Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in the state, Mr. Udom Gabriel Emmanuel in a recent radio interview on Atlantic FM spoke on several issues with his plans for Akwa Ibom people being top on the list. IFREKE NSEOWO brings you excerpts:
SO MANY PROPAGANDA AND ALLEGATIONS HAVE BEEN RAISED ABOUT YOU AND YOU END UP ALWAYS HAVING TO DEFEND YOURSELF. WHEN WILL YOU START LAUNCHING THE ONSLAUGHT?
I’m sure if you do a follow up you will see that I don’t defend myself on those things. In Akwa Ibom where we come from (and even in Nigeria too), if you step out on the streets and a mad man calls you out for a fight, once both of you fight and probably your cloth is torn, somebody coming close to you will not know who is the mad man. Some of those things you see are clear cases of illiteracy, total illiteracy. How can you pick up a newspaper and somebody tells you an individual could get a loan of N450 billion? If I get such a loan every single Akwa Ibom youth you see on the street will be gainfully employed. If I could lay hands on such source of money I could do a whole lot for Akwa Ibom people because my passion is to ensure how to create wealth for our people and to make our people live a good life. How can somebody just mention such a thing without actually looking at an issue like the House of Assembly actually sitting over it? People don’t even understand. I just believe for someone to go into journalism he should be a little bit educated and exposed. It is a clear case of illiteracy, the person doesn’t even know that know that no individual in the state or under democracy can just wake up and pick up a loan. It goes through processes? Can’t the person just reason to know that even the House of Assembly will have to approve any dime you are collecting as a loan even when there is a guarantee. Udom who is not even in government, who is unemployed as at today is a total full time politician running the flanks of the state and talking to the people on what the next government will hold. Some body will just come and tell you he acquired N450 billion loan; I don’t see that to be propaganda, I see that to be totally illiteracy. The white men stratified people that you see and said there are some people that know not and know not that they know not and said they are fools so you should shun them. If the entire world says shun this set of people, that they know not that they know not, I don’t think I should join issues with those set of people. Let me also take you on; it is absolutely arrant nonsense for someone to look at Udom Emmanuel and write such falsehood. I challenge whoever has written that to come up anywhere and challenge me to it. I stand today and by the special grace of God I tell Akwa Ibom people that as at today the vacuum I have created in financial services is yet to be filled by anybody from Cross River and Akwa Ibom States. Let them mention one Cross River or Akwa Ibom person that have ever sat on the board of AFC and you pick up a local paper somebody will tell you Udom is someone with intelligence without integrity. I don’t want to mention the name of the person because there are certain things that are of national security. I can’t mention the numbers of committees somebody has actually served. Isn’t that also total illiteracy because the person does not actually know? The other day someone called me. I refused to look at it and he made a comparison, saying this one is coming for Akwa Ibom course while the other one is coming for Akpabio’s course. This is also total illiteracy. Let me say something here, any where in the world that you see success, anywhere you see good foundation, that foundation or success will be totally useless if there is no good succession. So if you see man that means you well and has come out and has laid a good foundation and said look, I have the passion, I have the interest of Akwa Ibom people at heart, after laying the foundation of this infrastructure I need someone that can take us to the next level and then create jobs and then let’s build on it because that is how all other economies succeeded. Check it out, all the developed economies that have reached where we are today (even in terms of classification of first and third world) didn’t come overnight. It was a successive consolidation and sustainable development that led them to where they are. So the question now is, ‘do we really want something good?’ And you could see that the population of those that are flaunting this illiteracy before Nigerians is less than 0.001%, just few individuals out of 5 million Akwa Ibom people. If have this set of people who know not and know not that they know not you shun them and never join issues with them. This set of people will come and tell you Udom is coming to serve a family course, does that makes sense? They say Udom is coming to be a stooge Udom. It is totally lack of what to tell Akwa Ibom people, they can’t tell the people what they can do for them. And because we know what we carry, we know the qualities of what we can render we don’t have that time. For example, if you live in an extended compound, in the morning the only tenants you see that will bring a chair to sit outside and looking for what to say are the unemployed because from morning till night they are not occupied. Those who are busy in the morning, you could see they are rushing to catch up with their businesses, by the time they come back these other ones have said whatever they wanted to say. They are gossipers. It is because of idleness. Idleness a times could be in terms of mindset. I’m grateful to Akwa Ibom people because they know the truth. They know the qualities of the person they are about to put to actually govern the state and they have gotten it right.
