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Opposition Propaganda Will Soon Collapse-Akpabio …Says Only PDP Can Give Nigeria Democracy

Source: pointblanknews.com

Q: CONGRATULATIONS TO YOUR EXCELLENCY BECAUSE ONE YEAR AGO, YOU WERE

APPOINTED CHAIRMAN, PDP GOVERNORS' FORUM. WHAT ACHIEVEMENTS HAVE YOU

RECORDED DURING THIS PERIOD?
A: Thank you for reminding me that I was selected by my colleagues in the

presence of Mr. President, the National leadership of our great party,

members of the Board of Trustees, members of the National Working

Committee, and all the Governors as the Chairman of PDP Governors Forum.

You just reminded me that it happened on the 24th of February, 2013 and

the forum is one-year old. I am the pioneer Chairman of that forum.

You cannot talk about achievements as such because the Forum has no budget

and therefore cannot embark on capital projects. But the intention of the

forum was to reposition our party, to ensure peer review mechanism so that

the PDP governors can learn from one another, compare notes and ensure

full implementation of manifesto of the PDP. Of course, we should

guarantee food on the tables of Nigerians, dividends of democracy,

infrastructure to all and sundry, give better education, better

health-care and general enhancement of the lives of Nigerians.

I want to say that one year after, the forum has lived to it

responsibilities allotted to the forum. We have been able to create a

synergy between the members of our great party and national Assembly and

then the Governors of the PDP. We have been able to get a better

understanding, a working relationship with Mr. President who is the leader

of the PDP. We have managed to work and understand each other now better.

We held meeting with National Assembly- something that has never happened

before- the Working Committee, the PDP Governors, leadership of the

National Assembly as well as members of the PDP in the National Assembly.

You have seen that we have worked together to ensure a mini convention

that repositions our party and brought in new hands to ensure the vibrancy

of the PDP and reposition the party to win in 2015 general elections.

Despite the crack in the Nigerian Governors' Forum, the PDP Governors'

Forum has remained steadfast, together and stable and is a major

stabilizing factor even for Nigerian Governors in general. We are very

happy that that Forum has come to be. I have enjoyed robust cooperation

from my colleagues, the Governors of the PDP and I thank them so much for

reposing confidence in me and for always standing by me. A leader without

followership cannot claim to be a leader. I am so happy that my colleagues

are supporting me. Mr. President has stood behind me and the Working

Committee of our party has been wonderful.
How are we going to perform in 2015? So far we have sent jitters and

shivers to even the opposition party. They try to change names but that

couldn't work. The next thing they could do was to attempt a merger to see

if they can rival the PDP. It is not in the change of name, it is in the

content. PDP is the only national party in Nigeria. It does not belong to

anybody; it belongs to all Nigerians. Nobody can lay claims to PDP. We are

very happy with the party and all Nigerians because this is the only party

that has confidence in giving all Nigerians a sense of belonging. That is

why they could come to the South-South of Nigeria, a minority part to pick

a President in the person of President Goodluck Jonathan. This shows that

Nigerians are detribalised in nature. The idea of division only comes from

political leaders, who want to corner the wealth of the country.

There is no division in the minds of Nigerians. Every Nigerian craves for

infrastructure and good governance and the PDP is providing that. The

humane nature of Mr. President gives attention to education. He grew up as

an ordinary Nigerian; he understands the educational system and he

understands the feelings of Nigerians that is why all of us are supporting

him. In spite of the challenges, you can see that he is still focused on

ensuring that the power sector works. Now we are seeing the privatization

of the power sector, we have seen a revolution in the agricultural sector,

a lot of roads have been constructed and the railways have been

revitalized. The President understands what is going on and that is why

Nigerians are behind him and the PDP Governors are winning awards on a

daily basis; man of the year, best Governor of the year, PDP Governor and

all that.
We need to support the President; we need to focus on transforming this

country, not on ethnic and divisive things that the opposition is

dwelling. Propaganda can only sustain the opposition for a few months.

