I want to welcome you very warmly to this interactive session; I can see you are trying
to make it look very formal meaning that you have changed the format of this interactive session. I thought that we
should call you this evening so that I can personally say thank you to you all. The last time we had a meeting like this, I was still
the Secretary to the state government and that was sometime in 2013. And I had also
called you to request you to support the administration in terms of reporting the policies and programmes of the
Today as Chief Ita Awak pointed out it is almost one year since I left office. Many of you, I don’t know where you have disappeared to maybe you are part of ACA- Akwa Ibom Cunny Arrangement (laughs).
But I am so happy to see your faces today.
And I belief we will have a very interesting interactive session. I am not going to be the only one to talk; I will also like to listen to
you. I am sure there are many questions you may want to ask us and there are some questions we may want to ask some of you
specially my friends from THE INK and Radar.
HIS TAKE ON IBOM DEVELOPMENT NETWORK
The Ibom Development Network as you are aware is the body promoting my governorship aspiration, it is no longer
news that I am in the race for governorship and we have been working behind the scenes because we cannot come out to the open to campaign now but what we have so far is just consultations, we have been
reaching out to stakeholders in the state and I want to say that we have consulted very widely. I am in the position to say that
the people of Akwa Ibom state have earnestly ask me to run for the position of the Governor. (Claps) and I have also accepted the challenge and when the time
comes, I will declare formally and the rest will follow. This evening, I will like to say that we should have a platform to deal with many issues especially rumours. I will allow you to raise some of these questions and
then we will deal with the issues because I will not want to preempt you I will just want
us to discuss. So whatever you think we should discuss let us go ahead and discuss it.
HIS POINT OF DEPARTURE WITH THE GOVERNOR AFTER HE WAS PROMISED THE GUBER POSITION
On the issue that the governor promised me his position at this point may not be necessary. I think what is important is that I
am in the race and I am committed, it does not matter who could have made suggestions to me in the past or who offered to support me in the past. Because whether the governor offered to support
me belongs to the past, whether he has changed his mind today is not important. I think what is important is that I am still in
the race and I believe I have something to offer in that regards. To make my contributions to better the lots of our people, so I would not want to focus on whether the governor promised to support me in the past or whether he is no longer
supporting me, all those things is in the past. I will rather concentrate on the fact that I am in the race and I am committed
and I appreciate the massive support I am getting from the people of Akwa Ibom state.
HIS GROUSE WITH THE FIRST LADY ABD WHETHER HE RESIGNED HIS POSITION
OR THE GOVERNOR FORCED HIM OUT?
You know any political appointment that you accept is at the mercies of the Governor and at any point in time if you feel that can no longer continue, you have the right to resign and if the governor who appointed you also feels you can no longer continue,
he also have the right to disengage you. So I believe that since whatever happened was
the Governor’s method of disengaging me, we will have to go by that. After my disengagement, the Governor thanked me for my services and
contributions to the development of the state and wished me well.
That should show you that we had come to that point where
we had to separate. May be the manner of the separation was not argued because I was out of the state when I also heard the
report that my office has been sealed up by police and SSS, in fact, it was on AIT, Channels and NTA. It wouldn’t have been speculations and I saw it on their news bar.
And I believe the Commissioner of Information must have issued a statement or contacted those platforms and they had that running for two to three days. So it couldn’t have been speculations. I was not in the office when that happened so I am not in the position to confirm who led the operation but just like you, I also read that
it was the Wife of the Governor Unoma Akpabio, who led the operation. I was not an eye witness but that was what I read and also reliably informed.
Ofcourse you may want to ask, why that level of drama over a matter of disengagement? Because the issue of disengagement is a routine affair so the whole drama of sealing off the office is really unnecessary in my opinion. I think that was taken too far. This is a question I
will love to answer very well when the time comes.
WHY HE THINKS THE PEOPLE OF AKWA IBOM STATE SHOULD VOTE FOR HIM
I have been involved in the last two administrations, I was the commissioner of finance in the administration of the former
governor Obong Victor Attah, I was the SSG in the administration of Governor Akpabio for that period I think six years. I can appreciate the challenges; I know how far
we have gone. In some of the areas, for example in the area of infrastructure and I am also aware that we still have a lot to do in the area of industrialization, job creation,
wealth creation, empowerment of our people and of course a conscious and diligent effort to deal with such issues in the area of health, education. I think I will
have to pay special attention to the development of agriculture because that is also one way that we can be able to create jobs. I think we will have a paradigm shift from infrastructure to other areas. When the time comes we will give you the full package of what we are going to do for the
Petition to Human Rights Commission Well we have not come out to deny it, it is not a personal thing, it is not about Umana Okon Umana, it is about all of us who have been threatened or who feels threatened and we stated why we felt that the appropriate authorities should carry out
investigations. The issues should be investigated and that is not too much to ask for and it is not a crime to ask for investigation. If you drive into Transcorp in
Abuja and you notice a suspicious
movement, you have the right to call the police and say come and investigate. For example you are aware of the case of our Director General Chief Sunny Udom, armed men invaded his office and we thank God he was not around, we where told they were robbers, there were still many many unanswered questions. So we thought we should write to the appropriate authorities to investigate. And of course my own personal experience in December is that I received a death letter which of course a
copy I have submitted to the police and I was asked to drop from the governorship race or else I will be attacked in Uyo, Lagos or Abuja. But I did not pay too much attention to it because I had police protection but I was in Abuja when I got the report that my police details have been
And it came as a surprise to me, the curious coincidence of my police details being withdrawn a few days after I received a
threat letter. And when I made further enquires, I was told there were withdrawn on the orders of the Governor. That gives us
a course of concern for the coincidence and many other examples as stated in that petition. We also had to do that against the background of what we witnessed in 2010/2011 when the elections were around
the corner. It is possible they could be some connection and the authorities should look into it. It is their job to investigate and
come out with a report, all we did was within the law, and we acted as responsible citizens. We didn’t say anybody is guilty.
