Akwa Ibom state. When you change your political community, you change your political ideology. This is why people turned their back against him and this is why he lost the election.
How would you assess Udom’s performance in five years?
Udom Emmanuel is running a clear articulated and impactful administration. Evidences and available statistics show that this administration will turn the state economy around. When you evaluate the contributions of the Ibom Air, the agricultural revolution, the industries, the AKEES, the dakkada initiatives, the improved health sector, the road infrastructure and recently the new fly over at the Ikot Oku Ikono (Ekom Iman) junction and especially, the peace that has returned to the state and of course, the political stability that we are experiencing now, you will agree with me that Governor Udom Emmanuel has performed well.
Your parting words…
I believe in the politics of development. We should refrain from the pull-him-down syndrome. Let us support and encourage Governor Udom to achieve the Akwa Ibom of our dream. Rome was not built in a day. Akwa Ibom of our dream will not be built in a day, therefore, let us bury our differences and support the governor to take us to the desired destination.