YOU ARE JUST COMING IN FROM THE CORPORATE WORLD, YOU HAVE NOT BEEN AROUND WHILE OTHERS HAVE BEEN AROUND FOR A WHILE AND ARE CONTESTING FOR THE SAME OFFICE. PEOPLE HAVE BEEN TALKING ABOUT CHANGE AND I WONDER WHO HOLDS THE KEY TO THIS CHANGE.
I’m sure as at today Akwa Ibom people know who holds the key. But let me also say something here that a lot people don’t know; they say Udom you have not been around, you just came in. Came in from where? You see this are things I always say that it shows whether we are broad-minded or we are still so much narrow-minded. Every single day people are moving forward, the world is becoming a global village. Because someone was not a civil servant the say you are just coming around. If you a private business and you are living within Nigeria, definitely you are not coming from anywhere, you are within Nigeria and you are within your state. As at that time people were putting pressure on me, the state was calling on me, making demands for me to run; nobody could say I couldn’t feel your presence in the state. People could see that I had a house even in my state’s capital. Coming back to change, fortunately it’s a campaign. Campaign is different from training, it is different from seminars, and it is different from different modes or methods of actually communicating to the people. When people discuss about change, change is actually a process, it is not just that single one that people talk about. It is a process. People don’t understand change to be a process. Then number two, change can be seen in two ramifications. There is a positive change and there is a negative change. If you bring in somebody today who does not have a clue on how to build, who doesn’t know that once you start developing an infrastructure you need to start looking at the economy and if the person has no clue on what to do, it will drag you down to a negative change because even the few that you have on ground will be totally destroyed. But if you have somebody who has a broad knowledge, who could understand economies, someone who could actually understand who to talk to, what to do next and how to create money, that help to bring positive change. Whether you like it or not, the bottom line of the whole thing is how you can create money to carryout development. I keep saying this, the whole world woke up one morning and started talking about financial meltdown. I keep asking the question where did it melt to? It only melted from developing economies like ours and it melted and settled somewhere. It is like if you put a candle on something and it melts, it might not even disappear, it may solidify somewhere. So where did this money that melted solidify at? And we woke up one morning and saw not just Dubai springing up but so many Emirates around that area doing well. You see other economies that were not doing so well getting stronger. So, certainly you could see that change that people are actually calling for is a process and I think the process which Chief Dr Godswill Obot Akpabio had laid the foundation is a positive change and the consolidation of it, the sustainable development of that positive change is what PDP really stands for all over the country. It’s like a frog. A frog cannot leap backwards, you can never see it. A frog only leaps forward and that is one thing people need to know. When people now say change, well it could be that they are talking about negative change which I believe Akwa Ibom people will not succumb to. We are talking about change as a process and here we are talking about positive change. When you said change, I think you are referring to PDP and in Akwa Ibom State you are actually talking about Udom Emmanuel because he is the only one who holds the key that can create and consolidate what is on ground. I think people have come to realize that.
I WILL NOW GO INTO YOUR 5 POINT AGENDA. THERE ARE TWO MAJOR CATCH PHRASES THAT YOU LIKE USING WHEN TALKING ON YOUR AGENDA. FIRST, YOU KEEP TELLING PEOPLE THAT YOU ARE COMING TO EMPOWER THE PEOPLE OF AKWA IBOM STATE BUT THAT YOU WILL EXPECT THEM TO REPORT PROGRESS. THE OTHER ONE IS THAT YOU COME IN WITH THE MANTRA OF 100 PERCENT POSITIVE FEEDBACK. I KNOW YOU DEALT ON THE LATTER WHEN YOU CAME HERE THE LAST TIME BUT I WOULD LIKE YOU TO ACTUALLY TAKE A FEW MINUTES AND DIG IN TO THAT WHICH YOU MEAN WHEN YOU KEEP COMING UP WITH THESE CATCH PHRASES?
