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With Akpabio as leader, APC will take over Akwa Ibom in 2027

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Chief (Dr.) Usoro I. Usoro was Chief Press Secretary/Senior Special Assistant on Media to former Akwa Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio, CON (now President of 10th Senate). In this interview with our reporter, he spoke about his former boss, his uncommon transformation spirit and political developments in the state and Nigeria. Excerpts:


Sir, it is nice meeting you after a long time. Can you talk to us about issues relating to Akwa Ibom and the country considering your stint as Chief Press Secretary to former Governor Godswill Akpabio who is now President of the 10th Senate?


As you said , my name is Chief Usoro Isaac Usoro,  the former Chief Press Secretary to the then Governor Godswill Akpabio. I come from Akwa Ibom State, Odoro Enen in Eket to be precise. I’m a private person now into consultancy and business and researches. I have a Ph.D in Socio-Political Philosophy. I don’t know what else you want to know.


As Chief Press Secretary to the former Governor Chief Godswill Akpabio, since you left office nobody has heard from you again. How has it been?

Since I left office, I thank God for sustenance and provision. I don’t know if it is true that nobody has heard anything about me because, I think those who have been around me have heard things about me. And since I am not a career politician and probably I have not been involved at the national stage, maybe that’s why it appears nobody has heard things about me. But, I have been around. After leaving office as Chief Press Secretary, the then Governor appointed me as the Senior Special Assistant on Media. I served him till 2010. So, when his tenure ended, of course I am not a career politician but a professional working with politicians, so I had to lie low. Then, I went into the academics. I have read up to Ph.D level and started writing. I just finished one of my books titled: “Philosophy, Dialogue, Peace and Conflict Management”.

I have been around engaging in some relevant things. During the last political season, I had the privilege of serving as the Director of Communications to Senator Bassey Albert, who contested for the office of Governor on the platform of Young Progressives Party  (YPP) in Akwa Ibom State. So, I have been around doing a lot quietly, I only speak where and when necessary.


Why did you abandoned the YPP and moved to APC?

It was a strategic and expedient movement. In fact, I moved to the All Progressives Party (APC) because, as a person, I couldn’t have gone back to PDP. When I was in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), I contributed my quarter to it for the growth of the party in the state in one way or the other. Yet, I was not appreciated. So, I didn’t feel going back to PDP. Any party is a platform for political power but then, I think it also depends on who is in the office. It is not mainly the party, maybe if it is in a clime where parties stick to ideology, maybe it will make a difference. But here, it doesn’t work that way, it depends on who occupies the office, who wields the power. So, to answer your question, I left YPP for strategic reasons.


Do you join a party because of what is has to offer or because of those in the party?

When I worked with the then Governor Godswill Akpabio, it wasn’t because of the party (PDP), it was because of who he was and I believe, still is. I worked with him as a person and not the party. Thank God, he performed creditably well. The sobriquet that you hear all over the place today “the uncommon transformation” I started it as his pioneer Chief Press Secretary because he turned part of the state to a construction site. I am happy with what is happening now because our focus then was to project him for the national stage as he performed creditably in the state.  He gave us a lot to use to make his reputation management very easy. That was why the job was a lot easier.

When Senator Bassey Albert contested on the platform of YPP, he called upon me to come and manage his media and I answered the call and did my best. I did that because I believed and still believe in his capacity. You earlier asked why I left YPP: when Senator Bassey Albert (OBA) left YPP the party became virtually death. He had earlier moved from the PDP with a huge number of supporters to YPP. He strengthened and financed the party, so when he left it was virtually dead and empty. It could have been senseless for me to remain in YPP and I didn’t also want to go back to “Egypt” as I didn’t gain much.

Don’t let anybody deceive you, politics is about interest. The fact that I worked with Governor Godswill Akpabio who was in PDP was because, he picked me as a  professional. That was a divine arrangement because he could have picked just any other professional.  He appointed me l, not the party (PDP). Similarly, it was Bassey Albert, who appointed me as his Spokesman and not YPP. So, when he left, I had to also move to where I see more potentials.

If you say you moved; did you just moved to APC because your former boss (Akpabio) is in APC? Is that why you decided to stand with him now in APC?

Now! You can look at it from two angles. Like I said before, I couldn’t have gone back to Egypt and I couldn’t remain in YPP unless I didn’t want to be relevant politically.  Perhaps, that’s why I would have stayed back and be out of the scene completely. But, because as a philosopher,  I know that as it is commonly said, “we are all political animals.” Human beings, for as long as they live in the society (the polis),  must be in politics one way or another.

So, my next move was to a party with a national grip on issues; a party which has multiple potentials,  instead of staying back in the party like YPP that is almost going down completely.

