Hon. Bernard Ambrose Udoh, a three-term member and former Chairman, Akwa Ibom Parliamentary Caucus of the Federal House of Representatives, is a chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom State. In this interview with IDONGESIT ASHAMERI, he speaks on the forthcoming Local Government Elections in Akwa Ibom state, the Udom Emmanuel administration, 2019 and the strength of APC in the state, among other sundry issues. Excerpts:
APC in Akwa Ibom has been inconsistent as far as its decision to be part of the December 2, 2017, Local Government Election is concerned, what should we expect from the APC?
Let me use Mkpat Enin as a yardstick. Mkpat Enin is APC. The fact that PDP think they will carry election materials and run from the APC will not happen. It is not going to be a tea-party for the PDP as usual. So, whoever thinks he will carry election materials and run, probably to go and fill in his house, should have a rethink because it will not work. Let such a person not even dream of it because it will not work. We will all go to the field and exercise our strength. APC is working and APC is working hard because we want to take power back. We do not just sit down and talk, we are being persuasive and the people have seen the need for a change, why they should leave the PDP. I spent 12 years in PDP and I left when I saw that the party was running on a different ideology and the same thing goes to so many other persons.
Do you really think APC will fly in Mkpat Enin Local Government Area?
That is as certain as daylight, we will win. The first day I went to settle dispute in Mkpat Enin, 27 people decamped from the PDP and as we speak, just two days ago, a lot of people have decamped from the PDP, I mean those that really matter in Mkpat Enin politics. It is not about talking, it is about building homes and that is what I have been doing all these while. My pedigree is what has endeared me to the people and there is no Clan in Mkpat Enin that cannot boast of my goodwill and when I speak, they listen.
The name Bernard Udoh has been severally described as a fighter and a force to reckon with, to others, a great mobilizer. Looking at 2019, what should we expect from Bernard Udoh?
First and foremost, the Governorship has been moved to Ikot Abasi Federal Constituency and I am supporting my brother, Obong Nsima Udo Ekere, the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and by the special grace of God, he is going to be the next Governor of Akwa Ibom State. We are not just saying it, we are working.
You sound so certain. In a state where people say Akwa Ibom is PDP and PDP is Akwa Ibom, don’t you think the state might not be a stronghold for your party, the APC?
Do you stay in Akwa Ibom? You saw what happened in the past, hope you saw what happened during the litigation period between the APC and the PDP? I hope you saw the mass exodus that happened during that period? Now, why should you be in PDP when Akwa Ibom is the number one in revenue collection from the Federal Allocation? What Akwa Ibom collects in a month, some states don’t collect in one year. Do we have anything to show for that? Have you seen anything tangible to justify that? Have you been to Tropicana? It is abandoned. Have you been IBB Way recently? It is abandoned and we have one river there, I don’t know what it is called. That is PDP government and Akwa Ibom people cannot be deceived any longer. We must use our own resources to develop our own state because an outsider will not come and do that for us.
The general calculation is that the Uyo Senatorial District will rather prefer Governor Udom Emmanuel to run for a second term so that power can rotate to them in 2023. Don’t you think your support for Ikot Abasi Federal Constituency Governorship might scuttle that understanding?
Listen, power coming to Ikot Abasi Federal Constituency in 2019 will not stop Uyo Senatorial District from running in 2023. The issue is that Eket Senatorial District has eight years to run and when it is 2023, Uyo Senatorial District will also run. There is no trouble with that. Ikot Abasi Federal Constituency will only complete the eight years, that is statutory of Eket Senatorial District. Let me tell you, PDP is using that analogy to confuse the people of Uyo Senatorial District that if power shifts to Ikot Abasi Federal Constituency, that we will take another eight years. That is not true; we will certainly give Uyo Senatorial District power in 2023. So, let the PDP not use that one to deceive anybody. It does not hold any water.
Internally, is the APC speaking with one voice?
Friction is a common thing in every political party. Have you not seen that in the PDP? You saw what happened in the PDP where they had two factional National Chairmen with their respective followers. Political parties are like organizations where you have people of different characters and mentality coming together for a cause. The good thing is that there is always a way of settlement, even families do have dispute and at the end of the day they settle. So, whatever happens in any political party is expected.