ADC government will shut down wasteful liaison offices, governor’s private jet, says Ezekiel
Nya-Etok Ezekiel is the governorship candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) in Akwa Ibom State for the 2023 general elections.
Ezekiel, who is also an expert in housing, in this interview with AYOYINKA JEGEDE, in Uyo, promised to block all financial drain pipes and leakages if elected governor.
What are the things you think should be done differently at the state government level in Akwa Ibom?
First, the security and welfare of the people, which is the primary purpose of government, shall be my primary focus. I will ensure the judicious management of the people’s resources, and make sure that the generality of the people benefits from it. I will achieve this by my ‘Shut Down And Shut Out’ philosophy. This will entail shutting down all the waste and drain channels of our resources. For example, the liaison office of Akwa Ibom State in Abuja and Lagos State will be shut down.
Also, the private jet used by the governor of Akwa Ibom State is a waste and drain on our resources. The governor’s lodge is a major waste pipe and needs to be shut down. Why can’t the governor have a residence for just him and his family, where he feeds them, rather than have a big complex where millions of the people’s money are spent daily to feed political associates that can afford to feed themselves?
The next is the ‘Shut Out’ philosophy. If you will agree with me, Akwa Ibom, over the years, does not belong to the Akwa Ibom people. That has made me come up with an ideology of “Akwa Ibom-for-Akwa Ibom”. When you look at the state’s budgets over the years, we have budgeted over N8trillion, and yet when you look at the supposed city centre, you are expected to see corporate offices that should be as a result of services rendered to the state by the indigenes. You will see none today because the people of Akwa Ibom have become crumbs eaters while all the major projects are given to contractors from outside the state. Akwa Ibom money should primarily, and strategically benefit Akwa Ibomites.
Secondly, what I will do differently is to change our governance style. It is about time that the Governor of Akwa Ibom State is primarily, and almost exclusively resident in Akwa Ibom State. If I am elected, I will reside in the state to manage the affairs of Akwa Ibom. When I have things to attend to outside the state, I will spend the least possible time there. It will be on record that I am a resident of the state. When that happens, the local government chairmen will not be able to leave their local government and come to live in Uyo but will be compelled to live in their various Local Government Areas. Most office seekers are more interested in the paraphernalia of the office they seek to occupy if elected, rather than the main essence of that office. Every governor should thoroughly understand and subscribe to Chapter 2, Section 14, Subsection 2b of the Nigerian Constitution, as their marching order. A better life for the people will be my focus and passion.
Remember, as they say, Akwa Ibom belongs to Peoples Democratic Party. Meaning that you cannot come from a fringe party and expect to win elections just like that. What are the strategies you’re putting in place to enhance the chances of your party?
A lot of people have failed to understand what the electronic transmission of results in the 2022 Electoral Act means for the 2023 general elections.
Because of the 2022 Electoral Act, I know that votes will count in the 2023 general elections. I believe in the people of the state, and I have what the people want -having lived for over 30 years in the state. I have lived all my life investing in the lives of people in the state ranging from students to the unemployed youths, the women, and the physically challenged. These are the things that will speak for me when the campaign starts.
Moreover, I have solutions to the challenges of my people -particularly in the rural areas. These are in my Social Governance Ideology, and my introduction to the Fourth Tier of Government -which I call ‘Ward Governance’.
In this, there will be direct allocation of funds to the wards and, by extension, the villages every month during our four years in office. The said allocation will be based on specific development templates that will be organised and monitored directly from the office of the governor to ensure rural development.
I have done a lot of empowerment programmes and in 2023 the people are not voting for me but rather they are voting for themselves. The masses will vote for me because they have seen me as a man of integrity. They are putting their trust in me.
