Thursday, 30 October 2014

I’m not threatened by Akpabio’s choice of successor – Larry Esin


There have been speculations about a plot by Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa- Ibom State to impose a successor in the forth coming 2015 governorship election. In a chat with Vanguard, Larry Esin, a former National Chairman of Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), who has taken shots at the governorship seat in the past, ahead of another bid affirmed that he’s not threatened by the governor’s choice of successor.

Excerpts from Vanguard.
ARE you threatened by the speculation that Governor Akpabio wants to impose a candidate in the forth coming 2015 governorship election?

The present governor has one vote and he has every right to in democracy to support whoever he wants. It would have been better if he stays neutral but he has the right to support whoever he wants and you cannot deny him that right. His support does not translate to success for that person.

On that day nobody knows whom the individuals are going to cast their votes for, the governor will not be standing by the gate to tell you whom to vote for. I am not threatened and I think everybody should go out and work.In 2006, Victor Attah had a candidate yet his candidate did not win the primaries, so I am not bothered by that. He has every right in the constitution to support anybody and that does not give any edge to whoever he is supporting over others. Our democracy is evolving and people are getting a lot more enlightened.

You remain one person that has been consistent in vying for the office of the State Governor. What are the assurances that you are going to emerge victorious this time?

I am a determined person and very objective as well. I have been very consistent. I have not only been consistent in running but consistent in what I stand for. In some quarters people say I am Akpabio’s friend, others say I am Akpabio’s enemy. I don’t personalize my politics, I differ today with the governor strictly on ideology – on ideas on how to govern. As an individual I have no hate for the governor.

As a matter of fact, we went to school together, he was my senior at Federal Government College, Port-Harcourt. Besides, I do not differ with any political office holder, including those at the National Assembly on any personal issues – it is all about ideological issues. And I think I have been steadfast in that position since 2006 and that is where I remain.

Third attempt

This is my third attempt in the governorship race in Akwa Ibom, I don’t know of any other person, except, maybe, Ben Okoko, that is running for the third time. A lot of issues, I believe, have converged that I believe would spring up (for my victory).

None of the aspirants that are contesting today have some of the experiences I have had.

What areas do you think Akpabio has made marks for which you would like to continue? And what would you say are his short comings in the course of his administration in the State and you think if given the opportunity, you will amend?

I believe that Akpabio has done well in terms of infrastructure. I give him a lot of credit in that area. To a large extent, infrastructure is the bedrock of the government, aside human capacity building. As the governor of Akwa Ibom, I will continue the infrastructure drive, but I will also put in a form of subsidy to subsidize the opportunity cost of infrastructure.

Infrastructure has its cost in the sense that, other social welfare responsibilities like health care, education and all that may have suffered. Industrialization will have suffered a bit in the last seven years of infrastructural development. So government ought to put in place a form of subsidy for opportunity cost. So I will continue with the infrastructural drive because we have not touched on every part of the state yet. My administration is going to be the first to do that.

Akwa Ibom is seen as a state that is made up largely of the tripod of Ibibio, Annang and Oron. Given that you are from Oron, could one take it that your governorship ambition has much to do with ethnic issue?

I think I am the only governorship aspirant who has been saying from day one that I do not believe in zoning, and I am not running because I am from Oron. Let me also add that anybody who comes out to contest for the office of the governor of Akwa ibom and wants to get it on the basis of zoning has nothing to offer to Akwa Ibom. Don’t get me wrong: there has been zoning in Akwa Ibom.

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