What has informed this meeting that a few members say is a positive movement?
Movement can be in any direction, positive or negative, but ours is a positive movement in the progressive direction, suggesting that we are advancing from where we have been to where we want to be. Of course it is obvious, first by the very code of the progressive-minded members of the APC, you will know that they will always be a robust agitation in defence or against positions taken by men. It is such mental articulation that brings about the best in a man’s psyche; it is the basis on which whenever we engage ourselves, especially in the APC, we come out with the absolute best. That is why there is such a large crowd here at our party’s engagement with members. You can see that decisions reached here have been well received.
But some party members insist you have embezzled N350 million, can we say this is positive movement on your part?
If there is any such issue, it will suggest that I have hurt members of this party and therefore deprive them of their own due. One way to answer to this is, by the response you have found in this meeting, would you think that the reaction who have been robbed, would be as positive as that? Wouldn’t it also suggest that a meeting summoned by me, would not attract rancour enough on the behest of that type of allegation? And you know this was only a subset of the meeting, I held another meeting earlier at the secretariat with all the chapter secretaries of the party and it was harmonious. When you ask yourself the import of such allegations, you need to understand the underlying elements that informed such spurious allegations and those underlying elements should cause you to ask a few questions; who are those making the allegations? What do they want to achieve? Why are they making the allegations on the pages of newspapers? There is a procedure in any system for addressing issues of this nature and my failure to answer to any of these allegations is because I am ethically guided to know that there is a procedure in organised systems on how to answer to any issues arising and I will do that through the appropriate quarters and at the appointed time, indeed, I will be dignifying blackmail if I attempt to give public response to issues that do not exist.
Cross River is a PDP state and people say the opposition in the state has been nonexistent. With your party’s victory at the centre, will your party become alive to her true responsibilities as an opposition party in CRS?
The first misconception is that CRS is a PDP state. If you say it is a PDP state in the sense that it has been governed or ruled by PDP, you are reasonably right; but if you say it is a PDP state because Cross Riverians have embraced PDP, then you are misleading the issue and I will give you proof. The first proof is, the acclaimed winner of the governorship election in CRS has been talking to me not to go to court. Is he doing this because he is confident that if we go to court, he will authenticate his votes? The second index is that did the PDP supporters who attacked APC candidates in places like Yakurr I constituency and several other places in the state during the elections do that because our candidates are weak or strong? You are also aware that in my constituency in Yakurr LGA, elections were declared inconclusive and in about nine polling units of my locality, elections did not hold there but INEC wants to go there and re-conduct the elections and are excluding these units. Does it suggest to you that the PDP and her acolytes are comfortable enough that they can win and that is why they are excluding these units? Now if you place these indices on the table, you will have an objective view about whether PDP is really popular or not. The party just functions with the manipulation of election figures, what they did in CRS is the same thing they did in Akwa Ibom and Rivers states. Unfortunately for us, the day they were filling out results in a hotel in Port Harcourt, a policeman at the hotel who was not on their side was informing me and I sent a text message to INEC telling them this is where the PDP people are and this is what they are doing, filling result sheets. I did not realise that the message did not transit until the next day when I found out that it was a failed message. The three professors who returned elections in CR, Rivers and Akwa Ibom, did you not see hoe suspicious their performances were? Finally, I think before you say CR is a PDP state, it has to be qualified so that people will have a proper understanding of what you mean. It is so much of a PDP state and the party has let students of the Cross River State University of Technology remain at home since December last year and their lecturers are owed salaries and allowances? Government rushed and paid salaries just before the elections to appease the people, let us watch and see, between now and May if salaries will be paid. As an opposition party in the state for now, we will do not just our best but something better than the PDP can ever imagine.
What will the APC do differently?
Our manifesto is our creed and all that we will want to do is in it. You can see that in states where APC is in the saddle, the people are voting and returning our party even in the face of acrimony and electoral fraud to stop them at all cost. They have a believe in our ability and this has come as a testimonial, we cannot fail.
Are you aware that CRS is the third most indebted state in Nigeria? What is your take on the Debt Management Office report that placed CRS there?
It is unfortunate that we are the third most indebted state in Nigeria and this is the direct consequence of our borrowing to feed and not to invest disposition. We have not borrowed with the clear intention to invest and this is the worst case scenario. States like Lagos which is number one on the list cannot be threatened because her debt profile is cushioned by her investment profile, she will offset her indebtedness, and we have more than enough work to do in CR. I hear Ben Ayade is talking about a debt buy by whoever. Now, we must understand that a debt buy is an investment, the only difference is that it is a long term investment by the buyer; we need to ask Ayade the terms of this intended debt buy so that we will know if Cross Riverians are not once again being veiled with wool. If the people are coming to buy the debt, are they investing or showing charity? Do we know what concessions have been made? Let us not be deceived by the rhetorics of those who think we are ignorant.
Can you comment on the Calabar Media City and the Calabar International Convention Centre, two projects that have been trumpeted by the Imoke administration?
Hmmm, the Calabar Media City is something we must clearly consider as governance by deceit. Did they not take a loan from First Bank just to construct a roundabout? Have they not varied the contract for the construction of the Airport bye-pass without any structural addictions to the project? The CICC is the consequence of a lack of articulation in governance. People unfortunately in this country enter into governance by default, because they just desire to be famous or important. It is because we have no vision and when another man produces a vision, we tend to want to inherit it without understanding the mission behind the vision. At the point at which we fail, we begin to give excuses that for me sum up the lack of articulation displayed in these projects.
Quite frankly, there has been no vision in this state in the last eight years; otherwise, this state would have been different. CICC is a good investment but not in a state like Cross River where there are no intervening opportunities that can take a man across the state. If you are coming to Calabar, you are coming here to do a thing or two and leave, this place is not like transit hubs like Dubai or other places that are intervening centres of economic, social and political relevance. Not even air traffic to Calabar was considered and you can see that this wasn’t even considered, all that has been expressed in these projects is the inarticulate disposition of a government and how funds can be pilfered. The question of ability must be brought into what project decisions we make, I mean, who will leave Le’Meridien in Uyo and come here for a conference when the oil is in Eket and Akwa Ibom has support facilities to keep those going there to do business; we must be reasonable.
How are you addressing the issues that seem to polarise your party’s membership in CRS?
Our members are growing above enlisting in rancorous circumstances and that is the understanding I have with them. Chapter secretaries have passed a vote of confidence on my Executive without any lobby or coercion, which shows that all that seemingly happened was just a storm in a tea cup and that is why I am not frantic with my response. Going forward, I give you and the good people of CRS the assurances that in 2019 and going forward, our party will claim her mandate in this state like it has done at the centre.
In one line, assess www.calitown.com as a parting shot?
I am impressed with www.calitown.com and the fact that it is credible.
© 2015, Admin. All rights reserved.