The Vice Chairman of Uyo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State and founder of a leading socio-political group in the state, Akwa Ibom Ofon Ama Initiative, Ambassador Udeme Ukai Emmanuel, in this interview with 9jaecho.com, bares his mind on alleged rancour between him and the Executive Chairman, Elder Imoh Okon; Governor Udom Emmanuel’s administration in three years, and other issues. Excerpt:
Good day sir and thank you for granting us your audience…
Thank you and welcome.
There have been some speculations that there is rancour between you, as Vice Chairman of Uyo Local Government, and the Chairman, Elder Imoh Okon. What is the true position on this?
We are human beings in Nigeria and in politics, people speculate rumours. For me, I am good with my Chairman having known that I am deputising him as the Vice Chairman of Uyo Local Government and he is the Executive Chairman. Both of us are working in pursuance of one goal. We are working together towards ensuring that Uyo people benefit in the three year-tenure that we will be occupants in the local government administration.
Secondly, we are working towards ensuring that our Principal, the leader of Team Akwa Ibom, Deacon Udom Emmanuel, returns to office for second term as Governor come 2019. So there is no rancour between both of us.
I don’t know where people generate rumours from, but I think they do so with intents to either distract me or the Chairman. But I stand not to be distracted because coming from a grassroots background, I know all these things are common in politics. I am not moved. I am working hand in hand with the Chairman. If you don’t see me in some occasions with the chairman, it doesn’t mean that I’m not in good terms with him. Some other things might occupy me somewhere else.
Don’t forget that before I became the Vice Chairman, I have been working with the State Government in the area of traffic control in support of the police. I’m always active in terms of crowd control in government events and grassroots mobilisation for them to know that the Governor is doing very well under the platform of the Udom Aduk Efaak movement. So I’m a very busy and committed person to the Udom Emmanuel project in delivering dividends of democracy.
What is your assessment on the Governor’s three years in office?
First of all, let me say that Governor Emmanuel is a gift from God to Akwa Ibom people. It behoves of the people to accept him. Like he often say that a job well done means more job to be done, he has done very well. It is left for us to accept that God has given him to us at this critical time of economy down turn in the country. He was supposed to pick a bailout funds but did not, yet he pays salaries promptly and as at when due. About 31 internal road projects have been recently commissioned within the Uyo metropolis. This is excluding other good road networks in other local government areas of the state. He has done creditably well.
People are talking about him campaigning for second term. He is not desperate about second term but desperate about changing the living condition of his people by ensuring that they are doing well. By making sure that Akwa Ibom is moved to the next level. Since assumption of office, Gov Emmanuel has been seen working with the grassroots. He has shown that sign of humility and a God-fearing Governor. Without mincing words, he has performed creditably well.
What plans are available ahead the endorsement rally in honour Governor by Uyo Senatorial District?
It is going to be a spirit-filled event. I’m bubbling already and thinking how I can, as Ukai Empire, mobilise at 5,000 people to the stadium for him to know that we fill the impact of his superlative leadership quality. I just can’t wait for that day.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo advised that some private security operatives should be empowered across the nation to provide sensitive information to safeguard and secure the peace of every society. What intention do you have based on this?
Thank you for that question. When my organisation swung into action in terms of traffic and crowd control in 2015, my bedrock was to make sure that I have every single personnel coming out from every community of Akwa Ibom State. My idea was not to go around with guns but for them to provide information in order to protect government facilities. If you go to some communities, you will find out that some transformers have been vandalised. Members of my organisation hint me and I relate it with the appropriate security agency who in turn swing into action.
People take Ofon Ama Traffic as a mere traffic warden, but we are doing more than what they see us. They are also working together with security agencies in the state by providing necessary security information. For a former president to say that, I think it is a plus to us because the state government will deploy an already established organisation like Akwa Ibom Ofon Ama to encourage them to do more.
How would you assess the road infrastructure of the Governor in the state?
Before the Governor commissioned the projects, I went on my bicycle to assess the project sites to see the quality of work done. The entire Uyo people are proud of him and they have resolved to vote and return him to office come 2019.
What is your aspiration after 2023? There is news making the rounds that you are making some moves to take over the House of Assembly in 2023. What is your position on that?
Any man who does not have dream or vision is a dead person. As far as I’m a living being, the only office I will not want to contest for is the Office of the Governor. Any office that Uyo people in particular and Akwa Ibom people at large deem me fit to occupy, I will take it with all pleasure.
Including the Senate?
Any office apart from that of the governor.