Ini Okopido is the All Progressives Congress Chairman in Akwa Ibom State. Speaking about his party in this interview with Daily Sun, he said the Peoples Democratic Party in the state is like a leprous party that people are running away from. The one-time chairman of Akwa Ibom State Revenue and Expenditure Committee also said that Governor Udom Emmanuel’s administration has not constructed any major project in the state.
What do you think is the magic for the post primary calmness in your party?
We, the new leadership of the party call ourselves divine leadership. We were divinely selected using the instrumentality of leaders in Akwa Ibom back in APC to bring all of us on board. So, we have a special mission designed by God to restore dignity in Akwa Ibom through APC. We may not have done much but at least we have conscience, we try to move the minds of Akwa Ibomites.
As an opposition party, what gives you hope that in Akwa Ibom where the PDP has ruled for over 17 years, that you will break that jinx?
Well, it’s as certain as death, that the APC will definitely by next year take over Akwa Ibom State. The reason being that the man In the saddle right now is helping us a lot by not performing. He hasn’t done anything to warrant another tenure. You see, when they talk about continuity in office, you are supposed to earn it, it is not automatic. If you are elected into an office and you have done well, the people will access you and say please go on. Now everybody that brought in Udom into power have deserted him because he failed the people that brought him and he has failed the Akwa Ibom people. So the man is even helping us through his nonperformance. If you have been following trends of events in Akwa Ibom, you will see the spate of the decamped people running away from PDP. It is like a leprosy party that people are running away from recently.
What are your major fears as elections approaches?
You see, there is something about politics and election, even when you want to rig, you rig where you are popular. Even though that is not allowed, you cannot do it where you are not popular with the card reader system and the kind of things that we are witnessing. You see, President Muhammadu Buhari is like a God sent to Nigeria. It is only under his leadership that we are witnessing the kind of elections that we have been having. After his own election, the subsequent by-elections that we have been witnessing in almost all parts of this country are peaceful. Sometimes even the APC will lose and he will congratulate the man that wins. Apart from Osun where there is tribunal, every other person is satisfied even with Ayo Fayose’s state. What President Buhari has done in our state, we need to reciprocate that.
You talked about nonperformance of the governor which you see as an edge, what other edge do you have over PDP?
We have produced beautiful candidates for the next election, starting from the governorship candidate and the deputy. These are politicians that have done very well in their areas of endeavors. Nsima Ekere was the deputy governor of Akwa Ibom State, Chairman, Independent Power Plant. And currently, he is the managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). Since he was appointed as the NDDC Managing Director, we have witnessed unprecedented development in the region. So, we believe that he will translate that in Akwa Ibom.