Against the tongue wagging by members of the public that the silence occasioned in recent times in the camp of Senator Aloysius Etok portends that the two term Senator has thrown in the towel for Chief Godswill Akpabio come 2015 to clinch the ticket of the PDP to run for the Senate seat, Senator Aloysius Etok, in a recent interactive radio programme(The People Decides) anchored by Ambassador Sampson Akpan for Planet FM 101.1, said he cannot disappoint his people and that he was still in the race.
He vehemently stated that the will of the people of the Senatorial District must prevail as he intend to go to the field to test their will, arguing that he has not been settled out of the race as claimed by some persons.
He said that what was on ground has been that when he is through with his tenure somebody from Abak Federal Constituency will have to take a turn and that he would stand by that, promising that if any person from any other place other than Abak Federal Constituency intervenes that he would stand on the part of the People to resist such interference, stating that instead of allowing any such interference he would go back to the Senate until the issue is resolved. He said as the political leader of his Senatorial District it would be unfair for him to abandon his people or be unjust to any of the sections of his Senatorial District.
Senator Etok said outside an arrangement where it is decided that he should withdraw for somebody from Abak Federal Constituency, he would not give up the fight but would stand with the people till sanity is brought into the zoning arrangement and upheld, arguing that he was a product of zoning, but that he was amazed to hear somebody saying that he was not a product of zoning. He recalled that the former State Party Chairman of the PDP was sacked from office because he preached the gospel of zoning.
On whether the governor supported him to go for the second term in 2011 he answered in the affirmative, adding that himself and the governor were together in the pursuit of their ambitions hence they worked together, adding, “we thank God that the people believed in us when we were fighting together”. On his relationship with governor Akpabio he said “he is my brother and friend”. He stated that when he had opportunity to vouch for him to be a Commissioner he did so as he was doing to a brother and friend and noted that if he did not confirm him to be a Commissioner, he would not have been a Governor today. He reiterated that he has not betrayed the confidence of his people because he was not oblivious that if the people are betrayed they could betray the person who betrays them when the time of election comes. He assured that he has not betrayed his people. He stated that mandate belongs to the people and power belongs to God who gives it to whoever He wills through the people.
He explained further that the issue of ethnic extraction is what they want to stamp out in his Senatorial District and encourage fairness to all based on zoning and what the individual can offer. He stated further that the new thinking has brought about his disposition in terms of engagement of persons from his Senatorial District in his Office. “This is the first time you will go to the Senatorial District office and you see all the people from all the local government areas in the senatorial district working there”, Senator Etok said.
He said that when he distributes any benefits meant for his people he ensures it goes round all the local government areas in his Senatorial District before any other consideration.
On the allegation that he is not generous, Senator Etok argued that though he gives within his means, no other Senator who has been in his office has given up to 20% of how he gives, boasting that no other Senator “living or dead has given people cars” in his Senatorial District, but that as at that date he has given out 54 cars and still has a few more to give to end the scheme.
In terms of Scholarship he said that he has given 398 persons so far and has trained 155 persons on various skills acquisition programmes but was yet to empower them with instruments of operation to start their own businesses. He said he has assisted many Law Students going to Law School from his Senatorial District since he came into office.
While some callers called to salute Senator Etok for what they called “quality representation”, one of the callers was worried that the school fees of Fortune High School owned by the Senator was not subsidized, but Senator Etok argued that when compared to other school’s charges, that the quality of instructional materials, teaching and other facilities have been heavily subsidized by him. He said tuition fee would have been raised to N150,000.00 if he did not, on political and humanitarian grounds subsidized the fees. He was grateful to those patronizing his school just as he promised to add the tertiary wing to absorb graduands of Fortune High School.
On the issue of immunity clause being removed from the Constitution, Rt Hon. Ndeuse Essien who was also a guest on the program said that issue came up to protect persons in the Executive arm of government against being harassed on criminal matters, adding that it has been found out that the Immunity clause has been misused and abused with impunity to the extent that it was generally agreed by members of the Conference that Immunity Clause should be removed from the Constitution. He stated that that was one of the recommendations of the Conference. According to the former federal Lawmaker, it was justified to protect a member of the Executive in case of a Civil matter rather than a criminal matter while the person is in office.
Rt. Hon. Essien said that the recommendation would work if the President gives a nod to the National Assembly or the National Council of States for its implementation. Hon. Essien said the issue of impunity was looked at, at all fronts such as embezzlement of funds, incarceration of persons by those in the executive arms of government and other acts of high-handedness.