Distinguished Senator Anietie Okon is the Pioneer National Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and member that represented Uyo Senatorial District, Akwa Ibom State. In an interview with our correspondent in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, he talked about the insecurity in Nigeria, 2023 general elections, Governor Udom Emmanuel’s announcement of successor and the state House of Assembly.
His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel recently anointed the Commissioner for Lands and Water Resources, Pastor Umo Eno as his successor but the endorsement seemed not to have gone down well with stakeholders of the party including you, I want to know your take on this matter sir?
No. The governor just deliberately or maybe unwittingly created tension and division in the party, that might have gone a long way, he is also a beneficiary of the same principle he has gone against. Even when he was nominated by Governor Godswill Akpabio and I was given a responsibility to market him, it was done before the entire caucus of the party, everybody agreed, but now he selected some people and defied the constitution of the party, let him first check the constitution of the party before taking certain steps. Things are not done that way. The governor has just lost direction.
We believe that the governor made consultations before announcing his preferred candidate, were you consulted as one of the chieftains of the party?
I am the number one chieftain of the party, but I was not consulted, check the list, you will not see my name there, they knew that meeting would have grounded if i was invited. I wouldn’t have allowed that. You cannot go against the party constitution. What they did there was a charade.
Since the governor has anointed his successor, does that foreclose the chances of your brother coming out?
No it has not, he will, he will come out.
There is perceived animosity in your party following the governor’s pronouncement, many interests were dashed, what is your effort to salvage the situation?
Who will be happy over what happened, people normally declare interest in elective positions and get prepared to win votes but not to be upset and to dash their hopes. Each person has the hope of persons in the country, state, community reposed in them. We are not happy about that, we have gone past this level of banana state. For you to come out and carry out a coup is not acceptable, we will ensure that the issue is addressed.
The House of Assembly at the plenary adopted Umo Eno as a candidate, what is your take on that?
Laughs, does that make him a candidate of the party? The governor is just spending money that should be used in providing services to the people. The people in the House are protecting their interest. Some of them, their interest of second term were guaranteed. That’s total rubbish! Have you heard of a place where a candidate go before a House? Adopted in a House? In a plenary? That’s the height of irresponsibility. When have you seen that written in the constitution? Where else have you seen the plenary session discussing issue on succession. The last governor did something, pursued policy of infrastructural development and put in a lot of money and resources of the state into it. we thought that he was doing us well by getting someone from a banking background, an economist, therefore the exposure in the process of gathering resources for investment in industry I’ve not seen so much of it. I am happy that someone in this state wanted to have his son in-law installed but he failed, he(son in-law) could have won the nomination easily but because he was sponsored by the father in-law, the then governor, the state came up against the issue of turning a position into hereditary arrangement, the governor’s son in-law lost. So what happened that time is going to happen again.
Some people are of the opinion that the action of the governor will affect the chances of PDP in 2023, what is your take on that?
That is what we are working hard to avoid.
You have been agitating for the restructuring of the country, what is your fear that if Nigeria is not restructure would happen?
At the moment the entire country is hanging. Not even sure there will be elections, the trouble in APC is pointing towards that possibility. If there is restructuring, we may not have the agitations coming up in different parts of the country. The other time we had someone saying that the resources of the Niger Delta belongs to the entire country that was why I expressed a deep seated anger when governor Udom called him to commission a flyover project, he gladly came forgetting that the resources used in building the project is from what I and the host of others fought to get at the national conference which earned me a name “Mr Derivation” after much controversies.
What is your candid assessment of APC administration as it winds down in 2023
Does that worth the dignity of my response? Do we have any government?
Some people are in support of Igbo presidency 2023, what is your take on it?
I was among the first people that said Igbos should not allow selfish or personal interest deny them of this opportunity. Edwin Clarke and myself have been advocating for that, that is why when we heard of sudden rival in Ohanaeze ndi igbo, we say Igbos are at it again, if Igbos are given the opportunity to rule this country, this country will be returned to normalcy, as of now Nigeria is not a normal place, no benefit of any kind from government of any kind. They are dishing out figures that are entirely confusing. The exploitation is much. The level of looting in this administration is unprecedented. When the PDP takes over, we have to define and design the method of controlling the resources. At this point, the people of this country does not need government of any kind. When you take a look at the debt and the processes of getting them, you will understand what I’m saying
Among the aspirants who do you think that has the capacity to rule Nigeria
Somebody that has a proven record of integrity, Peter Obi of Anambra State. Check his antecedence, he has the pedigree to redeem Nigeria. But it’s left for the PDP to get it’s candidate.
Coming to NDDC, do you think it has lived up to expectation?
No it has not, I was in the supervisory board of NDDC during the regime of Goodluck Jonathan. NDDC has been the worst sector in the Niger Delta. How can NDDC be there we still have some life threatening places in the Ogoni land, in Ijaw land? NDDC as far as I’m concerned is a disaster
Do you agree it should be scraped?
Yes, it should and what ever funds available should be given to states, let the governors be held accountable. Something is wrong somewhere.
What should be done to tackle insecurity in Nigeria?
Let the government be truthful about insecurity. They are not telling the truth about insecurity, they know the sponsors and they don’t want to open up. They only make statements without any action. Don’t worry we shall defend our brothers.