RELATIONSHIP WITH THE CURRENT SSG
Of course it has to be cordial, he is a fine gentleman, and from day one I wished him well and prayed for his success in office.
Attending his swearing in ceremony was to underscore the fact that there is nothing personal about it and that if you stay in that kind of office one day you have to leave, you make your contributions and you leave
it is not a permanent office. Even the office of the governor is not permanent it has an expiring date for example on May 29th the
tenure the current Governor, Godswill Akpabio will end constitutionally. It is to show an example to other people who are
coming. I did not feel bad about it. I was happy I had to make my own contribution.
His links to all the atrocities that
happened while he was serving as SSG Because I served in the last administration, does not mean that whatever transpired
then I must have been the one who gave the nod. I don’t think that you can give your support to assassination or murder issues. I
don’t think so, that wasn’t under the mandate of my office if you go look at the duties of my office as SSG, you can’t find any of these items on how to advise on killing and so on. It wasn’t part of my duties.
I only operated under the mandate of my office. Let me also point out that in government it is the Governor who is the chief security officer and all the security chiefs report to the Governor. He has the security powers to run the state constitutionally. He takes responsibility; nobody will talk about the Udom or Umana
administration because they were SSG.
People will talk about the Akpabio administration. Leadership means you
should take responsibility you don’t blame subordinates because the power resides with the governor.
I have also heard stories that because I was the SSG therefore you must have all kinds of benefits, financial benefits because you were the SSG. Of course we have several all other SSGs in the past after me we now
have Udom and after him there will be several others, that is the way it is. As SSG I didn’t have the powers to approve even 50,000 naira. The governor exclusively
approves all items of expenditure and the treasury will only pay when the governor approves. So nobody can go and take money from the treasury unless the
governor approves. Sometimes people think because you hold a certain position you can drive and take money from the treasury. That is not correct.
There other stories that Umana as SSG was very powerful and that even commissioners that were removed were removed based on his instructions, I have read that in some of the papers and it is absolutely ridiculous
because it is only the Governor who can appoint or remove. If I could have the powers to sack a commissioner without the
knowledge of the governor, it also means that I can drive to the lodge and put a gun on the governors head to sign the letters of nomination of the new commissions and then I will also arrange and put a gun on his
head to swear them in, it is totally ridiculous. That particular story came from
a former commissioner of Agriculture Prof. Etok Ekanem. I wish him well, but I think as
someone who served in the executive council you should know it is one person who has the powers to hire and to fire. So if I recommended the dropping of
commissioners, who recommended by own disengagement? May be when I got tired I also made the recommendation.
And then there was also the very interesting story that I was the one who nominated my successor who happens to be my cousin,
the man is not my cousin I am not related to him in anyway. That is not to say I have
anything against him, I always pray for him and wish him well. I was there when he was sworn in and to pray for him.
There is this News that you and other aspirants are coming together against the interest of the government.
I don’t know why the government should have an interest as government because when we say there should be a level playing
field, we expect that everybody should be given equal opportunity but then let the
people of Akwa Ibom state vote and decide who they want. That is all that we are asking for. I will also make references to the fact that even when the incumbent governor contested the primaries against many other
aspirants in 2006 the then governor, Obong Attah did not interfere, he did not issue
threats, we did not have reports of the former governor threatening aspirants and
delegates that they will die or that they will not come near the building where primaries will take place, there was nothing like that.
The party office was open to all aspirants, Chief Sunny Udom was the senatorial chairman for Ikot Ekpene he can confirm this, the party was open to everybody, the
party chairman was not barred from taking calls from certain people. The aspirants can
talk to each other there is nothing wrong; it is all part of politics. But I think it is still
early to form an alliance. The aspirants can talk to themselves there is nothing wrong with that.
ALTERNATIVE PARTY IF HE FAILS TO PICK THE PDP TICKET
All aspirants will be running to win and we believe the delegates will support you to be the flag bearer of the party. I will be
contesting to win and with consultations going on, we have massive support all over
the state and by the special grace of God we are looking forward to my victory at the primaries the issue of plan B does not arise
at all (claps).
The issue of zoning, well, I want to agree with the gentleman who said even the Governor himself was not a product of zoning. He said on a National Television
when the minister of Information, Labaran Maku came for the good governance tour.
During the town hall meeting, when the question of zoning was put to him, he said he was not a product of zoning and that as
at 2006 there were 58 contestants from the 3 senatorial districts and that it was not zoned exclusively to any particular
senatorial district. Maybe there was intention to zone but the party did not bar anybody that was in 2006.
Again in 2011 we had Frank Okon from Eket senatorial district, we had Imo Udo from
Uyo senatorial district and I think Frank Okon is still in court and some of his supporters are still believing that he will be
declared governor, if he is declared a governor for example, are you still going to talk about zoning, will he be stopped
because of zoning? It shows you the level of insincerity. And the fact that until I left office the issue of zoning did not arise,
again you may want to ask what a level of coincidence! The whole zoning saga came out after I left office. It is for you to find out.