One time Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and member of the Akwa-Ibom State Elders Forum, Senator Anietie Okon in this interview, scores Governor Udom Emmanuel high in terms of performance within his first 100 days.
But the Senator is displeased with President Muhammadu Buhari alleging certain constitutional breaches which should provoke his impeachment. He is worried that the cardinal points that sustain Nigeria as one cohesive nation are being threatened by the President’s approach to governance. Excerpts:His assessment is anchored on the governor’s aggressive pursuit of industrialization, employment generation and wealth creation.
By Tom Moses
What is your assessment of the government of Udom Emmanuel led administration in the state as he marks his first 100 days in office?
Governor Udom Emmanuel is really living up to the stalk of the main thrust of his promise which is primarily focused on wealth creation, employment generation and industrialization and we are well ahead of any other person and any other state that today, in the first 100 days of this administration, we have had cause to be ecstatic about what the future holds for us.
Ground breaking ceremonies
The ground-breaking ceremonies of two very vital industrial investments; the truck assembly with all its ancillary services and the new laid factory which will enhance the production of assorted household appliances and utilities, you are also aware that that same factory will benefit from the exploitation of clay deposits around that local government just as we are looking at upgrading a number of moribund industries; one of which is the review and perhaps, involvement in the resuscitation of the two major plants in this country; the Nigerian Newsprint Manufacturing Company-NNMC and the Aluminium Smelter Company of Nigeria- ALSCON for aluminium smelting.
Given the uncertain economic situation in the country, do you think the programmes of Governor Udom Emmanuel would not be truncated?
That is rather a simplistic question. We are talking about resource management here and deployment of resources to the best advantage of our dreams and you do know that necessity becomes the mother of invention and not just invention but also the mother of initiatives.
What is your view on the alleged skewed appointments so far made by President Muhammadu Buhari?
Well, you know that is directly in breach of the constitution. The President maybe, heard what I said recently in an interview that he has been operating as a sole administrator and there is no provision in the Constitution of this country for the business of governance to be conducted in that manner.
Again; even in the attempt to people his administration, what we have had is a clear breach of the Constitution.
The very foundations of this country are very clear. The foundations demand a recognition of the differences that have ensured the emergence of a country and it is unacceptable where you fail to recognize the federal character of our make up as a country. This is not only condemnable but poses real danger for the future of this country.
So, what would you say generally of his first 100 days in office?
I have pointed out where there are fundamental breaches and failure in his approach to governance of this country. The cardinal points that ensure that this country remains one cohesive group, one cohesive nation are being threatened by the lopsidedness and cavalier approach to the appointments he is making into the federal system.
Given your position as a major stakeholder in the Nigerian project; what will be your advice to the President at this point in time?
I am waiting for him to fail but for the sake of the country; I hope not. I am waiting for him to continue to make mistakes so that we can find a window to begin to breathe the air properly and to rise up and create a viable alternative to the APC’s change mantra government.
We have to be honest about that. When a man stands up and says that we should not expect; after becoming president that the various sections of the country should not expect equal treatment, I put this question to you; what do you make of a statement like that?
Don’t you think he may have said that in terms of the capacity of every state to provide the caliber of persons needed in the various positions in his administration?
No, that is not correct; he was very specific that those who voted for him and those who did not vote for him cannot expect equal treatments. That is an impeachable offense.
Do we conclude that there is no hope for a better tomorrow as far as this administration is concerned?
There is a lot of hope, we have seen democracy put to test and it is surviving. In a reverse manner, from a clearly reversed position, I appreciate the victory of the APC.
Breach of the constitution
If you look at it, it is a replication of the experience the citizens of Ghana were exposed to and they are better off for it because they were able to compare and come to the decisions of which given the circumstance, by the time they went for election, they had a better option and they chose the opposition that produced the Late Professor John as president.
So, in a nutshell, President Buhari is operating in breach of the constitution, he is in breach of the Nigerian Constitution by the way and manner he is approaching governance and that is an impeachable offense