Honorable Emem Ibanga is the Executive Chairman, Nsit Atai Local Government Area. She is one of two women Chairmen in the current ALGON administration of Akwa Ibom State and in her tenure so far has performed with midas strides that has earned her several awards and accolades.
She spoke with journalists in Uyo over the weekend after the Presidential and National Assembly elections on some topical political issues including the overwhelming victory of the Peoples Democratic Party in the State, the laudable achievements of Governor Udom Emmanuel and why he deserves a second term in office in the March 9, 2019 Governorship elections.
Q: The Presidential and National Assembly elections have just been concluded and the Peoples Democratic Party excelled in Akwa Ibom State, what will you attribute to this success story?
A: We are grateful to God for giving Akwa Ibom State an overwhelming victory at the polls last weekend. It can only come from God who gives power. As a Party we worked extremely very hard to achieve this victory.
We campaigned vigorously across all the Units and Wards in the State and we sold to the people the laudable strides of the achievements of our Leader, His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party.
For the first time in the history of any political Party structure in Akwa Ibom State we made sure that our campaigns were done at units and wards and we even integrated with a door to door approach to preach the gospel of the Party’s manifesto and we are happy that the results you saw in the February 23 elections was a true reflection of the people.
I have never been worried about Akwa Ibom State being a stronghold of the Peoples Democratic Party. We have been in power since the return to democracy in 1999 and the milestones we have achieved in making the State as a destination of excellence over the years is a product of our collective hard work. And I can assure you we have leaders and the electorates who strongly belief in the ideologies of the Party.
I want to once again sincerely thank the people of Akwa Ibom State for keeping faith with the history we have set and we will continue to build on our legacies in every administration.
Q: How would you assess the conduct of the electoral process during the February 23 polls?
A: I can say that within my Local Government Area, Nsit Atai, the process was peaceful. The turnout was encouraging, the distribution of election materials was impressive, while accreditation and voting was encouraging.
We had a peaceful exercise in Nsit Atai Local Government Area and we are proud to have a Governor in the person of His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel, a man of peace who has set a template for us to live in unity and collectively chart the course of development for the future of Akwa Ibom State in line with the visions of our founding fathers.
Q: In the run up to the first elections, there were threats that Federal Might will be used against the people. Has this had any influence in the elections?
A: We have never been intimidated at any point in time. Like I said earlier, power comes from God and the people of Akwa Ibom State have kept faith with the Peoples Democratic Party. Elections are won in units. We have worked hard for our victory and we believe as democrats who truly believe in preserving our democracy that we cannot at this level truncate our democratic process with brute force.
I have always stated to my people at any given fora that if your Party is popular and well accepted then you do not need any so called Federal might to intimidate the people you are soliciting for votes. That so called Federal might has failed in Akwa Ibom State and Nigeria because our votes have counted and we are certain that in the March 9, 2019 Governorship and House of Assembly elections, the Peoples Democratic Party will once again win overwhelmingly. We are committed to sustaining the peace in Akwa Ibom State. No federal might or intimidation can stop Governor Udom Emmanuel’s second term. It’s a Divine Mandate.
Q: How would you rate the performance of Governor Udom Emmanuel in almost four years in office and why do you think he deserves to be re-elected?
A: In 2015 when the Nigerian economy fell into recession, it took the wealth of experience from his private sector depth for Governor Udom Emmanuel to steer the Akwa Ibom economy successfully on course into a stable course with his financial management qualities.
He has successfully implemented life touching projects that has enhanced the lives of the people. From the health sector were he has rehabilitated health facilities like the St.Lukes Hospital at Anua, the General Hospital at Etinan the Hospital at Ituk Mbang just to mention a few.
The completion of thousands of kilometres of roads across the State is revolutionary as it has opened new pathways for socio economic growth, the milestones in the sports sector with the Akwa Ibom Sports Festival which has been held in two successive editions and the exploits of talents discovered at the National Youth Games in Ilorin, Kwara State, the success story of Team Akwa Ibom at the National Sports Festival at Abuja last year and the exploits of Akwa united in the Nigeria Professional Football League.
We must not also forget that the Super Eagles of Nigeria found a home in Uyo having qualified being the first African country for the World Cup at Russia 2018.
