2023: If we are united APC can win in Akwa Ibom
Akwa Ibom State All Progressives Congress (APC) stalwart, Mr Peter Ettah shared with ADAMU ABUH his thought on how the party can win the governorship election in 2023 and why power must rotate between Northern and Southern Nigeria.
What is your take on the internal crisis rocking APC in Akwa Ibom State?
THERE is no serious internal crisis rocking APC in Akwa Ibom State as being speculated by local media and some politicians in the state. Democracy is associated with the election of people to various political offices and it is always characterised by misunderstanding, disagreement and non-violence conflicts within political parties.
The conflicting interests exhibited by politicians in APC may be seen by non-politicians as an internal crisis, whereas it is just a normal expression of interests by various tendencies in the party for elective offices in 2023.
Don’t you think such conflict of interest could affect the chances of the party in 2023?
Even in an advanced democracy like America, people still disagree during the electioneering period. It is true that discontents are normal in every democracy, it is also true that APC like every other party has its own internal problem, which if not properly and adequately addressed may affect the party, not only in the state but also in the federal elections. Nevertheless, it is true that Akwa Ibom State APC is well known for having a credible committee for peace and conflict resolution that can resolve all conflicting interests in the party before any election.
The prevailing personal interest and disagreement notwithstanding, the chances of the party cannot be affected come 2023, because of the change agenda of the party that has already become part and parcel of the electorate in the state.
What can be done by APC to wrest power from the PDP government in 2023?
For us to win the governorship election and send PDP government packing from the Government House in 2023, we must as a party correct our previous mistakes. The reason why APC lost out in the previous elections in the state was the issue of imposition of those we called political tourists as candidates during the past elections. These political tourists include those former political office contestants who used state apparatus to maim and run down APC at previous political campaigns. But these people decamped to APC, as a result of their failure to secure nomination tickets in their previous party platforms. Their characteristics in every election year are to move from one party to another seeking where they can buy nomination tickets to contest, despite the fact that the electorate has lost confidence in them and cannot vote for them because they always speak from both sides of the mouth.
The governorship ticket in 2023 is zoned to Uyo Senatorial District. The electorate is likely to vote for somebody from that district who has integrity; who is patriotic and has made a name for his community and for Nigeria through his or her selfless services and developmental programmes. If we can put forward a candidate with the capacity to act as governor and continue with the master plan of the state for the benefit and unification of the entire ethnic groupings in the state, APC will therefore be sure of a successful outing in 2023.
What is your opinion on the clamour for power shift to Southern Nigeria in 2023?
For equity, justice and even distribution of political power, I support the clamour for the rotational presidency in Nigeria and power shift to the South in 2023 but the Southern region should also accommodate other geo-political zones in the South that has never tasted presidency since 1999.
The problem of Nigeria generally is not where the President comes from but who the President is. We need a President who has the necessary capacity and willpower to redirect the entire nation and is versatile in the management of our human and material resources to the benefit of our various constituencies in the country.
How will you assess the performance of PDP-led administration in the state?
Generally, PDP as a party has a very good sustainable developmental agenda for the nation, but the problem of the party lies in those running the administration in various PDP controlled states in the country. By my considered opinion, the present Rivers State governor is one of the best-performed governors today. We can talk about his various economic and infrastructural programmes, such as the modern law school complex he is about donating to the Federal Government, despite being in the opposition party.
I want to admonish other PDP-led state governments to collaborate more with the federal government to stem the insecurity and unemployment scourge affecting the youths in Nigeria. The PDP-led administration in Akwa Ibom has done well in the aviation sector through Ibom Air and the expansion of the facilities at the airports. Since only a very few percentages of the population travel by air, the state government should also improve other means of transportation for the benefit of the greater percentage of the population in the state.
In the area of education, students from higher institutions of learning such as universities, medical and law schools are still crying for study grants, bursary and scholarships since the advent of the present PDP administration in the state. The ugly situation that we are facing today in Akwa Ibom will continue until the election in the state is conducted. No meaningful physical development can be achieved rather than cheap propaganda.
The free compulsory education is nothing to write home about, retired teachers are still crying for their retirement benefits and there are no adequate educational materials and learning equipment in the schools.
The self-acclaimed mass agricultural development and industrialisation in the state is mere media propaganda because we have not seen the products of the said industries in Akwa Ibom markets. In terms of unemployment, various national and international statistics show that despite the fact that Akwa Ibom is one of the highest beneficiaries of the federal allocation, plus internally generated revenue, yet the state is rated as one of the poorest states having the highest unemployment rate in Nigeria.
Akwa Ibom State that was known as the most peaceful state in the Niger Delta region is no longer safe because of rising incidents of violence. The amount of deadly weapons of destruction in the wrong hands in some residents can destabilise not only the South-south but also the entire Niger Delta region if nothing is done within the shortest possible time.