Gov Akpabio's Performance Over-hyped – Hon Akpan
Hon. Daniel Akpan represents Etinan/Nsit Ibom/Nsit, Akwa Ibom State in the House of Representatives. In this interview with Millie Ibe, the lawmaker says that he is backing President Goodluck Jonathan rumoured re-election bid and speaks on the politics of his home state – Akwa Ibom.
Your party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has undergone what some people see as a traumatic experience for more than one year now, what can you say is the state of your party today vis-a-vis 2015 general elections?
Well, I want to correct that impression some people have. There is nothing like that, my party did not pass through any trauma, rather, what you are seeing in PDP is just an internal problem or internal challenges, which has nothing to do with 2015 general elections. I am confident that before 2015 general elections, any internal issue in my party will be resolved by the new chairman of the party. I am happy about the way the new PDP chairman is carrying out the activities of the party and I strongly believe that, very soon, he will do everything possible in his capability to ensure that the 36 states, and FCT, are well positioned to welcome those who defected to other parties.
In any political party whether in Nigeria, America or any part of the world, there must be differences and consensus of opinion in which people with diverse opinions may differ in issues. It is normal, but what makes you a leader is the ability to manage this crisis and reduce it to the lowest level. What people are seeing today in PDP is internal crisis which is being amicably resolved by the leadership of the party before 2015 general elections; therefore, I believe that people who are defecting from PDP to another party and leaving other parties for PDP should be seen as a normal political party issues that happen in any democratic setting in any nation. I have not seen anything traumatic nor crisis that will make PDP lose any election come 2015. The PDP under the leadership of President Goodluck Jonathan has done well and deserves another term.
How can you describe the achievement of your governor Godswill Akpabio for the past seven years, as some people say he is the best governor in Nigeria?
Well, it is not always in my character to criticize my governor, rather to give him kudos in areas he has performed well. He has done well so far but I want to say that governance is beyond infrastructure; performance is also shown in the way and manner you handle other issues. In Akwa Ibom State, we have a lot of issues that are not just infrastructure; you cannot base my governor's performance only on infrastructure. You have to measure his performance on other matters as I said. For example, as at today, there are lots of tension in my state concerning 2015 elections. If you watch television regularly, you will see my governor holding town hall meeting across the state and this is creating serious tension in the state. 80% of Akwa Ibom people see these town hall meetings as a way of campaigning for his anointed governorship aspirant.
In democracy, you have to give everybody equal opportunity to strive and to contest election. What we are seeing in my state today is that the governor is trying to impose his own governorship aspirant on Akwa Ibomites. I believe that this is not the true democracy we are looking for. I believe that a true democracy is where everybody will have the same level playing ground to contest. For now, our concern should centre on the welfare and security of the people; this should be our concern now, not campaigning for 2015 governorship election for a preferred aspirant. To me, that is where we should be talking about measuring performance. Measuring performances has gone beyond infrastructure. Look at the issue of security, in my state a lot of issues are not given good attention. Take for instance, the issue of kidnapping, killings in Akwa Ibom State have started again and this is what we faced in Akwa Ibom State three and half years ago; some of us were not going home because of the fear of being kidnapped. My question is: why is it that any time election is approaching, we will start experiencing unnecessary killings and intimidation in Akwa Ibom State.
As at today I don't see why my governor will go out for town hall meetings in Akwa Ibom state and people are being killed as a result of attending town hall meeting. We have recorded eight people who have lost their precious live as report by the local media due to the disagreement over the imposition of his governorship aspirant on the people of Akwa Ibom state. As I am talking to you now, the Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly is going round to propagandise to the people that the governor has passed a decision on any elected member from Akwa Ibom State who does not support his anointed governorship aspirant to forget about second term no matter your achievements. To me, this is a serious intimidation that should not be practised in a democracy. I believe that in an ideal society, people are allowed to choose who they want; not forcing somebody on them. It's undemocratic and the people of Akwa Ibom State should condemn this in its entirety.
The 7th National Assembly is almost coming to an end; with reference to the House of Representatives, what are your major achievements so far?
Well, number one achievement is that the House has been very peaceful, no serious crisis, because under serious crisis we cannot do anything. The public has accepted that the National Assembly this time has done so well on issues that have to do with the nation. As I have said in my other interviews when it comes to the issue of taking decision, the House always comes together, but when it comes to the issue of politics, we may differ in opinion because we have many political parties. People may see that as crisis but I don't see it like that; I see it as a normal order that must happen in the House – people trying to take over power from the other. You cannot sit down at home and power comes to you; you must go out and look for power.
Upon this entire acclaimed trauma in the House of Representative, the House still remains one in taking positive decisions. For instance, the Appropriation Bill the House is one. Another is the issue of over-sight of ministries, parastatals and other government agencies to ensure accountability and prudency. Our main mandate is to make laws which, I can say, we have passed quit a number of bills for the well-being of Nigerians. Lots of motions have been raised to alert some relevant agencies to step up in their functions. So this Seventh Assembly has done so well for Nigerians.