Recently, the All Progressives Congress (APC) National Working Committee (NEC) met in Abuja and gave party executives a life line for one year, which will expire by June, 2019. But Chief Edet Etim, the APC leader for Akwa Ibom and Cross River States in Lagos State, describes the action as unacceptable and unconstitutional.
What is your take on the tenure elongation granted to APC party executives across board?
It is a surprise to me. As a bonafide party member who has suffered along with others to build the party to a level of national reckoning, I frown against this developments and I am sure, majority of our party faithful and indeed Nigerians who are keen in the development of our democracy are not in support of this decision.
It is against the party’s constitution and any practice that does not support party internal democracy should be condemned in its entirety. PDP defectors to our party are the problems but we will not accept this decision. We agreed upon the formation of APC to stop injustices being practiced by the then PDP which was the ruling party at the time.
To be very honest with you, this is not the type of change we promised Nigerians. But I am sure President Muhammadu Buhari and our national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu have genuine intention for the people of Nigeria but the cabals are bent on tarnishing the image of the party most especially those that defected from other parties to join APC. They are the ones taking major decisions now and their actions are affecting the running of the party and the national government.
Is there a way out for this?
I want to use this medium to advise the national leader of the party and the president to reconsider the decision and call for the need to conduct the national congress to elect party executives from the wards to the national level so as to elect fresh leaders that will take the party to greater heights. I want them to disband the cabal and not impose them on the majority of our party faithful.
These cabals do not know what is happening in the wards, chapters and states level. Therefore, there is the need to inject fresh blood into the leadership of the party, which is very imperative so that it will not be difficult for us during election time and campaigns. Let them know that it is the grassroots that suffer for the party as foot-soldiers and not the Abuja cabals. Let them look beyond Abuja cabals and see how the genuine members can be integrated for optimum result during elections. The cabal are selfish and think of themselves only.
Should Buhari reshuffle his cabinet too?
Yes, it should be noted that during the Obasanjo and Jonathan regimes, cabinet reshuffle was a regular exercise, sometimes two or three times before the expiration of a term. But the APC federal government has not reshuffled since the appointment of the present cabinet members. It is unfortunate that some of the ministers still in the cabinet are openly being accused by Nigerians as being corrupt. These set of persons by now should have been shown the way out and probe for corrupt practices by relevant institutions of the government.
The current fuel scarcity has dragged on for several months, what do you think should be done to avoid future occurrence?
Unfortunately, the trend of fuel scarcity was evidenced in the previous regime headed by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and was condemned by Nigerians and the APC. In fact APC promised such occurrence would be a thing of the past. But unfortunately, the current APC national government is now the worst culprit. At present, my State, Akwa Ibom is currently buying petrol for N185.00, which is far higher than the approved official pump price of the product. The end is not even in sight and that to me shows the leadership is clueless. Is it not an act of hypocrisy on the part of the APC government and those saddled with the management of our oil resources?
What is your take on the national reconciliation committee headed by Asiwaju Bola Tinubu?
It is saddening to note that the work of that committee is being scuttled by vested interest within the party who do not want peace for the party. You could recall that Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu wrote a letter recently to the president complaining of the attitude of the party chairman, Chief John Oyegun whose stance he alleged had stalled the work of the committee. Instead of the party leadership looking into the complaints, Chief John Oyegun and other party executives are being rewarded with tenure elongation till June, 2019. Is that fair at all?
I am convinced of the ability of our national leader to deliver on the assigned responsibility and we are indeed very lucky to have chosen him for the job. I want to appeal to him to visit Akwa Ibom State that is currently embroiled in party crises with factions now in litigation at the federal high court in the state.
In my interview with your reporter published in the Daily Sun of 24th February, 2018, I did say the then ACN during the 2011 general elections won the Uyo House of Assembly seat and the federal House of Representatives even when the national government was controlled by the PDP with Ebele Jonathan as the President and Godswill Akpabio as the governor. But with the defectors from other political parties especially from PDP to APC, the party could not even win a councillor seat in subsequent elections.
That really exposed the bad intentions of the defectors to our great party. It is a well-known fact that a child brought from outside by a woman to her new husband is always the problem of the family. Let us beware. But I can assure you that if the reconciliation committee is going to do a nice job in Akwa Ibom and put our house in order, we will definitely win the 2019 election.