What is your impression of the PDP governorship primary that produced Udom Emmanuel as candidate of the party?The PDP governorship primary in Akwa Ibom was manipulated, corrupted and the candidate Udom Emmanuel was imposed on the people. A protest letter had been written and signed by ex-governor Victor Attah, Etiebet and I to the national headquarters of our great party, intimating them of the fraud. That was followed by the protest of the 22 aspirants, other than Udom, who stayed 40 days and 40 nights in Abuja to present their protest to the national party and to the Presidency.Unfortunately, these issues remain unresolved. As far as I am concerned, the primary in which Udom emerged was fraudulently manipulated. Governor Akpabio or the wife identified Udom somewhere and they foisted him on all of us undemocratically. That is where we are today and that is why APC is making inroads in Akwa Ibom today.But INEC also recognizes him as the party’s governorship candidate in the state; is there anything you and your group can do at this stage?I have said it all that he did not emerge through a democratic process and that is why the PDP should be ready for a protest vote against that candidate. Edwin Clark, a few days ago granted a press interview. And what was the core of it? He said that whatever happens to President Jonathan in this election is caused by the governors; governors imposing candidates.He was surprised that the party allows governors to impose candidates on the people. Whatever happens to Jonathan in 2015 should be blamed on the governors, particularly the so-called PDP Governors Forum. They have manipulated Jonathan, not because they like Jonathan, but because of their own selfish interest.The governors choose who will be councillors, local government chairmen, member of the states Houses of Assembly, House of Reps, the Senate and who will be minister. Invariably the governors are the ones driving the country. The governors, when they come together, choose who will be the president of this country.Power has been surrendered to the governors. When hawks are driving the PDP Governors Forum, then you know what I mean. They are not driving it for the interest of the country and the party but for their personal interest.In your view, why do you think Jonathan refused to meet with the 22 aspirants that protested in Abuja?I strongly believe it is because Akpabio told Jonathan that these people have no political relevance; that those of us who protested have no political relevance in Akwa Ibom State; that he has all the powers to do and undo in Akwa Ibom and Jonathan believed him.Otherwise, why should 22 out of 23 people, who contested the election, come out protesting for one reason or the other and you did not listen to them? All of them come from constituencies and local government areas. You think they are nobody; that they buy form and go out to contest election that they were not even allowed to be voted for, even their brothers?As a chieftain and former national officer of the party, don’t you think recommending protest votes against your party will amount to anti-party activity?No, I am not saying I am going to do protest vote. What I am saying is that a lot of people would vote in protest of that process. There are 22 aspirants who are not happy with Udom’s emergence vis-à-vis the process that brought him. They are aggrieved till today and have refused to back down and support Udom. They have their supporters. Where do you think they would vote?But we learnt that most of the 22 aspirants were settled with huge sums to support Udom. Where will this protest votes come from?I am not aware of that, and even if they have collected money, it is Akwa Ibom money. You see, there is something people don’t know about such money. If Akpabio gives you money, it is not his money; it is Akwa Ibom money. People would vote what their conscience tells them. They won’t vote as slaves.So, I don’t believe money will make people sell their conscience and future. The people are concerned about what will bring peace and harmony to Akwa Ibom.You’ve been an advocate of zoning the governorship seat to Eket Senatorial District; why then don’t you support Udom, who’s from the zone? I am from Oron Federal Constituency, which is made up of five local government areas. When the governor visited Oron for the so-called town hall meeting on his own, he said this state is founded on a tripod and that Oron people have the right to ask for their turn in the governance of the state.He said that Attah has taken the turn for the Ibibios, and he is taking the turn of Annangs and that Oron deserves their turn. What else do you want me to say? Why do you think Oron aspirants will queue behind Udom after denying Oron its turn? They will not. They are human beings with flesh and blood. They are aggrieved; they feel they have been manipulated and their rights taken away from them. They feel there is no justice and fairness. The APC governorship candidate Umana Okon Umana has picked his deputy from Oron. Do you think this will swing votes for the APC in your area?I keep saying that giving Oron deputy governor is not the issue. There are commissioners in Akpabio’s government who are more influential than the deputy governor. I know of a deputy governor who worked with Akpabio. He used to come here to complain to me about ill-treatment from the governor.There are deputy governors who can’t have the ears of the governor even in public, but some commissioners do. So, the issue of deputy governor doesn’t attract us too much.What do you think should be done to checkmate the powers of the PDP Governors’ Forum?The solution is to kill governors forum whether PDP Governors Forum or Nigerian Governors Forum. Kill it! It is not in the constitution so that nobody will force you to act in their interest. After all, the president has the federal might. There are so many ways to kill it.Make sure the party at the national level is strong; fund the party and make sure governors don’t use their money to take over the control of the party at the national level. Many have expressed fears that Jonathan may lose the election, saying the North may not vote for him. What is your take on this?I want to say this in all honesty that we have worked so much for Jonathan. In 2011, there was so much support for Jonathan. Nobody then thought Jonathan could lose even one percent of the votes in 2011. But today, it is a different thing. Even in the East, when Jonathan went to Ekwueme, he was told he cannot get the support he had in 2011. That is what will happen to him in the 2015 election.
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