There are times when silence is not golden. It is important to understand how certain things cannot just be trusted to follow conventions, so many hardliners are so because they cannot just stomach stupidity when it is made clear and open to them. There are people who would always kill others to have their ways and there are so many others who are ready to die fighting oppression and opportunism.
It is therefore a deception that because the APC leadership in Lagos State have put their feet down against the second term bid of Akinwunmi Ambode and are seen to be serious about it, that that should mean that some self acclaimed leaders from a section of Akwa Ibom State would gather themselves together at night, like demons in their coven, in a section of their senatorial district, and agree on what is of common interest to them, aimed at feeding their starved political cowardice, and come out to make spurious claims of taking decision for all members of the APC in Akwa Ibom State. Empty barrels, they say, makes so much noise.
Let it be known here and now, that although the electoral delineations of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) did not take into cognisance, neither did it respect the ancestral delineations of our people by traditions, culture and ethics and when shoving becomes pushing, it becomes necessary to tell the truth and stop out trod on the wine press.
Before we go into why the leadership of the All Progressive Congress in Akwa Ibom State is not competent to act like the leadership of the party in Lagos State, it is important to clarify that while INEC, by our electoral delineations, shared Akwa Ibom State into North East, North West and South, and while ancestrally, traditionally, culturally and ethically, the State is shared into the Ibibios, Annangs, and the Oron people, the electoral balance needed to created equity and participation in our democratic experience in the State made it possible for INEC to politically decimate the Ibibios to make up for the electoral requirements for the establishment of electoral spaces in the electoral delineation of the State in the Annang and Oron axis.
So Ibibio commutnities were lumped with both the Annangs and the people of Oron at the level of the senatorial districts. This is why a Local Government Area like Ini, an Ibibio LGA is with the Annangs in the INEC electoral delineation. Like in the senatorial district to which the people of Oron belong, the Ibibio LGAs are more in number than the ones for the Oron people. Of the 12 LGA in that Senatorial District, only 5 belong to the Oron people.
The offset, therefore, of the traditional and cultural delineation of our people by ancestry, by the electoral delineations of government, inhabits deadly consequences that must always be considered when matters of the popular electoral participation of the majority of people is in consideration. It is a trap of logic to expect another consensus to happen to our electoral rights and privileges when the consensus agreed on during the party congresses across board is still been rubbishes by the State Chairman of the party and his ethnic allies.
It is from this light that the outcome of the nocturnal meeting reported to have been held in the residence of Inibehe Okorie, an aspirant for the Senatorial seat of the Akwa North West district on the platform of the Nsima Ekere group in the APC, is herein contested. Whatever the “ONE” group decides is only binding on the patrons and not on the members of the APC in Akwa Ibom State.
It is a big baggage of habitual deceit and their usual political arm twisting tactics to impose the outcome of a meeting held by some errandboy politicians of Annang extractions, in an Annangs man’s house (Inibehe Okorie), seemingly finding validation by the attendance at the meeting of an Annang man who claims to head the State Caucus of the party (Don Etiebet), and another Annang man who is the clearly compromised State chairman of the party (Ini Okopido) – all Annang men and estranged.
This article would not have been necessary if that assembly of Annang people had limited their political arrogance to their Akwa Ibom North West senatorial district informing the public of Inibehe Okorie midget political mentality, after so much noisemaking, by his alleged capitulating to the air full balloon of Godswill Akpabio’s political clout by winding down on his aspiration to contest for the senatorial seat Senator Akpabio is holding on to. And all he needs yo deflate that balloon is mere office pin, just one pin.
Those Annang men possess no competence to lead a “lost sheep” of the Ibibio people from Akwa Ibom South senatorial district (Nsima Ekere) into their coven and attempt to use him to poke the Ibibio people by their noses, counting on the numerous undemocratic body swings of some members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the APC and the interference in the politics of each state of the federation by the hawks in the Buhari administration, to impose their troubleshooting political illogic upon the people of Akwa Ibom State.
It is therefore important to reestablish the words of the south south women leader of the APC and National Executive Committee (NEC) member of the party, Rachel Akpabio, who confronted the State Party Chairman, Ini Okopido, to his face, telling him to forget the idea of a “consensus candidate” he is joining other undemocratic elements in the party to trail. She said this while Ini Okopido was standing by her right hand and listening to her goodwill message given at the Mega Rally in Uyo to drum up support for President Buhari’s second term bid and Dr Akpanudoedehe’s governorship ambition.
The Mega Rally held in Uyo was to publicise the massive support trailing President Buhari’s second term bid and to publicise the Mass Movement of Akwa Ibom people for the actualisation of the governorship bid of Senator (Dr) John James Akpanudoedehe on the platform of the APC, which held yesterday 24 September 2018 at the Uyo Township Stadium.
It was also in this same vein that the Chairman of the occasion at the APC Mega Rally by Senator John James Akpanudoedehe in support of President Muhammadu Buhari’s second term and his own governorship bid, Arc Ekong Etuk, a front line politician in Akwa Ibom State and a Fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Architects (FNIA), fell back to history to draw the attention of the Akwa Ibom people to the great departure from the visions and goals of the founding father’s of AkwaAbasi Ibom State, and the vision leaders of the Ibibio State Union, the national umbrella body of all the Ibibios, Annangs and the people of Oron from 1928 till date, and personified by Akwa Ibom State.
