‘Nobody can impose candidate on Akwa Ibom’
Former Akwa Ibom State Finance Commissioner Obong Bassey Akpan is a governorship aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He spoke with Kazeem Ibrahym in Uyo, the state capital, on his aspiration, zoning and other partisan issues.
Why are you running for the governorship when you are not favoured by zoning?
I want to say that I have consulted widely and am still consulting and I must say that, based on the collective feelings of the good people of Akwa Ibom State, there is a consensus that I should serve them in office as governor of the state. So far, I have visited about 24 local government areas and I would formally declare after covering the remaining seven councils. Power comes from God and He gives it to whoever He pleases. My prayer is that God should give us a governor who loves Akwa Ibom. Akpabio has done well; he is a good governor, but God should give us a better governor that will take the state to the next level. I am not going to be a governor by zoning, but I will be by Divine prophecy and if you feel that prophecy is not good or that it came from a false prophet, then I leave it to God to decide, because the Bible said that who is he that has spoken and it comes to pass when the Lord of Host has not commanded it. David in the Bible did not become a king by zoning, when God sent Prophet Samuel to go to the House of Jesse, God said I have found for my people a king in the House of Jesse. When Samuel got there, he thought it will be the first son which was zoning, Samuel thought it will be the second son and that was zoning and that applied to the third, while the Bible did not tell us what David’s position was, Samuel only asked if there was any one remaining and was told there was one in the bush taking care of the sheep and David became a king not by zoning, but by Divine prophecy.
Let me give you another instance. Solomon, who took over from David, did not become a king because of zoning; he was the tenth child of David who was born by a controversial woman. So, God can make something out of nothing. He said, that I choose to bless whom I choose to bless and I choose to hate whom I choose to hate. Esau did nothing wrong, but God said Esau I hate and Jacob I love. So, between Esau and Jacob is the play out of a programme that is Divinely orchestrated by God. I see my aspiration to become the Governor of Akwa Ibom State as the will of God. You may begin to wonder how I will do it, but I tell you I will do it through the support of the people of Akwa Ibom State and God in Heaven. Like I tell people, our Governor is a human being and he has the right to support whosoever pleases him. Don’t forget that Biblical Saul wanted his first son, Jonathan, to take over from Him, which was his right. But, God said it must be David. So, the governor has the right to support who he chooses to support and the governor has demonstrated this right through the Akwa Ibom Consolidation Alliance (ACA) that he is supporting his SSG, Mr. Udom Emmanuel as the next governor of the state. But, the people of the state are supporting my aspiration to lead them as governor through the instrumentality of Akwa Obong Abasi 2015. I leave my fate in the hands of the Akwa Ibom people come May 29, 2015.
Why were you dropped from the State Executive Council by Governor Akpabio?
My removal or sack from office is as a result of my interest in becoming the Governor of Akwa Ibom State based on the popular demand of the people of the state. I saw my sack as a step forward to pursue higher goals in life. That was why when the governor gave me my sack letter, he wished me well in my future endeavours.
I am happy because my modest contributions to the administration of Governor Godswill Akpabio are well noted. But since I left government over four months ago, I have been waxing stronger by the day.
As an aspirant, what is your pedigree?
I graduated from the University of Uyo with a very good Second Class Upper Division; I narrowly missed First Class and I have worked in the bank for about 11 years. I left the bank as a vice president in 2007 to serve the people of Akwa Ibom State as the Commissioner for Finance. I have an MBA from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. I have had 18 years cognate experience. My service to the state as commissioner for finance for seven years without any blemish and with accolades, especially from my Governor that I am one of his best commissioners, makes me feel satisfied.
But, what is more interesting is that Governor Akpabio served Obong Victor Attah as a commissioner for seven years and I also served him for seven years as a commissioner. Governor Akpabio once said that the only person in his cabinet that acts like him, dress like him, talks like him and gives like him is his former commissioner of finance (myself). I believe those are words of a king and it has its own powers.
So, having served for seven years with my own contributions towards uncommon transformations, I am in a vintage position to understand the dynamics and workings of the government. I am in the position to understand what happened in the last seven years in all facets of the state economy. I was also in the position to understand the vision for the greater Akwa Ibom State. So, I think that I am best positioned to take over from Akpabio by the special grace of God. Akpabio, who also served Attah, took over from him, notwithstanding the fact that Attah had his own candidate. So, I have the vision, charisma, exposure and experience to be the next governor of Akwa Ibom State and in all of these I still believe that God has the final say in the affairs of men.
If you fail to get the ticket, would you accept to become the deputy governor or the SSG?
For me, I don’t think there is a better aspirant that will defeat me at the primaries. I am very confident and I am contesting the office of the governor and nothing else. You must have heard that I am very stubborn; that I was offered ministerial and senatorial positions and I refused, and that I was asked to become the next SSG, but I also refused. I asked my people what they want me to become and they said the Governor. So, I know that power belongs to the people and I am happy that I enjoy the collective acceptance of the people of Akwa Ibom State. The choice of who becomes governor lies with people who should be allowed to do so through their mandate.
And I pray that God will give us the governor who will show love to the people of the state. In 2007 notwithstanding that the former governor supported his son in-law to become the governor, the people preferred Godswill Akpabio.
Some people are saying that you are backing former Secretary to Government Umana Umana for the governorship?
I have received several text messages on that matter and I believe that there is no ambition that is bigger than the collective interest of the people. Umana and I are brothers. But, we see ourselves contesting same position in government. My presence at Umana’s birthday was a pointer to the fact that, no matter the political arena you found yourselves, you must always be your brother’s keeper. Everybody can contest the governorship, but we will have only one governor.
I will work with Umana Okon Umana so that Uyo Senatorial District can produce the governor. At that point I was referring to the interest of Uyo Senatorial District. Now, if you have it within Uyo Senatorial District and you have Umana and myself, the question will be who is the best? The answer is that late Obong Akpan Isemin, First Civilian Governor of the state is from Etinan Federal Constituency like Umana, former military governor Otuekong Idongesit Nkanga is also from Etinan Federal Constituency like Umana while Uyo federal constituency produced Obong Victor Attah, so which federal constituency is remaining to produce a governor, it is my Itu/Ibiono federal constituency in fairness and equity.
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