Let me take you back on the feedback system. Yesterday, the petty business men in all the 31 L.G.As of this state came out endorsing Udom Emmanuel as their next governor and adopting Udom Emmanuel as their main candidate in this entire election. When we were discussing we also had the issue of feedback, we discussed the enabling environment that will allow their business to grow and thrive under that environment. Secondly, we also talked about financing and I put it across to them that I wouldn’t just be a governor that will put these things in place and then I go back to my office. There must be a feedback system. What is expected of me can we measure it? What do I also expect of you because I’m like sowing a seed of progress in you, can we also measure it. This is what I mean when I say I want to go down to the grassroots. There should be that feedback system because what gets measured gets rewarded and I want to say that at least there is a dividend of democracy that they are deriving from these policies that we have put in place. It will be simple policy but definitely result oriented. For example, a fisherman gets in to the high sea, he comes out and he is in a hurry to dispose of that fish because the fish could get bad any time. He doesn’t have any means of storage, he doesn’t process that fish and at that point in time who ever the buyer is that comes in there, the man just says, afterall I just got this thing from the water. He doesn’t even measure the effort, he doesn’t measure his time, he doesn’t even talk about the growth of that business, all he is after is look, God gave me this from the water, can I just quickly dispose of it so that it doesn’t get bad? That actually stifles growth. But here Udom Emmanuel is telling you no, it shouldn’t be that way. When you bring out the fish, people should be there to take this fish, process and then create a storage system. That processing will create jobs, will create wealth so that at convenience, when buyers come, you are not in a haste to sell this thing so that you don’t run at a loss, you don’t just sell at a give-away price. So there should be appropriate pricing to actually compensate them for the time, for efforts put in and for replacement and growth and depreciation of whatsoever assets they are using. That is why somebody challenged me when I had one of these local door-to-door meetings. They said that as you are coming to our community, a whole lot of these boats are bought for us by non-indigenes. Why? Because, this has been the pressure over time. Somebody getting here doesn’t even remember that the net he is using, technology is going to bring out a better net that he needs to buy tomorrow so that he can actually improve on his catch. This is what the next system should look into, how can I actually create wealth for this people, how can I actually bring in people. I can’t exhaust these things in a single radio program. That is why I’m looking forward to creating what is called a manifesto night. We must also look at the problems we are having today with our lighting system. The electricity is an issue. The present administration has invested whole lot of money. Today Ibom Power Plant is generating 310megawatz. I believe with 110 MWH if we were allowed to run it up to the distribution level as a state, I can assure you that we would have light 18-20hrs on an average everyday out of 24hrs.
SMS from listeners
UWEM JEREMIAH: With the current serious economic constraints posed by nose-diving oil price, the federal government is aggressively working towards diversification and job creation, agro-production and processing and the creativity industry are other areas we tend to have strength on whereas the future of previous and current administration to fully tap from these areas neglecting the funding of agro-development programmes such as FADAMA which our neighboring states are really benefiting from, how does he intend to right the wrongs of his predecessors in these areas and attract more unemployed youths into the agro business? I have been able to record the campaign promises of both APC and PDP governorship standard bearers, anyone who wins and fails to fulfill at least 60% of his promises at the end of 4 years would have me personally use my little capacity as a youth to campaign against his re-relation come 2019. So if he wins, he must not fail. Kindly help me tell him that.
WHAT IS YOUR REACTION TO THAT SIR?
To Uwem Jeremiah and to Akwa Ibom people, if you listen to the nature of what we are saying, it is totally different from promises. These are plans. I keep talking to people on probably how we use words. We are discussing plans, we are discussing blueprints, we are discussing something we have actually articulated and even taken through implementation processes and it is not just somebody coming to promises. If he listens to us very well, he should be able to actually see through what we are saying. These things are no rocket sciences, we are putting a process towards what we understand very well and we have passion towards doing it. Take for example he is talking about agric, he doesn’t know that anywhere we go to that is our major focus area that we are actually intending to use to create a whole lot of wealth and employment for the unemployed youth. What will it take? All it will take is the co-operation of everybody to actually make this thing move but we have the ideas and what it takes and we have the investors who are on standby and he should be rest assured that a vote for PDP would see some of these and let him follow through. He is talking about campaign promises, we are discussing plans, we are not just making empty promises. We are taking what we have on ground to actually move towards what we need. So if he follows us very well, we are saying, what do we have and how can we use what we have to achieve what we need? We are not going outside what we have at all. Somebody somewhere is making promises upon promises based on what you don’t see. I am telling you, I have a fisherman in the high sea and you keep buying fish and you are eating fish every morning. I say that fish is not properly priced for my man to be able to actually live the kind of life I want him to live. I want to create appropriate pricing for that fish. How do I achieve it and I have just analyzed the process of achieving that so I don’t see that as an empty campaign promise. That is purely a detailed plan articulated on what you need to do, it is not rocket science. So I would not just need someone to come and remind me after four years on how to get that done. So, Uwem Jeremiah, be rest assured that this are detailed plan that is well thought through and I keep using one word to Akwa Ibom people that there is a difference, a times you make plans but the next man you are going to have Udom Emmanuel knows one word that is called ‘execution’. So I have a very good background on execution. So, be rest assured that execution will be done at a very low level of error.