When the nitty gritty of the nation comes, you will know that PDP

Governors are behind their President and PDP will deliver in all elections

in 2015.
Q: IN ONE YEAR AS CHAIRMAN, PDP GOVERNORS' FORUM, WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR

GREATEST CHALLENGE AND PERHAPS REGRET?
A: I don't have regret. You can talk about challenges. The challenge is

the idea of people thinking that the only way they can aspire is through

the opposition. The loss of some of my colleagues who decided to defect to

opposition could be something that posed a lot of challenge because no

party would like to lose a state Governor. But then what has happened is

democracy in action.
The reality is that most of them, their deputies did not go with them and

over 90 per cent of their supporters say 'no we are not going there'. Look

at the rally the party is doing everywhere – supporters have come out in

large number to say we are not going anywhere because this is the only

national political party. Every person in this country craves for a sense

of belonging and it is only PDP that can give Nigerians that sense of

belonging.
So, the joy of it is yes the followers are still intact. The main

challenge the Forum has been the issue of defection of those few

Governors. You know doors are still open, we are hoping in the next few

months some of them will see the need to come back and join their kids and

kins because it is not easy to go and line up in another political party

when you had attained the level of a Governor.
Somebody once wrote on newspaper that Godswill Akpabio is boasting that

PDP would win. Yes! PDP is not winning because we have magic wand; PDP is

winning because of programmes. If you come to my State, you will see what

PDP administration in Akwa Ibom State has done and I have seen it in many

other states of the Federation not just in Akwa Ibom. Compare what the PDP

governors are doing in their various states with what the opposition

Governors are doing and you will be amazed that PDP will win landslide in

2015. Look at also what the President is doing, forget the security

challenges but in spite of that he remains focused. Transformation is

happening everywhere. Look at the power sector, look at the airport, the

railways are working again and the agriculture and these things were not

there before. Over 300 Almajiri schools have been built in the North to

take the children out of the street because the greatest asset you can

give to your children is education.
As a Forum, the PDP Governors' Forum is rotating its meeting. The last

time we were at Katsina and next month we should be going to Niger State

and after Niger State, we go to another PDP State. We want to go round so

that we compare notes and look at what the PDP Governors are doing, look

at areas of improvement and show that we have not only arrived but we have

bonded the PDP together – from the working committee to the President,

National Assembly and to the Governors. I can tell you that together we

will win.
Q: IT IS SAID THAT AKWA IBOM PLAYED A MAJOR ROLE IN 1914 AMALGAMATION OF

NIGERIA, YET THE STATE IS EXCLUDED FROM THE CENTENARY CELEBRATION LIST.

WHAT IS YOUR REACTION TO THIS?
A: I have seen that we have Amalgamation House, which was built by Lord

Lugard. And I understand he was living there. It is clearly written there-

the Amalgamation House built in 1914. Well, I wasn't there in 1914 so I

wouldn't know if Amalgamation agreement was actually signed there. I think

historians have to do a lot of work. I don't know whether it was signed in

Lokoja or whether it was signed in Ikot Abasi. At least, we have the

Amalgamation House, it is evident that that was where Lord Lugard decided

to build his Amalgamation House. I will invite the Office of the Secretary

to Government of the Federation to visit the Amalgamation House and try to

include it so that we can have a complete history.

We should celebrate Nigeria for being together for 100 years and not

necessary where the structures of amalgamation are located. I don't want

us to reduce the issue to where it was signed. If you look at it very

well, there are people who even argued that Lord Lugard made a mistake by

calling us Nigeria. People also insist that why must he bring us together,

why didn't he allow us to be two countries. The important thing is that we

should celebrate the fact that 100 years after we are still together.

Q: HUNDRED YEARS AFTER AS A COUNTRY, HOW WILL YOU ASSESS OUR JOURNEY SO FAR?

A: A chequered history. We should learn from Egypt and the Nile River.

People from all over the world came together and lived there because the

land was fertile and the first civilization in the world was born from

there. So, Nigeria in spite of our large size and differences (since we

are together), we have come together, we can make it work. My impression

of Nigeria is chequered history in the sense that if we had democracy all

along without military intervention the country, we would have been

better.
We have achieved a lot in the last 14 years than we did in 35 years of

military rule. That is my opinion and now we have opportunity to build. We

should look forward to the next 50 to 100 years- what would happen to

Nigeria, we should start today. If we look backward, we will have regrets.

We must go back to the basis; we must love one another, and every Nigerian

must feel free in any part of this nation. We must de-emphasise tribe and

religion, emphasise our 'Nigerianness' and give everybody equal

opportunity. We should promote our 'Nigerianess' and give everybody equal

opportunity from 2014.
Q: A LONDON-BASED NEWSAFRICA MAGAZINE HAS VOTED YOU AS MAN OF THE YEAR

2014. WHAT DOES THE AWARD PORTEND TO AKWA IBOM PEOPLE?

A: I congratulate Akwa Ibom people for that and dedicate the award to

them, particularly the children who never had hope but who today are in

schools especially those at the Divine Children Home, Uyo. I dedicate the

honour to them because with free education policy and the policies of

government today, tomorrow they have hope and can reach anywhere and

achieve anything in life in spite of the circumstances of their birth.


We must treat each other with conscious consideration
By: akoaso.HH-Germany