The crisis arising from the expulsion of five members of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly has raised the political tempo in the state to feverish levels.
The State commissioner for information, Mr. Charles Udoh in an interview responds to the developments.
By HARRIS-OKON EMMANUEL & CHIOMA ONUEBGU
On the crisis in the state House of Assembly?
The action of the five former house members is best described as a poorly scripted comedy movie. It’s a sad reflection of the intellectual capacity of the expelled lawmakers who decided to take laws into their hands with the help of the police instead of approaching a high court of law to seek redress.
On Governor’s intervention in the House crisis?
The visit of the governor to the House of Assembly was clearly in line with his position as the chief security officer of the state. The Governor has a moral and constitutional responsibility to legally protect lives and properties in the state.
The matter of federal might
We are all living witnesses to the well documented antics of the APC in the state geared towards stoking the embers of violence to pave the way for them to take over control of state apparatus and influence election results. The APC in the state has never lost an opportunity to beat the drums of criminality and violence while openly bragging about their plans to deploy federal might in the struggle for power.
Recall that the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly was invaded in the early hours of Tuesday, November 27, 2018 by thugs of APC dressed in military uniforms and under the protection of the Nigerian Police on the orders of the Akwa Ibom State Police Commissioner.
This action was to facilitate the illegal and unconstitutional entry into the hallowed chambers by the five former members whose seats were earlier declared vacant by a Federal High Court in Uyo.
However, normalcy was restored following the timely visit of the Akwa Ibom State Governor Mr Udom Emmanuel.
It is pertinent to note that 13 APC thugs dressed in military uniforms and armed with AK47 rifles were apprehended by law abiding citizens and handed over to the police. But it defies logic that these hoodlums were set free without due process of investigations by the police.
Recall that a few days before then, a section of the perimeter fence of the Assembly complex was pulled down in the dead of the night by people suspected to be APC thugs as a prelude to facilitating the invasion.
Prior to these developments, the Police on the orders of the IGP had invited and detained the Akwa Ibom state commissioner for Environment and Mineral Resources and the Chairman Uyo Local Govt area over infractions of billboard approvals and regulations by the APC.
This action was preceded by the invitation of the leadership of the Governors’ Campaign organization for interrogation in Abuja of the same subject. It is however mind boggling that the IGP didn’t deem it fit to send a special squad from Abuja to investigate and apprehend the hoodlums who set ablaze a police station in Okobo, before breaking into the local INEC office to steal PVCs.
Injunction against factional speaker?
Just like in the case where five seats were declared vacant, the rule of law will also subsist in this case. Any person or persons violating the orders of the court would be facing a possibility of being charged with contempt of court.
Udom’s chances against Ekere?
The scorecard of the Governor is evidently impressive despite the challenges of an epileptic national economy. The Governor has delivered across all indices of his five-point agenda. In the last three years, Akwa Ibom has been consistently rated as the second destination for foreign direct investment in Nigeria with an array of over 12 industries powered through and investor oriented approach.
All major secondary healthcare facilities have been fixed and over 40 containers of medical equipment have been imported.
The price of staple food has dropped drastically. The transparency and integrity of governance in Akwa Ibom state has been unparalleled.
Place these achievements side by side the credentials of the APC aspirant; who controls the budget size of nine states plus 2% of the earnings of the international oil companies with no visible projects/achievements to show, you would notice wide disparities.
It’s also instructive to note that unlike past MDs of the commission who resigned their appointments before diving in to contest for political office, Mr Ekere is still holding on to his seat.
This is questionable. Nsima and his cohorts are obviously not gearing for elections but to collude with security agencies to make the state ungovernable in the hope that they can persuade Mr President to declare a state of emergency to pave way for easy manipulations of election results in 2019.