The declaration of Dr Nsima Udo Ekere, Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), as candidate-elect of the All Progressive Congress in Akwa Ibom State for the oncoming 2019 governorship election, by the Momoh led national working committee panel, assembled for the governorship nomination, assigned to supervise the exercise in the State, is the saddest and unnecessary devious political imposition on the longsuffering people of our State. Never should the past nightmare of the people be reborn.
It is a sad case for democracy, when no legal instrument within the framework of an election process is provided to confront brute undemocratic and unconstitutional forces, who use means other than stipulated by the guidelines released for the conduct of such elections to achieve skewed electoral victory.
The emergence of Dr Ekere as APC candidate-elect for Akwa Ibom State was achieved by the deployment of brute force, disenfranchising more than 58% of registered members of the APC in the State, to attain the assumed success of Dr Ekere in the nomination exercise, which is now heading for appeal and fair reconsideration by the National Working Committee of the party.
The following reasons are herein given as incentives under truth, necessarily issued to shed light on salient errors that played out against the constitution of the federal republic and the rule of law at the various stages of the governorship nomination process in Akwa Ibom State.
However, before this light is shed, let it be noted that the “direct primary” ordered by the NWC of the party for the governorship nomination in Akwa Ibom State was to ensure, first, the free, fair and credible participation of every “registered member” of the party, meaning that the exclusion of over 58% of members of the party renders the exercise in Akwa Ibom State null, void and undemocratic, especially because a wrong impression was created that the excluded 58% of members ad having participated in that nomination exercise.
The following reasons renders how 58% of the APC population in Akwa Ibom State were excluded from the “direct primary” election scheduled to hold in all ward centres of the State:
1. There are persons allowed by every electoral guideline at the venue(s) for the distribution of sensitive election materials in every process leading to balloting.
The premises of the APC State Secretariat at 149 Ikot Ekpene road, Uyo was, on the arrival of nomination materials, jammed with regular security agents, party members and, especially, hired thugs numbering about 200 deployed, “as usual”, by Dr Ekere’s team, from Rivers and Bayelsa States.
“As usual” because yours truly reported the same deployment of kitted thugs in the report on the inauguration of the 149 Ikot Ekpene road secretariat. In this case, and as it turned out, these combat looking thugs were deployed to force, as it was, the agenda of returning Dr Ekere as candidate elect of the party in the State, to force on fecent party members the failed “consensus” arrangement they cooked up to promote their false sense of political following in the State.
Senator (Dr) John James Akpanudoedehe, a cleared aspirant for the governorship nomination in the State personally received the sensitive materials for the governorship nomination exercise for the State via a private jet, together with the “panel” that accompanied them, at the Ibom International Airport, Uyo; and escorted both men and materials safely to the State Secretariat of the APC in Uyo, where he alerted necessary stakeholders on the arrival of the logistics needs for the nomination exercise in the State.
When it was time for nomination materials to be distribute, and because the venue for the distribution of these materials was overcrowded, it was announced that those who had no business at the venue excuse the handlers of the process.
The guideline required the admittance of (a) the governorship aspirants: to inspect nomination materials; (b) the agents for aspirants: to witness and accompany distributed materials going to local government area chapters of the party, (c) the police: responsible for escorting men and materials to the various LGAs and ensuring law and order without interfering with the process, and (d) delegates of the party: assigned to handle the exercise on behalf of the party.
Responding to that order, every person who was not qualify to be at the venue for the distribution of nomination materials left except Senator Ita Solomon Enang. On noting the refusal of Senator Enang to leave, Senator (Dr) John Akpanudoedehe asked him to leave the venue as he was neither an aspirant, the agent of an aspirant, a security agent nor an assigned delegate of the party. Senator Enang insisted on remaining at the venue.
As one who has shown preference, and was party to the numerous senatorial district endorsement rallies, “representing” President Muhammadu Buhari, in each case, for Dr Nsima Ekere, Dr Akpanudoedehe insisted that Senator Enang leaves the venue. It was at this point, when Senator Enang refused to leave that Dr Akpanudoedehe pulled him to leave. Unfortunately, Senator Enang made this simple legal demand on him to turn into a brawl.
This set the tone for the violence that wasted the lives of 3 Nigerian citizens, because it was clear that the presidency had am agenda, and the plan was clear when APC election materials were handed by the State Working Committee to senior police officers to distribute to party, and those who dared ask questions after that was brutalised either by the police or in the presence of policemen.
The integrity of purpose, and character of the Presidential Adviser on National Assembly Matters (senate), Senator Ita Enang, is herein questioned. President Buhari’s inaugural speech take home “I am for everybody, I am for nobody” is hereby put on trial by his personal aide.
Did President Buhari release Senator Enang to come to Akwa Ibom State to ensure the emergence of Dr Ekere through other means apart from the ordered “direct primary” or did Senator Enang deliberately abuse his office to arm twist an electoral process? The matter is now before Mr President to deal.
Many have been disappointed in President Buhari but nobody will deny that yours truly has steadfastly supported him against all odds. We are not yet in of doubt President Buhari’s integrity, but it seems what Senator Bukola Saraki said of Mr President as considerable. He said President Buhari has lost focus on governance to the machination of a cabal in the presidency.
