A few weeks ago, we ran an exclusive report on the underground moves by Ntufam Daniel Asuquo(Dansuki), the House of Representatives member from Akamkpa/Biase Federal Constituency, to grab the senate ticket already given to Mr Asuquo Ekpenyong, Jnr. If that had happened, Ekpenyong would have defected to the APC. But he has finally defected to the Labour Party where he hopes to get the senate ticket of the party to contest the Cross River South senate seat.
His campaign director-general, Yibali Inyang spoke with on why the lawmaker had to leave the PDP, after he could not secure the party’s ticket for the governorship seat.
Can you speak officially on why your principal, Daniel Asuquo has moved to Labour?
First of all, as a man who is principled and have conscience, first, why he left PDP, he cannot be in a party where people had jettisoned distribution and rotation of political positions. People are not given room for fairness, equity, in terms of political distribution of offices. That is why he, on his own, having stood on the ground that power was supposed to be meant to the South, will not have the justification to still remain in PDP that refused to give power to the south and secondly, inability of even the APC and PDP to recognize Akamkpa/Biase as part of the southern senatorial district, that power needed to be given to, but rather APC gave governorship and senate to the same Odukpani , PDP gave senate and deputy governor to the same Efik speaking, abandoning Biase and Akamkpa. These are the reasons why he took to Labour, so that he can listen to the yearning of his people and that marginalization.
There were speculations that he was in talks with APC and there were plans to give him the APC senatorial ticket, so what went wrong?
You know this man, the person in question, ASUQUO EKPENYONG(the PDP senatorial candidate) and the father refused(to withdraw for Dansuki to take the ticket) and the governor was helpless. He doesn’t know what to do and there is no way if a person doesn’t consent to it, the thing will work. Moreover, Donald(Duke) was using his position as their in-law to tell them not to accept(the proposal for Ekpenyong to withdraw for Dansuki).
There is no Labour Party in Cross River, so how will that work out for him?
If you do the philosophy of the Labour Party presidential candidate, you will know that it’s a party built on the people, not structure and there is DAN, DANIEL ASUQUO, DANSUKI, he is a grass rooter, he is a known face, he can within seven months galvanize the RESOURCES behind him especially because his ambition is coming from the marginalized AKAMKPA and BIASE, they are willing to give him support, to get a victory. He is not running for governor, so south first, the succession is not yet over, we are still waiting maybe governorship will come, we don’t know yet.
Okay, is it that he is looking for either governorship or senate under Labour?
Labour is senate, like I said, it’s senate.
So, that means Labour is not going to sponsor any governorship candidate?
Nobody yet has come out, it was him they were asking and he said he won’t be part of this thing that will divide the only people who are coming in from the south, if anybody no matter the person that is coming in from the south, it will be good for him, anybody that is coming from the South, whether from any party, it mustn’t be him, he will support that person for the interest of the south.
So, what it means is that for governorship, he still believes that the governor must come from the south and he will also work to make sure the governor comes from the south?
Okay, when the PDP candidate; Senator Sandy Onor emerged, he wrote and congratulated him.
So, what happened between then and when he left PDP?
Yeah! Because you have a party where one of the driving forces of the party is the state chairman, and some other senators and all that, and Sandy was just a mere figure head because of his victory.
When he looked at all this and discovered that most of them are not too comfortable, they are not compatible with him, and they are not too comfortable with him, and I think just because for the fact that he was not even given that kind of recognition, you don’t win election and you refuse to go to see those who contested against you, that you defeated, until after people spoke to him then he now came and when he came, nothing tangible on the table, just work with me. At this level, with all the people supporting him, just like you are not wanted, you know that their age long face-off with Donald, Donald made some comments saying that he will never want anything that will come to Dan Asuquo, they want to retire him, even when they were suggesting deputy governor, Donald kicked against it, some of them kicked against it all that gave him ability to quickly resolve the grievances that came up from the primaries, from the party chairman, ability to show leadership in all the situation rather going to Facebook responding to everybody and attacking people. It’s a very good minus for the hegemony of that party. So no spirited effort to bring all those that participated in this thing together and take a decision, and so that they can feel, to have a sense of belonging or have some recognition and a sense of belonging. Is it when they will fight how you win that you will notice them? And those are all the things. Sandy didn’t show that sportsmanship and the state chairman is even the worse; he is busy making comments on Facebook, against people that were defeated, instead of constituting a reconciliatory committee and going round the people to sit down.
You talked about a suggestion that he would have been that is running mate to Senator Sandy Onor.
But, don’t you think that would have been Ejagham/Ejagham ticket?
It won’t cause anything. In fact, Ejagham/Ejagham ticket will give you two local governments in the south, is it not better? Ejagham has one of the largest populations in the south, you should now get an Ejagham three local government, Calabar Municipality, Akpamkpa and Biase. What is all about election is victory, especially when in a competitive situation. You are aware that the APC is doing Muslim-Muslim ticket. Nothing will happen, it is about your strategy and formula to win the election, that is key.
So, as it stands now, he will be engaging himself in the process of building Labour Party, for him to be able to have a good standing when the election comes. Don’t you think it’s going to affect his chances?
Of course, if you follow up his politics, he has never gone out, his politics was not made of former this, former that, it was made up of the people in the field. He is so passionate about the people and the current election, this democracy you will be shocked that it will be that if you have the people, even if you don’t have structures, you can win your election because the people are the key. And Labour Party like, if it’s even a general thing with Labour Party, Obi has no structure, this structures are students who are left out of school, his structures are unemployed, his structures are Labour people who they have not paid, pensioners and Nigerians who are facing hardship. Which other structures do you need? We have used structures and nothing comes out better, structures or no structure, whoever has PVC can always go and vote, and it’s not as if we are strangers, we are taking Labour Party to Akwa Ibom, we are taking it in our neighbourhood, so most of our people are decamping back to Labour, why some are there campaigning for us, it’s all about who the person is, no more structures or whatever.
I read somewhere on social media, where it was said that the PDP candidate reached out to Gershom Bassey, reached out to Dansuki and that they were talking and they kept talking, sometimes they were having midnight meetings and all of that. How do you reconcile what you said with these?
Yes, that was an afterthought. When Atiku won primaries, when Tinubu won primaries, the next day he was in the house of Wike, he was in the house of Bukola, were you not aware? The PDP candidate did not reach out to our followers.
Sandy could not even do that on his own and even when he was coming, people will tell us they have spoken to him so they will bring him, somebody will bring him and he will come, he won’t make any committal statement. Politics is interest, what is the interest, a man who has spent almost N500 million in primaries and then you are coming to talk to him with nothing on the table, it seems you are just playing games with him.
So what would have been his least expectation from the PDP candidate or from the PDP?
To show friendship, to show commitment that they can always be part of his government when he gets into power, but that was lacking. Comments were not pleasant from his own people and some other people, we have retired Dansuki, we have finished with him, all those comments and all that.