PDP’s victory in Akwa Ibom no fluke – Umana | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe


PDP’s victory in Akwa Ibom no fluke – Umana

Posted: Apr 29, 2015 at 12:55 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Mr. Aniekan Umana is the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Information and Communication.  He fielded questions from newsmen in Lagos on the outcome of the just concluded governorship election in Akwa Ibom State, calls by the APC for its cancellation, and other issues. TEMIDAYO AKINSUYI was there. Excerpts…

Some Nigerians have shown a lot of concern over the conduct of the governorship election in Akwa Ibom State. Also the AU monitoring teams said there were severe problems in the state, such as ballot-snatching and so on. What is your take on this?

The noise about Akwa Ibom election is not correct. The position of the AU monitoring

Aniekan Umanah

Mr. Aniekan Umanah

team is not correct. The correct position is that of the domestic observers because those were the people who actually went to the villages. They went to every unit and they are Nigerians accredited from every part of the country by INEC; they are not from Akwa Ibom. We didn’t know who they were but they were seen at the polling units because I remember they were moving round and most of them were moving with the NUJ in their buses, moving with the media in most places they visited. But also, I think the AU team talks of reported cases of violence, so maybe people have filed petitions because it may not be as a result of what was witnessed by them. Clearly that does not hold water and I think nobody should run with that impression. The most important thing is that elections have been conducted and won and, like I said earlier, if the election were conducted 10 times, every week, the PDP will win 10 times in Akwa Ibom because there is a foundation of performances, there is foundation of inclusiveness, forget about one or two people who are saying they are elders and are making noise, who have become septugenarian undertakers, addressing press conference here and there. If you see those undertakers, these are people who worked with the same government; these are people who earned very big contracts they did not execute.

How strong is the governor–elect to carry on with the task of ruling the state?

He has the qualities. You must also understand that even in corporate  governance, for you to rise to an executive director of an organization like Zenith Bank and be on the board of IFC, and on the board of Zenith Uk, Gambia, Sierra-Leone and all of that, you must understand that the quality is not small. It may not be as big as the politics of the state, but you see, it is essentially the same thing, it is power game.  Power is power, no matter the colouration, power is power, even in church. So even in the family, the struggle for the control of resources and the allocation of resources, that is power. So that is why it is concentric conspiracy for the control of the means of livelihood and distribution of resources. So Udom has that capacity in his corporate endeavour and when he came in as Secretary to Government, he also showed capacity and ability to run the government. In fact, it was one of the reasons why the decisions to support him was not difficult. You could see that he is firm and fair-minded, that I can say from the stand-point of knowledge. He set in a process when he was Secretary to Government that changed a lot of things. And when we left for the primary, it was not difficult to get support, no matter what anybody says. Over 1,300 delegates went for the primary election, about 500 were statutory delegates. Even if you say the other ones were adhoc delegates, the statutory delegates are delegates who anyone could have worked on to get support. If you now get over 1,200 of the total votes, it just shows that you have support no matter how you want to look at it.

The former governor, Victor Attah, when he spoke with journalists said when he went to his polling unit to vote, the NYSC told him that there were no voting materials. They also told him that they went to where they were to get the materials and they were told that some people had carted away the material, that is why he said there was no election in Akwa Ibom state?

That is his opinion. At his level and position, he should be able to call INEC and ask them that question because the materials belong to INEC. If assuming you get to a place and there is no voting, it is not even a matter for the press. The first thing is to pull your phone and call the Electoral Officer  and ask him that question and based on the answer he or she gives, you know what to say. And then the electoral officer should be able to tell you whether he has released materials for the unit and should tell you the supervising presiding officer. So it is neither here nor there because anybody could say that, because he was part of the conspiracy for disruption. They say they are members of Board of Trustees of the PDP but then they were supporting Umana and they were working for APC along with Don Etiebet, General Akpan and so on who was caught after he abducted 10 youth corps members and kept them in his house in the village and were thumb printing for the APC. They were arrested with thumb printed ballots. And they said they acted under duress and Umana denied him in public.

Now, the APC is calling for the cancellation of the election, what it means is that they will go to the tribunal, do you expect any threat?

I said it earlier, it is poverty of knowledge, and it is display of illiteracy because how can you call for cancellation, cancellation of what? If election has been held, you cannot call for cancellation of election. If you have any issue, you go and petition at the Tribunal. As for that, we are not bothered about the Tribunal, it is a known process, it is a rule that we know it is constitutional. So everybody knows that from the beginning. If there are complaints, people will go to the Tribunal. Afterall, there was a particular one who never came for the primary, he didn’t contest election, but he stayed in court for four years up to Supreme Court, what is this man’s name? Frank Okon. He didn’t even come to the primaries. If you read the judgment, the Supreme Court said he must have been a spirit for him not to be in the primaries and score the highest number of votes. The court said you must be a spirit.

It means if the matters get to the Tribunal, there is no cause for alarm?

No, no, we are not worried at all; there is no cause for alarm. We would defeat them roundly whether at the Tribunal or anywhere whatsoever. The matter would die at Tribunal level because they can’t even go further because they are the ones who don’t have any issue. You can put the election 10 times from today in Akwa-Ibom, we would win 10 times. As I said earlier, there is a condition, there is a background, and the performance of PDP government under Governor Akpabio has called for a kind of support that we have seen, so we don’t have any problem. Even in the Presidential Election, we supported President Jonathan head to toe, and we have no regrets whatsoever. We took it to the very last point, we also delivered as promised.

There is always conflict between governors and their successors after handing over? Do you see that happening between Akpabio and Emmanuel?

I don’t see any problem. Everything on earth depends on doing the right thing. Once you do the right thing, you would not have problems, once there is mutual respect, you would not have problems and you know the disposition of Governor Akpabio, he is very friendly, he has large heart, he is somebody who doesn’t want to see anybody in pains. The in-coming governor is also a very detailed person; he is somebody with very great depth; he is somebody with very great humility.