Senator Ita Solomon Enang showed it clearly on the evening of Sunday 30 September 2018 that he represents that “presidential cabal” in Akwa Ibom State. He could have only used his presidential link to generate a fight to portray Dr Akpanudoedehe as a troublesome man. The portrayal of Dr Akpanudoedehe as a trouble maker is the propaganda and mantra used by politicians in Akwa Ibom State who fear him to the point of labelling him for political exclusion.
Let us look at Ita Enang and ask ourselves if we were wrong to have seen him as an intelligent man. If Ita Enang was not an aspirant contesting the governorship nomination in the State, nor was he a party officer delegated accordingly for the conduct of the nomination exercise, nor was he a cleared agent of an aspirant, then he must have been at the point of the distribution of nomination materials as the SSA to the President.
Now it calls for us to realize that under no circumstance would Ita Enang leave his office in Abuja without the express permission of his principal, President Muhammadu Buhari. He took leave from Mr President to be in Uyo. Was his defiance to leave the venue for the distribution of materials a part of his presidential brief? The future holds this answer.
2. It was illegal and unconstitutional for the members of the Akwa Ibom State Working Committee of the APC to deploy Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) to handle the distributed sensitive materials assigned to the LGAs, assigning them dual duty of being party delegates and state security agents.
Late Engr Emmanuel Asuquo of Etim Ekpo Local Government Area was Dr Akpanudoedehe’s agent for that LGA, who was at the State Secretariat of the party to escort nomination materials to Etim Ekpo LGA on behalf of his aspirant. After the DPO and his men took the materials, they headed to their service van, which was already filled with thugs who made place for Dr Ekere’s agent in the police vehicle.
The attempt by Engr Asuquo to join them led to his death. Volley of bullets were pumped into his abdomen, he fell off the van upon the tar, in the presence of all who were there, and the police van in which were nomination materials drove off.
When did Nigeria become this beastly. Until it happens to you, you would not know how scary this is. Could it be true that President Buhari is nursing a “cleansing agenda”?
This happens in many forms across the country. But ladies and gentlemen, I still believe that President Buhari is a good man. This is why I pray that he would be availed this article, which is a solemn democratic protest bearing sorrow, tears and blood.
The handling of the distribution of nomination materials to party men at the local government areas for the exercise, and the handing them over to clear cut members of the party who are supporters of Dr Ekere led to the gunning down of Late Ukeme Edet Effanga, another agent for Dr Akpanudoedehe in Uruan local government area. He was at the Divisional Police Office to escort nomination materials to Southern Uruan Ward 1. A thug representing Dr Ekere’s interest, pumped two bullets into his skull standing behind him, for attempting to join the bus in which materials were to be conveyed.
And so it was for Late Inyang Effiong of Ini local government area Ward 7. That other agents of Dr Akpanudoedehe did not die was because they refused to insist on joining issues with anybody. For these ones, the blame was on Dr Akpanudoedehe, who refused to match violence with violence.
The Convention of the APC Patriots Grouping in Akwa Ibom State was to ensure a comfortable platform for “returnees” to Akwa Ibom State to participate in the politics of our country Nigeria, making their contributions positively as Nigerians seeking political emergence. We have vowed to confront their guns with our brains, because our lives are tied to the best Nigeria we can become.
We are not better than those who were killed in attempting to defend their adult suffrage – they laid their lives down for democracy to thrive, for god men to continue in their usurpation of the people’s opportunities. Only a failed State can allow such to happen in a democracy without a redress.
Majority of us are already endangered species for daring to return home, and so our ways are deliberately made rough. We chose to study the political system in Akwa Ibom State standing from Dr Akpanudoedehe’s angle, because he would not do anything unholy and unruly. He may be intolerant of insults, but he is kind. He did not make us swear traditional oaths of cult allegiance.
There are stories weaved around him that he leads his followers to death. Yes! The above narration shows how. His supporters also expect him to buy guns to equip thugs and to fund them. Before us, some of his security men offered to go into the night for reprisals, and he warned them.
This is the way it is meant when it is insinuated that Dr Akpanudoedehe leads his supporters to their death: he would not bribe the police to compromise the process because he believes the police have their statutory responsibilities. He does not believe in corrupting a civil process.
Dr Akpanudoedehe would not buy guns because he is a prudent spender of resources, he would not fund frivolities because he would not indulge anybody foolishly. His supporters fund themselves politically though he is rich and has a rich heritage. So he baits nobody to support him.
It is generally said he does not give money in his politics. An we think that if it is politics, rather than money spending, we should follow after ideologies. And until obscene money spending is removed and discouraged from our politics, we will continue to have sorrow, tears and blood, executed by evil machineries stationed to ensure the people’s sufferings, as their regular trademark.
So the use of policemen as Ad Hoc staff of the APC was unconstitutional, null, void and unacceptable. It is clear how the State Working Committee were up for the ungodly plan to systemically exclude the supporters of other aspirants from participating in the governorship nomination exercise in Akwa Ibom State. It was a procedural error to make policemen work for the APC rather than the Nigerian State. They were paid to do what they did and this is very unfortunate for democracy.
