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2023: Ordinary Nigerians will decide their leaders, says Ekere

By Ayoyinka Jegede, Uyo
03 February 2023   |   3:52 pm
That’S why Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is talking about Renewed Hope. Conscious of all the problems that we have as a country and as a people, he has a solution to the problem of insecurity. T

Ekere Obong Nsima  is the chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential campaign rally in Akwa Ibom State.

Obong Nsima Ekere is the chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential campaign rally in Akwa Ibom State. He spoke to AYOYINKA JEGEDE on chances of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the APC.

Insecurity has been on the rise. There are unabated kidnapping, hunger and frustrations in the land. ‘Japa’ is the order of the day as young people struggle to leave the county. Why do you think Nigerians will want to vote APC back into power?
That’S why Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is talking about Renewed Hope. Conscious of all the problems that we have as a country and as a people, he has a solution to the problem of insecurity. That is why you hear him talk about reliance on technology to tackle security challenges in the country. Somebody has remedy for our economic situation and that’s why Tinubu talks about job creation and growing the GDP. He has talked about engaging the youths in creative employment.

When you talk about problems of Nigeria, you are trying to create the impression that the APC administration created them. The problems were not created by the APC-led administration. They are issues experienced in other parts of the world, virtually all the countries. For instance, inflation is everywhere in the world today. All the developing and developed countries are facing inflation. Britain is facing the highest inflation ever in recent history and it is the same for America. Nigeria’s case is not peculiar, but no matter what the challenges are, there is always a solution and the solution to Nigeria’s problem is Ahmed Bola Tinubu. 

Will this Muslim/Muslim favour your party?
The question would be: is it religion that would rule or the people? We shouldn’t allow religion and other sentiments to be the determinant. What Nigerians should concentrate on is who has the capacity to deliver in these very challenging times, don’t get me wrong, the sensibility of religion are there in this country. Nigerians were aware that Tinubu was a Muslim before they voted for him overwhelmingly at the last primaries. There were Christians that contested but party delegates chose him.
And you think that will not affect his chances?
We have the confidence that our candidate will win because, of all the candidates running for President, Tinubu is the most qualified and experienced. He is tested and proven. He has done it before as governor of Lagos State with sterling performances. He is a dogged fighter, he is an icon of democracy in this country and he has everything it takes to lead Nigeria, and Nigerians know the truth. Forget all those rumours and misinformation orchestrated on social media, the truth of the matter is that among all the candidates, there is none that can compete with Tinubu. 

Considering his age, one would have expected that he throws up one of his ‘children’ as candidate?
I don’t understand what Nigerians really say and what we meant by that. First of all, Asiwaju Tinubu stood for the presidential primary election with the same age and qualifications. He competed with over 10 other aspirants and he won. This is democracy and democracy means that the majority will have their way. In the midst of other presidential aspirants, there was one very young man named Jack Rich. If it’s in terms of age, Jack Rich should have won. The president of America, Joe Biden, how old is he and he is leading the most influential country in the world as of today? Age is not really the issue, Tinubu has the capacity and track record to deliver, so, that is what Nigerians should look at.
Nigeria has peculiar problems, we must bring in a president that understands the problems and as well has the solutions. I believe that Tinubu has the solutions to Nigeria’s problems and he will make us proud.

The office of the president is very demanding, hence requires physical fitness. Is Tinubu fit for such a task?
We are not God and then you cannot begin to talk about somebody’s health when you don’t even know what his health situation is.
Tinubu’s health is okay and I haven’t seen anything to suggest that he is not fit to be the president of this country. 
He is fit, forget social media, a lot of things are happening on social media. They can use technology to turn someone’s face on social media and you’ll be seeing a snake rather than the person. On social media, they will make you start singing, while you are talking. So, a lot can be done through technology on social media these days. If you sit with the man and have a conversation, you will know that he is fit. Nigerians are very creative. They can just take whatever is going on and change it. Don’t believe all those things you see on social media.

What are chances of your party in the South-South, especially in Akwa Ibom, which traditionally belongs to Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)?
I don’t believe that the PDP owns the state. In this same Akwa Ibom, the so-called PDP you are talking about is fragmented and divided into two because the governorship candidate of the Young Progressives Party (YPP) in the state is from PDP. He wasn’t given a fair chance to run in PDP, so he moved over to YPP, and moved with most of the people.
PDP’s victories were in the past. Don’t forget that this time, nobody will go, sit down and write results in Government House. The people will vote and thank God for BVAS. In the 2023 elections, peoples’ vote will count. There is no party that owns any state. The ordinary people of this country, who are the majority, will decide who their leaders would be. It has nothing to do with whether one political party or the other owns or does not own any particular area.

APC now has a governorship candidate, courtesy of the court. How do you feel about that?
Finally, the APC in Akwa Ibom now has a governorship candidate in the person of Obong Akanimo Udofia. The party has been going through a lot of challenges, arising from the last congresses leading right up to the primaries. There were lots of contending issues, but the court of Appeal recently ruled in our favour. Going into the ballot, we now have a governorship candidate and interestingly, he has a message of prosperity. If you look at his own blueprint, it’s about making Akwa Ibom prosperous. I want to appeal to the people of Akwa Ibom to vote for Akanimo Udofia.
Every politician that is running elections prays to God to win and we shall win these elections because we are going to work hard to ensure victory. Udofia is an Akwa Ibom son with positive antecedents in the private sector. He is a very successful businessman who gives back to society. He built an ultra-modern and sophisticated students’ hostel in the state University, and donated it free of charge. Whatever the issues were in the party that delayed his emergence as the candidate, are now bygone.

How will you win when your house is not in order?
We have commenced and taken a lot of steps to bring the party together in Akwa Ibom. We had a lot of issues in the party, but whatever the issues were, the APC under the leadership of the minister of Niger Delta,  Obong  Umana Okon Umana has taken steps to reconcile and bring every person together to work for the good of the party.
We have identified what those issues were and we have taken necessary steps to reconcile all the aggrieved party members and charged them to work together in one accord for the good and success of the party in the next elections. 
We should vote for leaders that are sincere. We should vote for experienced leaders with track records and courage to tackle the problems of this country, and I believe that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu fits into that mode. That is the kind of leader that we should elect for Nigeria in the presidential election. 
I advise the electorate to go and collect their PVCs, and on the day of election come out and vote for the APC candidates across board. This is because we present an array of very experienced and capable candidates for the various positions. That is my appeal to voters and when you vote, defend your votes, stand and make sure your votes are counted and as well transmitted to the direct server.