He showed how that union came to being 90 years ago, and how that body of men and women made the Ibibio State Union the cradle of agitations for states creation in Nigeria; and how their dreams of attaining statehood materialised after 6 decades of the agitation. Today, the combined efforts of the few men from the Ibibios, the Annangs and the Oron people is what we now call Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria. The fathers of the Annangs and Oron people accepted to be called “Ibibio people” 90 years ago, accepting the majority status of the Ibibios and helping to build the “Ibibio dream” nurtured by Pa Sampson Udo Etuk.
Sadly, Arc Ekong Etuk revealed the unfortunate limitation of the Ibibios by the unfortunate conferment of political minority status on the Ibibios by the INEC: the Oron axis has 12 LGAs, the Ibibios having 6 of those and seeing themselves as different from the core Ibibio LGAs in the state, leveraging on their advantage exploiting the Oron people and enjoying the best political patronages. The Annangs Axis has 10 LGAs with 2 of those belonging to the Ibibios, a subdued minority, who also feel privileged by compromise. The bastion of the Ibibio heritage, Uyo senatorial district, has only 9 LGAs and the least in the State. How did this come about that now the other two senatorial would always attempt to muzzle the HUGE and BIG minority standing together by conspiracy…why?
The founding fathers of Akwa Ibom State built schools, hospitals and industries without having a State of their own. They tasked themselves to establish scholarship schemes for indigent students, they fought hard to sustain and maintain education, health and agriculture outside of government. Arc Ekong Etuk made it clear that the Ibibio State Union came from genuine leadership.
And here is where Lagos State is different from Akwa Ibom State: “genuine leadership”. Arc Ekong Etuk sees “hardship” today. He sees “divisiveness, impunity, neglect, joblessness, treachery, sabotage, deceit at the highest quarters”. He also established our present leadership as having “kidnappings, killings, all kinds of Idol worship, and false commercial prophecies” on their hands, needing “a man to stand in the gap for Akwa Ibom people”.
In recognising the APC as the best choice for Akwa Ibom State, he expressed disappointment in the over 19 years of “bad governance of the PDP, (which) sowed seeds of undeserved poverty in the State”. He admonished the people to “make it possible for (the people of) Eastern Obolo and Itu Mbinuso to be able to produce governor or deputy on merit” and to ensure to “elect leaders of conscience, leaders with good track records and leaders with good character”.
It is therefore very important to again call the attention of the NWC of the APC and the presidency to face the fact of the troubleshooting in the APC by the Annang people who left the PDP for the APC. Majority of those who are clamouring for a consensus candidate know they are leaders without followings. They are afraid to confront the people in an open, direct balloting.
The mammoth crowd that gathered at the Uyo Township stadium will not respect President Muhammadu Buhari’s second term bid, neither would they respect the APC as the ruling party, if the nomination of the governorship candidate of the party in Akwa Ibom fails to brace the tape in transparency, fairness and free conducts in the processes of nominating a flag bearer for the party in the State.
The crisis of succession in the Lagos State APC is first because the APC is the ruling party in Lagos State. And if Akwa Ibom State had an APC governor ruling, all of these leaders crying for a consensus candidate would have no liver to stand against the second term bid of the governor like it is done in Lagos. They will have no good ground to stand tall like Tinubu. Don Etiebet cannot be Bola Tinubu. He is a failed enterprise.
These men would not mind cleaning the governor’s excretes to remain politically relevant; and Ini Okopido lacks the political dynamics and competence of Tunde Balogun. They are no mates politically. So Ini Okopido should slow down on his servitude to Godswill Akpabio, Nsima Ekere, Umana Umana and Don Etiebet.
It should also be noted that because Atuekong Don Etiebet has made himself a personal aide of the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in order to flourish, he has been deposed as the leader of the APC Caucus in Akwa Ibom State and he has been replaced by Group Captain Sampson Ewang, a front line opposition leader in State and two time governor in Nigeria. This is the decision of the majority of members of the APC in Akwa Ibom State.
Finally, we in the APC in Akwa Ibom State are awaiting the interpretation of Article 31 of the APC constitution so that we would know if the laws of the party only holds political office holders within the party organs to resign from office one month to the date of the party’s nomination into the office to which the officer aspires to fill, or if it does also hold all political office holders of all kinds who are members of the APC and aspiring to contest for other offices on the platform of the party.
We would also see how unreliable and vague our constitutional requirement asking political office holders to resign their appointments one month to the date of the election in which they are contestant. This provision makes it possible for people like Nsima Ekere, who sits over NDDC as MD to remain in office while he contests for the governorship flag of the APC in Akwa Ibom State. Let us see how the constitution grants him permission to remain in office as MD NDDC and bearing the governorship flag of the APC. People like Don Etiebet, Godswill Akpabio, Umana Umana and the beneficiary, Nsima Ekere, will not mind this infraction on sensibilities. In popular opinion, rather than endorse Nsima Ekere for governor, these people should first and foremost be honourable enough to ask him to resign his appointment with government. We are talking of honour and integrity here.
Ini Akpan Morgan is the Convener of the APC Patriots Grouping (APCpg) in Akwa Ibom State, and he writes in from Uyo via “email@example.com“