Joe Effiong, Uyo
Former Akwa Ibom State governor Obong Victor Attah has sensationally disclosed that he is still haunted by his fight for resource control, which was aimed at letting states manage their own resources.
Although he never expatiated on the manner, Attah told Daily Sun that the most disappointing aspect of the struggle was the lack of appreciation of his efforts by fellow Niger Deltans.
“I told you that people actually thought they should just stop me because they suspected I was planning secession. So, that was a very grievous thing to do to anybody who is fighting for the cause of the people. It is still haunting me, if you like.
“The problem is that even the Niger Delta people don’t even appreciate what I did for them. The then president of Nigeria shouted at me; he was just pointing his finger at me in Port Harcourt on the day they were giving flags you to party candidates. He said I was the cause of all the militancy in the Niger Delta, and that I was the one who put the resource control issue in their heads, thereby making them to be fighting and blowing up pipelines. I was accused of starting the militancy in the Niger Delta, simply because I preached resource control.
“If I have any regret, it is because the people of Niger Delta don’t seem to appreciate what I went through; I’m still fighting it. The next level is this federalism thing. Let me not say it is my regret, but a lot of the people of the Niger Delta don’t even appreciate what somebody went through to make them what they are today,” the former governor lamented.
Attah regretted the practice of abandoning projects by succeeding regimes in Nigeria because they feel if such projects were completed, the credit would go to the regime that started them.
“Please, let us get it that government is a continuum. The fact that somebody started something and you come and complete it does not mean that nobody would recognise the role you played. So, completing the seaport, the science park, and re-establishing the university of technology are a continuation of government.
“We don’t need another conventional university for goodness sake. It is the technical; it is the university of technology that we need. If you know the programmes that we were going to mount in that university, believe me you would shed tears that it didn’t happen. When you finish those things, people would say yes, this man came and built on a foundation that was established.”
Making reference to the last general elections with particular attention to Akwa Ibom, Obong Attah said it was much better than the previous ones when people were not even allowed to vote.
“I am very happy with the results. I’m not talking about how it was done, or how it wasn’t done, but, at least, this time I voted. The last time, I wasn’t allowed to vote. So, I have to say it was very good. But apart from that, certainly in Akwa Ibom it was very good.
“There’s no question about that. People voted. It was the people who put Governor Udom Emmanuel there for a second term, and we know it. I’m not going to talk about it nationally because I wasn’t there. But, as far as I’m concerned, the results are very satisfactory,” he enthused.
When asked whether his successor, Senator Godswill Akpabio’s failure to return to the Senate after defecting from PDP to the APC was his nemesis, Attah retorted: “What is nemesis? Don’t force me to repeat what I have already said. I said, Godswill Akpabio was a very uncommon governor who has suffered an uncommon defeat and rejection at the hands of the common people of Akwa Ibom State.
“What that means is that people have taken over and he should be glad that people have taken over. Whether that’s your definition of nemesis, I don’t know. But as far as I am concerned, that is a reality.”