A former governor of Akwa Ibom State and founding member of the Peoples Democratic Party, Victor Attah, has announced his retirement from partisan politics.
Mr. Attah, a member of PDP Board of Trustees, on Tuesday announced at a press conference in Uyo, the state capital, that he would be playing the role of an elder statesman to “continue to serve this country with love, strength, and faith”.
Although it was not expressly stated, it appeared Mr. Attah was quitting the PDP to enable him mobilise support across party lines for the All Progressives Congress in Akwa Ibom whenever there would be a rerun of the governorship election in the state.
The Akwa Ibom Governorship Election Tribunal recently nullified the April 11 governorship election in 18 out of 31 local government areas in the state, and ordered a rerun.
Mr. Attah hailed the judgment as an indication that Akwa Ibom was closer to being liberated.
“What I had always wanted is beginning to come into focus,” he said.
Mr. Attah, who will be 77 years old on November 20, made reference to comments by the spokesperson of the PDP, Olisa Metuh, who said the former governor could not remain a member of the party while making “utterances for PDP to fail”.
“This reminded me of the story of a man who had chosen to live a sinful life,” he said of the comments. “But there was a pastor who had consistently preached against the man’s way of life and had warned that unless he repented, he risked going to hell. When finally the man died and found himself in hell, of course he put all the blame on the pastor’s utterances rather than on his sinfulness.
“Indeed I made utterances and I stand by all of them including those ones for which I was, from time to time, accused of anti-party activities. The tragedy for the PDP is to now blame its failure on such utterances rather than its perilous refusal to heed the warning they convey,” Mr. Attah said.
He accused the PDP of not sticking to the ideals of democracy, and said for the party to bounce back it must stop looking for who to blame, and reorder its ways along the aims and ideals of its founding fathers.
“Who does not know that you only conduct election to fill a vacancy. But the PDP would start by announcing that there is no vacancy. Then it would offer ‘automatic tickets’ to a set of people. What manner of democracy!”
Mr. Attah also made reference to a controversial remark by his successor, Godswill Akpabio, who said in January that it was his wife, Unoma Akpabio, that “discovered” the then secretary to Akwa Ibom State government, Udom Emmanuel, who later succeeded Mr. Akpabio as governor on May 29.
“Can the national publicity secretary of PDP, an eminent member of the National Working Committee that he is, point to anything in the constitution of the PDP that suggests that it is the wife of an incumbent governor that should nominate her husband’s successor, and having been so nominated, that the party should put its full weight behind the incumbent governor to impose the nominee on the state as his successor?” he asked.
Mr. Attah described the eight years of Mr. Akpabio’s tenure as “eight locust years”.
A former deputy governor of the state, Nsima Ekere; a former national vice chairman of PDP, South South, Edet Mkpubre; and former chairman of PDP, Akwa Ibom State, Otu Ita Toyo were among politicians who attended the press conference to ‘show solidarity with the former governor’.