I challenge other politicians to do what I have done. I go to rural areas. I have gone to 29 of the 31 local government areas in Akwa Ibom, during which I have physically sat with the people for hours consulting and dialoguing with them. At the end, people with excitement will join and contribute to what I am doing. The people sat for over three hours listening to me and at the end, rather than saying, “I won’t leave without ‘landing,’ the people in a particular instance, brought fruits and drinks for me to take back home.
I am sure that the electorate will vote for me.
What played out in Osun State should be an eye opener.
I had been with PDP for a long time before I decided to leave in 2010. In 2015, I went to PDP and advised them that they will lose the general election. They did not heed it because they said it is impossible to remove an incumbent from office and decided to take things for granted. By the time reality hit them, it was already late.
In Akwa Ibom today, PDP is disintegrating before our eyes and we could see it in the primaries held by the party in the state. This is happening with just six months of the campaign left. Come back to me after six months and you will see that PDP will be struggling to remain relevant in the state.
My party ADC is just a few months old and we are already touching lives across the state.
Nigeria is faced with a myriad of problems, what is the way out? How can we get it right post-2023?
We need someone who comes with sincerity of purpose and a vision to do the right thing and ultimately liberate the people. We have hardly had that person. This is because politics has become commercialised. It is seen as an enterprise where the investors are there for returns on investments. When they put you there, you are expected to pay back as loyalty to them.
Also, insecurity has become a major enterprise that people are benefiting from. The Federal Republic of Nigeria is too big and sophisticated for any terrorist organisation to take us captive.
To take terrorists out of this nation requires only one sincere President and these terrorists will have to pack and leave.
In addition, no country can succeed without education as a very top priority. It is unfortunate that people at the helm of affairs do not seem to care and so they continue to ignore education and continue to play games around it, forgetting that the future of any country is education, more so a developing country like Nigeria.
The ball is in the court of the followers because choosing the right leaders is in their hands. We are only responsible for whosoever we choose. Followers enthrone leadership hence the people will only get the leader they choose. The followers are the ones with the responsibility of choosing a leader and only by choosing the right leader will the people rejoice. So, the people are part of the problem and not the leaders alone.
Some think zoning should be sustained in the election of leaders. Do you agree with that?
Clearly, the issue of zoning does not come to context anymore because it is primarily the people of Uyo senatorial district, understandably, that are concerned about zoning and not people in Ikot Ekpene or Eket senatorial district.
Most especially, the people of Eket who have realised they will have to wait another sixteen years for any of their daughters/sons to as much as contemplate being a governor. The problem is that politicians have allowed themselves to be sponsored by the so-called political godfathers and political investors. The only solution is for people like me to come out and the people will rally around people like myself who have vision and plans for the state and the nation. This is one edge that ADC has over the other parties in Akwa Ibom State. Our driving ideology is ‘Rescue Mission.’ ADC is out to liberate the people of Nigeria.
Do you fear that money politics could shut out candidates like you who are not members of ruling parties?
The essence of money is to do a particular job. For example, when I was to be celebrated on my birthday by the youths, the hall which was for N400,000 was given to me free because of my relationship with the owner -whereas another person would have paid for that hall. I have got people who have volunteered to donate billboards, Ward and Chapter offices, and even to man every poling unit.
Someone or people did billboards for ADC along Abak Road, and Ikot Ekpene road, in Uyo, and I don’t have any idea who the persons are. People are calling and offering their houses as offices for ADC. We have lots of volunteers hence the party is able to do so much with the help of people who believe in our vision and mission. I am ready, they may have the money, but I have the people and the people’s power is always greater than money’s power.
Vote buying and selling will be a challenge in the 2023 elections, how do you deal with that?
Votes will count! One of the reasons people were selling their votes is because they believed their votes wouldn’t count. Because of the 2022 Electoral Act, votes now count! I can assure you that there will be nothing like snatching of ballot boxes anymore. I can assure you that, because Arc Nya -Etok will be on the ballot, Akwa Ibom people will not sell their votes meant for me for any reason. They know me, they want me, they love me, and I love them and will work for them.
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