IFIOK UDOH IN HIS SMS SAYS “THE FG ACCORDING TO TODAY’S VANGUARD NEWSPAPER LOSES ABOUT I BILLION EVERY DAY TO RICE IMPORTATION. THE FG HAS PROMISED TO PUT A STOP TO THIS SOON. SIR HOW DO YOU INTEND TO KEY AKWA IBOM INTO THIS PLAN CONSIDERING THE LARGE HECTARE OF ARABLE SWAMP WE HAVE IN MBIABED IKPE IN INI LGA FOR RICE CULTIVATION?
Ifiok Udoh and other Akwa Ibom people, today without somebody probably saying he is just promising, I have the present chairman of Ini of LGA, Etetim Anwatim. If you get across to him, he can discuss with you. Today, we have potential investors for that rice belt. And today when I was speaking, I said, that over the years, previous administration at the federal level have been talking about the quality of rice that we can actually get from that area but it is only that a lot has not been done in that area but the only way can get out of that quackmire is look for who can we get that is a strategic investors that can actually come and turn things around and as at today I am discussing with the executive chairman of that LGA (even when I am not yet the governor) to see how some of those investors who are my friends all over the world can come in. Two have indicated interest but one is so much having a capacity to do what we intend to do. He is a Japanese. I speak here and I mention names. You can crosscheck this with the current chairman of Ini LGA. We cannot come and rely totally on federal and statutory allocation of funds. That is where the networking will come in, that is where you will know who had stood all over the world to speak at global investors’ forum, who are those that have e-mails of investors in this world. No economy in the world can make an impact that we intend to make in this part of the world with just government funds. You most attract investors. An investor will look at who is there at helms of affairs. Today, line up all the candidates of the entire parties, only one candidate where all over the world they will tell you he is an expert in corporate governance and that is Udom Emmanuel. I don’t just say it. I have certificates to show you. I have everything to show you to that effect. Acclaimed, renowned, crowned, certified corporate governance expert. Show me one of the candidates that can actually do that. So when we are talking, we are talking with quality, we are talking with capacity, we are talking with what we have on hand. And make no mistake, we are pursuing most of those things, we actually know it deeper than you think and I think we have a solution. Last time somebody pushed me during a live TV programme to actually mention one of the key investors that will come in to make things change and I stand here again to promise Akwa Ibom people, if I have the level of co-operation I need (which I’m sure I will have) from the local communities and from the local government areas, in two and half years the price of garri in this state will reduce to at least 50% because of what we have on hand. There is no rocket science about it. It takes me 9 months to harvest garri, it takes me 4 to 5 months to harvest corn, so it means in a year I can actually do two seasons of corn and at least one season of cassava and tell me with the level of mechanized faming that we are bringing in how that will not change overnight. I don’t know what else to say but I want to believe that people can see through what I’m seeing. Let it not be like those that were sent to go and spy on the promise land. Akwa Ibom is God’s own state, a state that is so much loved by God, a state that has almost everything. And all we are after is to just come and put this thing to run and once it runs people will see the positive change – consolidation and sustainable development that will come out of it. I think that is what I am seeing here, I don’t know what others are seeing. But I see a promise land of total fulfillment in terms of what the quality will bring. So I thank you Ifiok Udoh.