The industrialisation quest of Governor Udom Emmanuel has been his unique selling point in his leadership so far. In less than three years, he has established 15 industries from the Toothpick Factory at Etinan, Syringe Factory at Onna, Rice Mill at Ini, just to mention a few.
Perhaps the most inspiring is the successful inauguration of the State owned airline, Ibom Air which took place recently. For me, that was very emotional for me and I felt very proud as an Akwa Ibom child for the visionary strides of our Governor.
That feat was the first in the history of States in Nigeria and it has furthered the cause of the industrialisation drive of the administration and opened more economic vistas towards enhancing development in Akwa Ibom State.
This is just a synopsis of what the current template of the Governor’s milestones has been. There are other sectors which the people proudly appreciate and we believe that despite the economic challenges and fluctuating allocations, our dynamic and visionary Governor, His Excellency, Mr. Udom Emmanuel deserves a second term in Office and I can assure you that Akwa Ibom State electorates will deliver the Peoples Democratic Party once again massively.
Q: How would you appraise the FEYREP Programme of Her Excellency, Mrs Martha Udom Emmanuel, the Wife of the Governor?
A: Simply tremendous and life touching. There is a renaissance in the life touching projects of Her Excellency, Mrs. Martha Udom Emmnauel, Wife of the Governor of Akwa Ibom State. The FEYREP Programme has successfully in three years enhanced the lives of the less privileged in the State. We are happy that core in-depth projects have turned the lives of our women into new chapters that have made families appreciate her heart of human kindness and commitment to sustain a template that has given new meaning to life through her laudable programmes.
The women of Akwa Ibom State are proud of Her Excellency, Mrs Martha Udom Emmanuel and we see her as our Amazon and heroine that has supported her husband in his success story of his stewardship and the transformation of the womanhood for our future prosperity.
Q: You have been widely commended on your sterling performances in Office in just over a year as Executive Chairman, Nsit Atai Local Government Area and just recently you were voted as the Best Chairman in Sports Development by the Youth Sports Federation of Nigeria, Akwa Ibom State Chapter. What is your strength and driving force in your strides?
A: I give God all the glory for the laudable achievements we have been able to implement in Nsit Atai Local Government Area. I thank God for giving me a team of great and hardworking Councillors, Council Secretary, stakeholders and the people of the Local Government Area who have shown utmost support and commitment in driving our set policies.
We believe in our team work approach in our schedules. Service to humanity is selfless and we were elected to ensure that we deliver on our set goals and we have no excuses to disappoint the people. We are working very hard in ensuring that executed projects that will enhance the lives of the people and key into the five point agenda of His Excellency, Mr. Udom Emmanuel in the superior performance of governance.
We are also charting the course of more socio-economic development programmes and I believe that as we work closely with the State Government, we will continue to attract more support towards our growth.
On the Award by YSFON, I thank God that our modest contributions towards sustaining grassroots sports development has been recognised. We are giving priority in developing talents at the grassroots and sustaining these strides with quality education because we see sports as a veritable tool for national development and with the future talents which abound in across the State, we believe we have the foundation to chart the course for new international stars for Nigeria in the nearest future.
I am humbled by the Award by YSFON and I am inspired to sustain and even surpass the content we have towards sports development at the grassroots.
Q: On a final note, what is your message to the people of Nsit Atai Local Government and Akwa Ibom State ahead of the Governorship and State House of Assembly elections on March 9, 2019?
A: We have a Divine Mandate with God on March 9, 2019 and the inspiration and conviction is the overwhelming endorsement by the people of Akwa Ibom State to successfully re-elect His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel for a second term. Let us all come out once again and make this history become a reality.
We will rise to defend our votes. We must work to consolidate on the victory of the National Assembly elections in Akwa Ibom State and I am very certain the Peoples Democratic Party will emerge victorious again.
We have been the dominant Party since 1999 and we cannot change a winning team. We are confident of our victory and no one can intimidate the people who have stood firmly with light over darkness. The electorates are happy with the performance of Governor Udom Emmanuel and the Peoples Democratic Party. Only God gives power to whom He chooses and Governor Emmanuel is the choice of Akwa Ibom State. We are confident of victory again.
Thank you for your time Chairman.