Barrister Ini Ememobong is the Publicity Secretary of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in Akwa Ibom State. In this interview, the lawyer turned politician, talks about the last local government polls in which his party won all councils, the 2019 governorship elections, Governor Emmanuel/Senator Akpabio simmering feud, among other topical issues in the polity. Excerpts.
By Harris-Okon Emmanuel & Dennis Udoma
How do you react to the allegations that your party imposed all its candidates during the recent local government elections in the state?
Before the elections, we went round the ten federal constituencies campaigning and informing the people on the role that zoning will play in our nomination process. When we finished that, people bought forms and we took out air time on radio and television stations and spoke about zoning on the fact that, we expected the nomination process to be fair.
The people from the various places had their zoning system, and everything was well documented. People bought their forms, and we did nominations in about 31 local government areas at the Uyo township stadium. We invited the press, and we have pictures, videos, and foot-ages of how nominations were conducted.
If that is an imposition, the simple thing is that, yes, the majority imposed popular candidates on the minority because when the majority have taken their positions, the minority will have their say. The minority can choose to redefine election to mean imposition. If that is what they meant by popular participation, then the imposition has been redefined.
It is also claimed that your party rigged the elections?
Well, the first thing for you to know is that elections held. I was in Use Ndon Village, Unit 7. I can speak about elections there in Ibiono Ibom local government area. I couldn’t have been everywhere at every time but, from phone calls and reports that were brought to me, elections held everywhere in Akwa Ibom State and that PDP won.
For a party that up till Thursday before the Saturday’s elections was still in court, the question I now have to ask you is; was that party preparing for the election? And the major plank of their prayer was the stoppage of the election. So, a party that was in court Friday and the election was Saturday; was that party ready for the election?
So, when you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail. That party was only preparing to stop the election and not preparing to go for the election. They tried to stop the election and they couldn’t, and so, the only result they could have had was to fail.
That is why they resorted to armed violence, trying to burn down AKISIEC office.
Given this, how do we avoid the sceptre of violence in our future elections in the state?
Go and preach that to them. You know the party that orchestrates gangsterism. Tell them to go and campaign to make their party popular. For example, we are doing sensitization now, we run a radio programme, and we have news strings circulating, we attend to interviews as we talk with you like this, and we are doing door to door campaigns.
During the last Christmas, only members of my party, PDP went back home and were talking to people, sharing gifts. Do you think those things don’t count? People do not think how much you know until they know how much you care.
What is your reaction to claims by Senator Akpabio at the end of last year that his Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District is being marginalised by the Governor Emmanuel administration?
Why don’t you also talk about the next day that, Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District PDP stakeholders went to endorse the governor for a second term?
Political watchers and pundits say the move was a face-saving?
Why do you think the other one was not a face-saving, who is now accredited to determine which one is face-saving and which is not? Which one should a reasonable person hold unto; is it a later act or a former act?
One is contingent upon the other. One may have been an exclamation of ignorance; or it could have been an exclamation seeking knowledge and another, a proclamation of wisdom. So, which supersedes?