OK NOW, TALKING ABOUT THE ISSUE OF ATTRACTING INVESTORS. I DON’T KNOW WHETHER IT IS ABOUT ENTHUSIASM, WHETHER IT’S ABOUT BEING POSITIVE-MINDED THAT YOU ARE WINNING THE ELECTION OR IS ABOUT PASSION OR A COMBINATION OF BOTH THAT DRIVES YOU TO DO SOME OF THE THINGS YOU ARE DOING EVEN WHEN YOU ARE NOT YET IN OFFICE. I UNDERSTAND AS WE SPEAK THAT YOU ARE BUSY ENGAGING INVESTORS IN ANTICIPATION OF YOUR SWEARING IN AND SOME OF THE THINGS YOU HAVE SAID HERE YOU HAVE NOT EVEN WAITED TILL MAY 29 YOU HAVE EVEN STARTED DOING THEM. I RECALL YOU FACILITATED THE ETHANOL PLANT WHILE YOU WERE STILL SSG. THE OTHER TIME YOU WERE HERE YOU TALKED ABOUT BRINGING AN INVESTOR THAT SHOULD BE ABLE TO SET UP AN APC ASSEMBLING PLANT IN AKWA IBOM AND YOU HAVE JUST MENTIONED ANOTHER OF YOUR PLANS FOR INI - THE RICE PRODUCING AREA. IS IT A COMBINATION OF THESE FACTORS; IS IT PASSION THAT HAS DRIVEN TO DO ALL THESE THINGS THAT YOU EVEN FAIL TO REALIZE THAT YOU ARE NOT YET GOVERNOR?
I said so that if you go back in time even right from the Bible God will pick a leader based on time, capacity and passion. So the whole three qualities run through my veins every second of the day. I sleep and think of Akwa Ibom’s future. I gave you story and other day how purely by God’s grace that I walked into an admission. Because as at the time I was seeking admission into the university through direct entry I had a Cambridge certificate but I didn’t have any sponsor. I was good enough but I didn’t have anybody. So I just looked back and say that it was purely by the grace of God that I got into university because even with my good qualification I would have missed that admission that year. And to an Akwa Ibom child, what can we actually do to cement the future, that an Akwa Ibom child can walk into any of these leisure (let me use that word ‘leisure’) and without sweat and the only thing we can do is to come back home and see how we can use the network of what we have. Let one say something here. The passion is there, the capacity is there. What do I mean by capacity? Let me not go into the literary meaning of capacity. I have just made a statement that in all the candidates that are coming out, let one of them come out and say look I can show any means where the entire world is saying that you are a corporate governance expert. Today, an investor can only follow who they know is an expert in corporate governance. An investor will only have trust on who they know understands the language of business. I keep saying this; if you have never managed a kiosk you cannot manage a multi-national. If you have never done business in this world that have yielded dividend to people, if you come and talk about dividend of democracy and you can only spell dividend, you don’t know what it means. You don’t know how it comes about, you don’t even know how to measure it. So these investors just look at and say oh my God can we have this man as SSG? Look at the governor, look at the passion, look at the development of the state brought about by the present administration and bringing our man, somebody that we know, somebody who has an e-mail we know, somebody that we know his phone number, somebody whom we speak the same language, that is what attracted them and even as I am sitting here, I can tell you I have not less than four who are even looking beyond the election. We had a meeting last week and some of the Akwa Ibom people were there. We actually had an Akwa Ibom man talking about how we can resuscitate the rubber plantation because the world is growing. What we think today would have actually boom and become a big industry. I don’t think we followed up on it. These are things that people are interested because they know the man that is coming in is speaking the same language with them, the man understands business. This is somebody that will know what to actually give in terms of environment in order that he can achieve results. So, I think that is the basis on which most of them are getting attracted and more will definitely after the election.
TALKING ABOUT MANAGING A KIOSK, I READ SOMETHING ON THE NEW MEDIA THE OTHER DAY AND SOMEBODY SAID YOU HAVE NEVER MANAGED A KIOSK SO YOU CAN NEVER BE A VERY GOOD MANAGER OF THE RESOURCES OF THE STATE.
That person does not understand the word management so I might not be able to use this radio programme now to teach him what management is all about. So, I can leave that person to his very narrow-mindedness. Every single person, every single art, every single platform you have in order to execute or perform all those kind of managerial responsibilities is first of all called an ‘employee’s platform’. So ownership is totally different from management. So let him know the difference between ownership and management. Take for example right now, there are a lot of Nigerians that own oil wells but they have never seen raw (crude) oil before. That is pure ownership. But you cannot at the same time talk about a man who is a total technical person in terms of exploration. I mean how can you say that man doesn’t know how to explore. So, they are two different things. Go back and tell that person he doesn’t understand the real meaning of management. Tell him that ownership is different from management.