Okon Bassey in Uyo
The Speaker, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Mr. Onofiok Luke, yesterday expressed concern over attempt by the opposition party in the state, the All Progressive Congress (APC) to use federal might to intimidate the ruling People Democratic Party (PDP) and the citizens.
Luke spoke against the recent invitation of members of the Governor Udom Emmanuel’s political campaign group, the Divine Mandate Organisation to Abuja, by the Inspector General of Police (IG) for questioning which the Speaker was equally involved.
Strongly condemning the invitation, the Speaker tasked the opposition party in the state not to hide under any guise to create political tension, saying the APC should not be afraid of competition if they are popular among the people of the state.
“No one can use the office of the president under the guise of politics to intimidate us; not even the state security agency. This is my message for Akwa Ibom people and the teeming supporters of the Peoples Democratic Party in Akwa Ibom State.
At the meeting with the IG, the Speaker said the APC was challenged that “if you are popular, stop using the state security apparatus to try to intimidate us.”
“The more you try to intimidate us, the more resolved that we are to defend the mandate of Governor Emmanuel. If you are popular, come back home to Akwa Ibom and campaign.
“Don’t behave like children who will go to strike and start a fight and then run to their father. If you are popular, come back to Akwa Ibom and campaign. Don’t make Akwa Ibom look like all we have are petition writers.” Luke stated.
The Speaker and the campaign DG, Otuekong Idongesit Nkanga, state commissioner for environment among others were recently invited by the IG to Abuja based on a petition written by the chairman of APC in the state, Mr. Ini Okopido.
“On getting to the IG’s office, I was confronted with a petition written by the state chairman of the APC, addressed to the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and minuted by the president himself for investigation.
“Parts of those very frivolous allegations were issues about comments and billboards. They just decided to put names together without stating exactly what anybody had done. They lied and said I was on a campaign trail threatening that I was not going to allow a candidate of the opposition party in the state to campaign freely and openly.
“And I said they should come out with evidences and facts concerning where I ever made such statements. They had none
“Again, and very importantly, the speed with which that petition was minuted by the presidency to the IG to be treated, if this same speed could be employed in other areas of need, we would not be having security challenges in this country again”, Speaker Luke noted.
The Speaker urged the Presidency to always attach the same speed to other matters of importance in the country, positing that if such speed had been in the government in treating things, the clean-up of Ogoni land would have been completed by today.
“I wish such speed could be employed, we would have had the clean-up of Ogoni by now. If this speed were employed in the award of contract for the dualisation of Calabar-Itu road with a spur from Ididep, by now we would have been driving on that dual carriage way.
“So let that speed with which the presidency minuted that frivolous petition with trumped up charges and allegations be applied in areas such as poverty which we have in Nigeria.
“Akwa Ibom people respect the president and Commander-In-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. We respect the president, we respect his office. His office should therefore not be used as the office of the Intimidator-in-chief.
“It is the office of the commander in chief and within the ambit of the law, I say it clearly and I said it at the force headquarters, as law abiding citizens; we will use every legal means to resist every attempt to cow or intimidate the PDP and its supporters in Akwa Ibom State.