Policemen are not empowered to touch anything that is not part of their official paraphernalia in any election, least be responsible for distribution of sensitive materials to strange men unknown to the party: they are to watch, hear, say and ensure that the rules and regulations guiding the exercise are upheld.
As far as there is no provision in the Nigerian Police Act empowering officers and men of the Nigerian Police to represent political party interests in an election, assigning the distribution of materials to DPOs was unconstitutional, unholy, noninstitutional, null, void and unacceptable.
How did the DPOs know who to distribute materials to, and why did they accept such job if they did not join an APC meeting in which their involvement was planned. The fact that it caused the violent death of 3 supporters of one aspirant makes it expedient for consideration as very criminal.
The fact remains that the DPOs, who are not party men do not have the competence to know the party officers to whom they should assign the materials they distributed to ward centres, unless they were shown; and if they were shown, then the police had no right anywhere in the world to distribute materials to them when they (the party men) should be in charge of the materials in the first place and not the police.
The State Working Committee assigned party functions to the police because by that the ineptitude of the State Chairman, Ini Okopido, was shed. The State Chairman has not been able to establish a simple face for the party executives at LGA and Ward levels since the process of the Congresses held on 5 and 12 was hijacked and bastardized by the State Caucus members.
The SWC tactically pushed the deaths they should die to the LGAs deploying policemen to ensure them. The least that justice should provide is the immediate expulsion of the SWC as provided in the constitution of the party.
3. Except in the few wards across the 31 LGAs in the State, which were strongholds for Dr Ekere, to which nomination materials were taken to the ward centres, materials for every other ward across the State were hijacked and diverted, in connivance with the local police authority, who allowed themselves too be driven to strange locations. They know the truth.
To prove this true position is simple. The APC Patriots Grouping is writing a petition to President Buhari concerning the declaration of Dr Ekere as governorship candidate-elect for Akwa Ibom State and all the excluded supporters of Dr Akpanudoedehe in the State will sign it for prove that they were excluded in the nomination process.
The names of the signatories will then be identified on the (online) membership register of the party, especially for us who were not in the State before 2015, who have financially participated in the party up til now; and have political rights and say in our nation.
However the number of us would be, it could used to determine the error in the return of Dr Ekere as candidates elect, because the guideline provides that every registered member of the party MUST BE ALLOWED TO VOTE (direct primary). All that the NWC would need to do is to subtract the number of signatories to the petition, by identifying their names on the published (recently conducted) membership register, from the total number on the (online) membership register. That way the party can impose a consensus candidate of the majority.
Whatever the party would do to prevent a bloody power monger from flying the APC flag should be legally pursued by the leadership. What the people of Akwa Ibom State would not allow is the positioning of a Chibuike Amaechi’s stooge to governing our State. He is a bad example in Rivers State.
4. Exclusion from participation in the governorship nomination in Akwa Ibom State negates the guideline that provided that the exercise must be executed through “direct primary” election. It shows a deliberate partitioning of members of the legacy parties in the State by the PDP defectors of yesterday. This is where the sincerity of the APC and the integrity of the leadership of the APC is on trial.
President Buhari, Vice President Osinbajo, National Leader Tinubu and National Chairman Oshiomhole were responsible for imposing Senator Godswill Akpabio on the APC in Akwa Ibom State. Here, in the APC, Senator Akpabio has realized “more money” would not move some people. So, like he said, and we are beholding, that Akwa Ibom State will be invaded by him like Warsaw was invaded by Josef Goebbels. This commitment to President Buhari has already left 3 dead bodies at this stage.
He may have cast his spell on the party leaders, but we are not deceived. If the agenda of the President and the 3 others was to take South South, it is here to be seen if their intent is to do so by and through violence. How the complaints herein laid are handled will determine our next intellectual pursuits as Nigeria is not an Island in this world.
If others in the past have watched and kept their mute on the deaths of the past, the deaths of now will be prosecuted before international organizations. The APC Patriots Grouping, which convener is a volunteer of the Amnesty International, will file a petition against Mr President, the APC and the leadership giving graphic proves to State organized slaughter of citizen to pretend to power and continue to abuse the rule of law.
It is a wonder how the leadership of the Nigerian State has suddenly fallen in love with a serial betrayer, believing that a man who insulted Goodluck Jonathan for conceding power to Mr President had the president at heart during the 2015 presidential election.
To us this is the picture of how Mr President’s new political bride in the Niger Delta sees him and the APC leadership: as big fools who will believe cheap unclinical lies.
Whether he is right or wrong depends on how he gets the supports of the “fools” in his purse at this time. For now, Akwa Ibom APC governorship primary is before them – let’s watch their capacities for good governance and know if they too are lip stickers.
Ini Akpan Morgan is the Convener of the APC Patriots Grouping in Akwa Ibom State, a Volunteer of the Amnesty International, Architect, Builder, a Christian Teacher and he writes in from Uyo via “email@example.com”