The 2011 Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) governorship candidate in Akwa Ibom State, Senator John James Akpan Udoedeghe has declared that come 2019 only the kind of opposition he will offer Akwa Ibom state can give the opposition victory in the governorship election of the state.
Udoedehe while interacting recently at his Afaha Offot residence with newsmen said it is hilarious how some persons he called PDP decampees have hijacked the party from him, noting that “it is unfortunate that they are underestimating and undermining me. But everyone knows that when it mattered most; when the people of Akwa Ibom State needed somebody to oppose the victimization and oppression of the previous administration, I offered myself. Some of the people who benefited from our party after the merger which brought ACN with others to form APC were even against me. ButI have no problem with that, God has not rejected us. It is simply that the leadership of the APC at the national has been confused and deceived.
The national APC leadership listened to names like Obong Attah and Atuekong Don Etiebet who went to tell them that Umana Umana had money to spend in 2015 election. So they took the ticket from me and gave to him. I simply stayed away after this happened. They went and lost the election. Instead of leaving me alone, they cooked up a story that I took money from Godswill Akpabio and then betrayed them. Do they know the meaning of betrayal? If I joined them to do the things they wanted me to do for money, I would have betrayed the people who died in our struggle in 2011. These people, Etiebet and others really underestimate me and this is why they will continue to meet their waterloo. How can they be asking me now to come to the mainstream. It’s funny that they who are visitors to my party are calling me to mainstream. When we sacrificed our lives, they were with Akpabio. They supported him for us to be killed” he stated.
Udoedeghe went back memory lane to recall how he and his followers in 2011 put their lives on the line, to be on the side of the people maintaining that “I remind our people today that they should remember our sacrifices, how those who have now returned to APC masterminded the attack and killing of our people in Itu, Ibiono Ibom and Ikot Ekpene, just because at that time they were benefiting from government, But we stood for the truth. We insisted that kidnapping and killing of our fathers and mothers must stop, we insisted that looting of our common-wealth must be put to an end. For this we were slaughtered. I was arrested and locked in an underground cell at Area 10 with condemned armed robbers. A law was adjusted by the House of Assembly for Akpabio to imprison me, fifteen days renewable”
The former Senator who noted that opposition is not learned or offered by people who are money mongers, said “our people got a bit confused about the issue of money but they now know the truth. There was no issue of money between me and them. People lied to them that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu gave me N2 billion but when Asiwaju came here, I made journalists talk with him, he said no such thing happened. So we are back on track and we will offer real opposition. You can see all they tried to do in the 2015 election and after that, they went nowhere. They couldn’t sustain it. Opposition does not succeed when you were part of the government you want to tackle. We are back with the right force and we are ready to move in now. You will see what is called real opposition now”
Udoedehe who said he will contest the 2019 governorship election on the platform of the All Progressives Congress assured that he will probe the previous and present administration to retrieve all the money allegedly looted in the state.
According to him, there is no reasons why a state that has earned up to N4 trillion in nine years should have citizens that are still begging to eat while the state’s wealth have been used to develop other people and their states
He noted that projects such as the Tropicana entertainment centre, e-library and others ought to be probed, alleging that these projects were used to embezzle the funds of the state.
“We are not fools. How can somebody say he spent N157 billion to build a cinema hall .Films are watched on YouTube now; you don’t need that kind of money to watch films. We can build twenty industries with that money. We must recover all the money” he stated.
“I am the only one in the opposition who can probe the PDP administration in this state. I always walked out of government when I noticed the policies are anti-people. You cannot be opposition and you are campaigning to build roads or give bursary like a gentleman, when the people’s money have been embezzled. That was what Umana Umana was doing the people wanted him to speak for them but he couldn’t. You must get all the money of the people back. Don’t you see how President Muhammadu Buhari is using the funds recovered from looters to fund the 2017 budget? This is the character of the opposition and this is the force that Senator Udoedehe is coming with.”
Udoedehe alleged that the 7 appointees of the APC in Akwa Ibom State have further divided the party saying “When they came to us in 2015, they brought no one. They came to shine with our glory; we said no and we are still saying no. But because Bola Tinubu did injustice to me and has suffered similar injustice in Ondo where the people he brought to politics, like Fashola betrayed him, the PDP decampees in Akwa Ibom got appointments. They have not considered bringing our people in, people who own the party I mean. Rather they bought PDP people with bad character credentials as SAs. But they want us to be quiet. In any case, getting appointments does not mean they are on ground. We will show them we are on ground during our party’s nomination.
Udoedehe took a swipe on former petroleum minister, Atuekong Don Etiebet saying “It is Amadu Attai, Chairman of APC that decided to make him caucus chairman, there is no such thing in our party.
Amadu Attaai is trying to sell the soul of the party. How can he give empowerment form to our people and ask for money. That is not in the character of APC. He brought Etiebet and made him caucus chairman. Etiebet cannot fit into that role. He cannot offer the fatherly umbrella. A man who joined APC and because Martha Udom is from Oruk Anam, all the chapter chairmen of Oruk Anam defected to PDP. What kind of APC caucus chairman is that? He wants to come and glory with APC in Ibibio land; let them go and make APC work in Annang land first before coming here”