Michael Etuk is a geologist turned politician presently aspiring to win the governorship ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. A former commissioner in the State Universal Basic Education Board and subsequently, the Akwa Ibom State Local Government Service Commission. Excerpts:
It is alleged that an aspirant has been anointed for the governorship. How do you intend to compete with him?
People tend to forget history and that history can repeat itself. In 2006 when we had some other anointed candidates and that the incumbent now was not ranked amongst the first ten. But people were with him who believed in his project and kept working towards the actualisation of the dream. Well, over here, we trust a lot in God and we believe that God controls or sits in heaven and affects a lot of things that happen in the affairs of men because He says that “ He seteth one up and putteth down another”.
And so, we believe that at the end of the second term tenure of the present administration, whosoever was marked by God to be the next governor of Akwa Ibom State will emerge, and not one who was tipped by any individual.
Politically, we know that human factors are important but God uses people. The human factors in politics are those God uses to actualise His plans for the people.
And so, whether anybody is anointed or supposedly anointed or not makes no meaning to me because I believe in destiny and there is nothing that happens in life that is not pre destined.
Whosoever is blessed to be anointed by man is fortunate enough but the person that is anointed by God to become the governor of Akwa Ibom State is the most favoured.
Would this then be the end of god-fatherism in the state?
I have never believed in god-fatherism from the onset or else we wouldn’t have been key supporters of Gov Godswill Akpabio in his heydays.
And if you also look at god- fatherism in the history of politics in Akwa Ibom State, there is no way Obong Victor Attah would have been governor because there were people supposedly more grounded than he was, and rooted in the system who were also supposedly anointed. But he came out tops and changed everything.
The incumbent has won several awards for his achievements in office. How do you intend to build on what he has done?
My key focus will be in the area of job creation. And as I speak, we have designed a number of ways with which we will use to push this idea or programme forward.
Industrialization, in fact, will be a key part of Akwa Ibom development come 2015 because other infrastructure are on ground. Agriculture is something we cannot overlook, same for human development.
There are ways a government can create an enabling environment that will enhance human capabilities and potentials. People will have a platform and the ability to express themselves economically, and so will create employment. We are also looking at our coastline. Anyone who wishes to develop the state must also look along that line.
I remember way back then when I learnt that a friend’s father earned as much N1m a day from fishing. So, we will be looking into fishing, seriously. We, therefore, have all the opportunities to develop that industry in Akwa Ibom which will definitely enhance the welfare of the people of the state.
The prime target of the administration would not be just to concentrate all our efforts on infrastructural development but to also increase our economic base. We want to see Akwa Ibom as the trigger of the macro economy for the coastal area of Nigeria and also neighboring countries, even Cameroon. We want to see a situation where the things we manufacture in Akwa Ibom will not just be restricted to the Nigerian market.
Your grace factor acronym seems to point to the divine in your ambition.
I knew that I would be contesting for the governor of Akwa Ibom state in 2002. As at that period, we were only youth group leaders for His Excellency Obong Victor Attah. Suffice to say that even though in 2002 I knew that I would be the governor of Akwa Ibom state, I didn’t come out to contest then because I knew that there were other people to come before me both as teachers and some as role models which would help shape my vision and programmes for the process.
So that is what warranted my choosing the phrase “The grace factor” for this project because I believe that God has prepared me enough, since 2002, to this point to be able to deliver quality service to the people and when I mean quality service, I am not talking about the people. I am completely devoid of the politics of deceit and financial rape of the people.
I am talking about truly thinking and working towards the service of the people that I would be given the opportunity to serve.