Akpabio had wanted to join APC for long

Dr. Emeyak Ukpong, a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, served in the House of Representatives and is presently a senatorial aspirant on the platform of the party. In this interview he asserts that the APC has taken the ascendancy over the PDP in the state on account of what he alleges as the failures of the present administration. Excerpts: What is your reaction to the defection of Senator Akpabio to your party? Dr. Emeyak Ukpong Anything that detracts from the strength of the opposition is a welcome development for us. We met with somebody like DIG Udom Ekpoudom and we were able to extract a bit of commitment that he was going to leave PDP. We met with the former deputy governor Valerie Ebe we were able to extract a commitment from her that she was going to leave to join APC and other top notch PDP players in Akwa Ibom State and got some form of commitment from them that they were going to decamp to APC. We also knew that some level of negotiation had been going on and it had been long that H.E. Godswill Akpabio had wanted to join APC. Because some people were averse to it probably delayed it. Again, by the time we had defectors from APC to PDP such like Bukola Saraki, so by that time anything that would have come as a counter would have been a welcome development. One thing is that whether Akpabio decamped to APC or not, Akwa Ibom was already moving towards APC. Why? Because of the performance of the governor. The governor has not done well in this state. Besides the governor will tell you that he does not owe salaries, pensions or gratuities. But it is a lie. My wife retired in 2014 and up till now, she has not received her gratuity and before they started paying her pension it took almost 18 months. But were these not carryovers from the previous governments? Fine, apart from the fact that government is a continuum, but you should have spoken out. Before Godswill Akpabio defected, Udom was saying nothing about the liabilities. People were asking him tell us what Akpabio left behind in terms of debt, he would not tell you. It is only now that they have fallen apart that he started talking. Has this defection weakened PDP? Terribly. Why I am happy or appreciative of Akpabio’s defection but for me, we had done a lot of work prior to the defection and we would have still won the election. But now, with his defection, it has really weakened Udom. He is like somebody that has been deformed and is now like somebody walking with a walking stick who has been deprived of it. Why was Akpabio not accorded the right of leader in the Akwa Ibom State chapter of the party? There is no way, you come into a party, people were there. You have the chairman of the caucus, who is Etiebet, he had been a minister, national chairman of a party and so on and so forth. If he had said this is one of the leaders, that would have been well taken. Even Akpabio himself knows because the speech he made that day showed that he was not willing to be the leader. He said that he was coming to help build the party, he recognized the chairmanship of Etiebet, so there is no tussle about the leadership of the caucus in Akwa Ibom. How will the governorship election play out? I have given you the variables that will lead to Udom’s failure. If I tell you the number of people who are presently in PDP who say that they are waiting for this and that to defect. I am telling you that Akwa Ibom is APC. In this party registration that we did if you see some PDP people knocking on the door in the night saying please register me. What good thing do you see in the Udom government? Udom has good intentions but he was not prepared for administration. Another thing is that the advisers around him are not helping him. He has good intentions but the implementation is very, very poor. Though I cannot compare it with Akpabio’s time because during Akpabio’s time there was money, but people will tell you that Udom is very stingy. How do you compare his administration with that of Akpabio’s In terms of security apart from two or three local governments where there are militant activities, Insecurity was very terrible during Akpabio. I don’t know how it happened, but it was horrible. They killed somebody inside the church. Gen. Akpan was kidnapped in the church. In terms of security the state is safer than it was beforeEmeyak-Ukpong

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