The former managing director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Bassey Dan-Abia, on Thursday formally declared his intention to run for the governorship of Akwa Ibom State in 2019.
Mr Dan-Abia, a former attorney-general of the state, is one of the four aspirants recently cleared by the All Progressives Congress (APC) to contest for the party governorship ticket in the state.
“I will heal the wounds and bring the people of this state together as one big family when I am elected as your governor,” Mr Dan-Abia said in a rally organised at a private event centre in Uyo.
He told the crowd he was standing before them to declare for governor because of the encouragement he has received across the state.
“I have widely consulted and I have also been widely accepted,” he said.
Mr Dan-Abia, flanked by his wife, Christie, and a former military governor of Rivers State, Sam Ewang, who is an APC chieftain in the state, and other APC leaders in the state, promised to unite the state and bring prosperity to the people.
He said he did not come into the race to create confusion within the APC or the state.
“I am coming to heal the wound, I am coming to put away the division, I am coming to emphasise those things that unite us and not those things that divide us,” he said.
He said Akwa Ibom State needs a new government, one that would live up to the yearnings of the people.
The former NDDC boss said he was the right man for the top job in the state.
“I have studied enough, watched government at close quarters. I have gathered enough experience and will not need three and a half years to learn.
“It is only when you have crawled then walk that you can run smoothly. I have served in the government of Akwa Ibom state in various ministries. I have been an attorney-general and commissioner for justice in this state so I know the right laws to apply for the good governance of this state. I have been a commissioner for transport in this state. I have also been commissioner for housing and urban renewal in this state,” he said.
“I have also represented Akwa Ibom state in the governing board of the NDDC. That is experience. I have been the acting chairman of the governing board of NDDC. I have also served as the managing director, chief executive officer of the NDDC. That is experience. You don’t buy that from the market.
“Armed with these experiences, I will not need more than four years because I am conscious of the zoning arrangement in Akwa Ibom State.”
Mr Dan-Abia said the direct primary for the APC governorship contest in the state would afford the people the opportunity for the first time in the history of the state to choose their governorship candidate.
He appealed to the APC members to come out and vote for him in the primary election that is taking place over the weekend.
“Those that were not allowed to vote in the last primaries, whether you were removed wrongly or not, as long as you are on the party’s register, you are eligible to vote.
“Vote for a governor for the first time in a long while that you can call your own,” he said.
“Governor that is not imposed on you, a governor that will be duly nominated and elected by you. This is going to be your own government, one that you will be proud to call your own and not their government.”