In this interview with Daily Sun, the State Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Ini Ememobong talks about how Governor Udom Emmanuel has delivered on his campaign promises, his fears about the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and how Udom’s godfather defected to APC.
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As the elections approaches, what is your party expecting?
We expect that it should be rare, because the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), coming from the history they have inherited should be able to conduct election that is free, fair, credible and peaceful. They just inherited a very recent history, so, I am not sure that any Nigerian expects them to do less.
But whether they have the capacity and political will to do so is doubtful because when you hear that the national chairman of INEC is meeting with the Chief of Staff, to the President at a time like this, and the exact details of such meeting are not made available, it begins to affect perception.
Especially considering the length, the current administration is going at the federal level in a bid to keep power. For example, you have WAEC bringing the present’s School Certificate result to him at the villa. This administration will go down in history as the most law disobedient administration, even including the military era. If they have the power to amend the constitution and suspend the people, they would have done that with the executive order.
So whether INEC will have the capacity to withstand the pressure that the ruling party will bring is doubtful.
What are you doing as an opposition to checkmate all of these?
What else do we have to do than to raise alarm and draw the consciousness of the press and the international community. And then mobilise our people and sensitise them on that. Those are the only things that we can do because, we cannot just go into the situation where we endanger the lives of the people in an excessive manner. Because, when desperation sets in and people behaves in an untoward war, it endangers the lives of other people and we cannot be drawn to situations where we lose our sanity.
That is why we are drawing the attention of the press, the international community and the people to these issues. We are also hoping that the INEC will double their efforts. Why do we still have card readers malfunction? And they have four years to prepare for elections? They must be able to ensure that the issues around collation are resolved.
When people win elections in units and results are to be collated, and there are changes between the polling units and collation centers, Nigerians are aware of these. We can’t keep doing it that way. We must come to a point where votes count.
Down to Akwa Ibom state, are there things that the electorates expect from your party that you have not been able to meet?
Well, for every election, a candidate or a party will be measured by the promises they made. Here, we ran on a 5-point agenda, which is encapsulated into infrastructure, job creation and expansion of existing infrastructures. Now when you look at the opinion of the political space and the 5-point agenda of the governor, you will discover it speaks to prosperity.
This is why we ran on industrialization because there is no way you are going to create industries without creating jobs. Even at that, you have to deal with political inclusion, because it brings stability and provides security. So jobs have been created eloquently, industries have come. And it will interest you to know that since Akwa Ibom was born, this is the first time the government is bringing industries. We are not talking about reactivation industries but fresh industries that are running.