Former National Vice Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) (Southsouth) Chief Edet Nkpubre dumped the party for the All Progressives Congress (APC ), shortly before the last general elections, saying it lacked internal democracy. In this interview with reporters in Uyo, the Akwa State capital, he argues that the interest of the Oro nation would be better served under the APC. He also predicts that there would be a rerun governorship election in the state. 

Do you think the invasion of Akwa Ibom Government House by the DSS defied the governor’s constitutional right to immunity?

How can the people talk about immunity as a personal thing? It is personal only to the person of the governor, not to the environment. Immunity does not stop investigation. It only stops prosecution. So, if there are killings in government lodge; if arms are kept in government lodge, I don’t think that those saddled with the responsibility of keeping this country safe and secure have a genuine reason not to go and find out. That is investigation and so, nobody should complain if Governor Emmanuel is being charged to court, but he has not been charged. The DSS operatives has gone there to do a job, but whether they are satisfied based on information that took them there or accomplished what took them there is another matter. The DSS do not publish their findings on the pages of newspapers. It is not a political party; it is a security outfit. I object to some people’s request that the operatives should tell the whole world their findings.

Do you read any political meaning to that invasion?

I don’t. What is the state government saying is wrong with the operation at the Government House? There is nothing wrong with that. Nobody has been arrested; nobody has been prosecuted; nobody has been harassed. They went for the information they needed and left. So, why should anybody complain?

But, some PDP elders in the state point fingers at the APC and accuse Buhari of using the DSS to aid Umana Umana to hijack power through the back door.

I don’t think so. After all, we know who was in control of the DSS here. Somebody was totally in control of all the security agencies in the state, including the police in the recent past. We in the APC did not kill ourselves. I remember we visited the then Commissioner of Police. He told us that even in the United States of America (USA), there are no free and fair elections and that we should not expect a free and fair election in Akwa Ibom. It was as simple as that. So, why is the PDP complaining about an election that was not free and fair in the first place. They are crying that Umana wants to use security agencies to take over government by force because they expect a rerun. They are afraid. If the court orders a rerun, in a free and fair election, we will thrash the PDP. Everybody in Akwa Ibom knows that the current government is Akpabio’s third term and they find it repulsive.

You were a chieftain of the PDP, which was at the helm of affairs at the federal level for 16 years. So, what has your experience been since you defected to the APC?

I am now a chieftain of the APC in Akwa Ibom State. I resigned my membership of the PDP at my ward level before the last general elections and delivered my local government for the APC.  The PDP had played its part for 16 years and it is up to Nigerians to put them on a scale with what Buhari has done in a couple of months. Without being biased, I think the scale is tilting in favour of Buhari, who has performed creditably within the very short period he has been in government.

The level of defections for selfish interests is becoming worrisome. Can you tell us why you dumped the PDP at the time you did?

It is not about my personal interest. I have said it many times that I am an Oron man. I am fighting for the interest of my community. The then governor, Akpabio, said that Ibibio has ruled and Annang has ruled and the next in line is Oron, but he didn’t allow Oron people to even survive in the primary. He picked Emmanuel, an Ibibio man, from Zenith Bank and handed him the ticket. By the arrangement of things, an Oron man cannot governor Akwa Ibom State in the next 60 years. I am now with the APC, supporting somebody from Uyo Senatorial District. After eight years, Oron people would have a chance to contest for governorship in Akwa Ibom. I am in the APC because the party cares for the interest of my people; it will stop the kind of impunity that we witnessed in the state in the recent past. With the APC in power, gangsterism, killings and maiming of people will become a thing of the past. The APC is the party that’ll fundamentally change the state. That is the change I crave for and not my personal interest. Let me state this clearly, politics has never put food on my table. I left my profession and businesses to come into politics in 2008. Everybody here knows that I never benefited from a single contract from the government.

Governor Emmanuel is believed to have performed in his 100 days, especially in the areas of industrialisation and infrastructural development. What is your assessment of him?

Governor Emmanuel has not done anything. He has no money to do anything. The state’s debt profile has overwhelmed him. He is one of the governors who have refused to declare what he inherited from his predecessor in terms of assets and liabilities. I don’t see this government as Emmanuel’s government. I see his tenure as Akpabio’s third term. In the appointment of commissioners, I see it as Akpabio’s third term; in his continuation of marginalising Oron, I see it as Akpabio’s third term; in his programme for the entire Ibibios, I see it as Akpabio’s third term; in allowing ethnic disharmony, inequity and injustice, I see it as a continuation of Akpabio’s policy. He has not addressed anything; he is still addressing issues like Akpabio.

But, he has attracted an automobile assembly to the state, re-activated some ailing industries and constructed roads…

All the people are seeing and hearing are flag-offs and ground-breakings. There is nothing working in those places at the moment. After all, Akpabio did a ground-breaking ceremony at Ibaka Deep Seaport in 2009? Where is it today? You see these are shenanigans built around the politics of possible rerun of governorship election in 2015. They know there would be a rerun. It is part of their campaign strategies for the anticipated rerun. They don’t have the resources to do anything. Akwa Ibom State is heavily indebted. Only fools would be deceived by such antics.