Why opposition has no place in Akwa Ibom -Deputy gov

AkwaIbom State Deputy Governor, Moses Ekpo is highly experienced in government; he returned from Cross River as pioneer commissioner for Information when Akwa Ibom was created 30 years ago. He speaks on his relationship with Governor Udom Emmanuel, agitation for restructuring, opposition politics and disaster preparedness in the state among other issues.

Akwa Ibom is one of the states predicted to be prone to flooding this year; as chairman of the Emergency Management committee in the state, what has the state done to mitigate any eventualities?

We are aware of this and that informed the first ever conference which the government organised with the theme on preparedness for flood and other disasters. Of course being a costal state, we expect that the flood could be devastating; it’s been so in a number of years. But that conference was convened to get the entire community within the state prepared for the eventualities that usually come with flood incidents. We had NEMA co-sponsoring the conference; we had Exxon Mobil. It was a big conference and people came out of it knowing much more that they could do without having too many casualties; hoping that if flood comes, everybody will be in readiness to tackle it. And I think from the comments made about it; this was the very first conference that any state government would organise in that regard.

Talking about the flood situation in Uyo; it is diminishing now because the flood-control facilities which had been put in place by government are costing us billions of naira; this will check the flood, take away water from it and direct it where the water ought to go. With what has been done, we believe that the flood situation if it comes this year would not be as devastating as it had been in a number of years. Apart from that, the government is always ready to make sure that it goes to the aid of citizens whose homes are flooded. We’ve spent quite a lot of money trying to provide relief to flood victims. There is a lot of cooperation between NEMA and us in preparedness for this sort of thing.

What’s the secret of the smooth relationship between you and the governor unlike what obtained in some other states?

I have the policy of respect for the authority; so if you take the governor as the authority, you will understand the relationship, because it’s the governor who invited me to work with him as his deputy. In other words, I have to be totally loyal; and loyalty is not in percentages. It must be total and can only be total if you are able to work with whoever you are serving to achieve his aim. My relationship with my governor is most cordial; very cordial and I couldn’t see it less because
it will not even enable me do my job if I did not key into what he thinks would be in the best interest of the people of the state.

If you want to work with someone, you must be loyal; the entire thing revolves on loyalty. If you are not loyal, you can’t achieve anything even for yourself. So, I would advise others, who would be in my kind of position, if you accept a job, accept it because you’ve been invited to do a job and be part and parcel of the aspiration of whoever invited you; make sure that his aspiration comes through. For me, there is no two ways about who you serve; the governor was kind enough to invite me to serve as his deputy. What’s the role of a deputy; deputy is not the principal. So, for as long as you regard yourself that you have a role to play to supplement, support, then of course loyalty comes in.

How has it been in the last two years?

First and foremost, Udom Emmanuel is the best person to work with; he gives you the free hand that you need; he listens to your own contribution, I don’t want to say advice, if you are able to prove your mettle that you can also be independent in your own suggestions, then you’ll find the governor the best person to work with. This has translated into what we have achieved in the state; the industrial strides that we are trying 

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