On the other hand, you asked if it’s because my former boss is in APC. Yes, of course! Even in football, a winning team attracts more supporters, a team that has more potentials attracts more followers.  So, it makes no sense to see somebody like Senator Akpabio at the helm of affairs nationally and still stay back in a dying party or eating my vomit. Don’t forget that in Akwa Ibom State here, we have not been blessed very often with leaders who play politics to the national stage. Sometimes,  we have people who rise to the National Assembly only to return to their wards and villages to fight for even village headship. But, for once, here is a man whom God has protected and placed against in high places repeatedly against all odds. For Senator Godswill Akpabio, when people think he is going down, before you know it, he is going higher. So, it will make more sense to follow that kind of person because, you stand to gain more and when you gain as a person, definitely your community will also gain. So, it makes more sense for me to move to APC where he is. Right now in Akwa Ibom State, he is in charge as the leader of APC. And even in the South – South, he is a figure you can’t ignore. Nationally, you can’t ignore him as the No. 3 man. So, why will I not follow that kind of person? There is a saying that a little dog once said that when you see it following a child with a protruding stomach, there is hope that either the child will vomit or defecate. Either way, the little dog will benefit. So, it makes more sense to follow a leader who is already in a leading position than following  the one that is struggling to steady on one foot.


In Akwa Ibom State, how is APC preparing to take over government in 2027, considering the fact that, the Number 3 citizen hails from here?


Politics, especially, in democracy is about number, about strategic planning and with what is happening in Akwa Ibom State today even the PDP is worried. You can see that immediately Senator Bassey Albert decamped to APC with a mammoth crowd of his supporters, it is now almost every week that you would hear that PDP is “mobbing up”.  What are they mobbing? That is because they are scared. If you saw a video of the event on the day that Senator Bassey Albert moved to APC then you will know that PDP has reason to be worried. With the former YPP/ OBA’s supporters teaming with APC, there is no doubt that APC stands a strong chance of taking over Akwa Ibom State.

Secondly, our leader, Senator Akpabio, the No. 3 man, because of his impact and what he has done since when he was the governor, the people believe so much in his capacity for even transformation. When I was his Chief Press Secretary, we used to say, and it still stands,  that a time will come when there will be two eras in Akwa Ibom State: “before Akpabio and after Akpabio.” It is happening already, because now people judge this state based on “before Akpabio came and after Akpabio left”. Most of the infrastructure you see today in Akwa Ibom State were either initiated or completed by Akpabio as governor of the state.

On human development, he had so much impact on the people one-on-one in such a way that, even now or before he became the Senate President, if he steps anywhere the crowd is always difficult to control because the masses want to express their joy and gratitude to him, considering the impact he had and still has on them directly or indirectly. So, going to APC has a lot of benefits and there is no doubt that the party will take over Akwa Ibom State because people are already fed up with what is happening in the state.

“People do not think they are getting the full benefits of what should be, based on the figures that we see monthly from the Federation Account and from other agencies of government. People believe that if we had a better government, maybe we would have benefited more. So, I really believe that APC stands a better chance because it is already building a mammoth crowd of followers, which is making PDP jittery, already”.

Can you assess President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s performance in the past 10 months, looking at the hardship the country is passing through now?


Frankly, to assess the President at this point you need certain indices because it would have to be comparative with past presidents. So, it will be unfair to compare him with other presidents who had longer time to work with and maybe better seasons. However, some of President Tinubu’s policies which you have alluded to may have lead to the hardship. Yes, they are hard decisions but there is no gain saying that those decisions needed to have been taken. Some of them were supposed to have been taken long ago. We all agreed, for instance, at a point in this country,  that fuel subsidy had to go, even in the former regime. However, the political will, the will power to take that decision and carry out the implementation was the problem. It never came.  But, when President Tinubu came, he took the bold step of implementing that decision.  At some point, somebody had to take the very hard decision that would bring about the positive goal, eventually. Yes, the beginning may be rough, many of us are going through this, we  are suffering but there is hope. Recently, the dollar was shooting up against the naira and naira was  on a free fall everyday. But, in the last two or three days, naira has been strengthening against the dollar. So that shows that something good is about to come, something good eventually will come out of the policies decisions that President Tinubu is taking. I cannot make a full assessment of his government, so far, because the time is short but going by some of the ones he has made, they are hard but there is hope that they will portend good for the country in time to come.


From the look of things, I am seeing the Governor now getting too close to Senator Akpabio. Don’t you think he may join APC when the time comes?


Well! I don’t know about that and it is still early to assess the present governor. Maybe, you as a journalist you can tell, because journalists are good observers. So, maybe coming from you, you may be right about his body language. There were rumours at some point that he was planning to move to APC but, since I am not close to him and I don’t work with him, I cannot say. Your observation based on his body language may also be in tandem with  that suspicion of his trying to move to APC. But over time, he has explained that he is trying to get close so that he can get what is due to Akwa Ibom State for the Akwa Ibom people. If it is so, fair and good but;  if it is not, his attempt  to move to APC will still boil down to what I said that APC is waxing stronger and will take over Akwa Ibom State. Because it would mean that the  governor himself believes APC will take over the state. So, if he is planning to move to APC it will further strengthen the party.

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