The blues of defeat suffered by APC in the governorship election of April 11, 2015 in the hands of PDP in Akwa Ibom state still rankles almost a month after. Principal players of the defeated party in the state alongside some pretending members have recently embarked on futile missions aimed at swaying public perception with the intent to tamper with the will of the people. Like every dubious mission, the journey is replete with moral pitfalls, warped logic and role reversals. It is an inchoate delegation in a duplicitous journey driven by the adrenalin of hate and self interest.
A few days ago, some self styled elders of Akwa Ibom were received in audience by the President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari. Led by the APC candidate in the last gubernatorial election, they told the President-elect that election did not hold in Akwa Ibom State. They posited that electoral brigandage marred the process thus impinging on the outcome which of-course was the irredeemable failure of the party. In their spurious report, they represented Akwa Ibom as a reference in electoral heist and undesirable example for any democratic study.
In whatever way we look at it, this is an unkind way to represent the State. And if this is done by the so called elders, one wonders what kind of state and image they intend to bequeath to succeeding generations.
The grouse is not about the fact that they visited General Buhari. It is the reason for the visit that has generated concerns. The unbridled quest by APC to have elections cancelled in Akwa Ibom State and truncate the will of the people has driven those seeking this action into desperation. Sometimes their actions are so despicable that one is constrained to ask if some of the people who are touted to be part of this sham action are still the people of honour we knew some years ago and some till some months ago. Time and hate have indeed done so much change and damage to our people.
It is public knowledge that APC in the state has disputed the election result of April 11, 2015. It has, as prescribed by law gone to the tribunal. Going to General Buhari therefore to report is superfluous and can only be interpreted as hectoring the President-elect to use the apparatus of his office when he assumes it, to achieve a predetermined result for them. I pray the man does not fall into such grisly temptation as that would put his tenure, his government nay the APC on a delicate balance. APC in the State should be content that it has gone to the tribunal and not to go around shopping for influence with the intendment to use it to alter the truth that April 11, 2015 produced in Akwa Ibom State.
The delegation to Buhari indeed spawned some curious thoughts. On that delegation were people who claimed to be APC and who were in Abuja to complain that an election that APC was set to win did not hold. But almost all of them on that delegation were PDP faithful including two Board of Trustees members of the party. The real APC people like Senator John Akpan-Udoedeghe, Group Captain Sam Enwang (rtd), who are notable members of that party, were not on the delegation. There was hardly anybody on that delegation that has been in APC for more than six months. In their characteristic manner of hijacking any process, they forcibly usurped the reins of the party using the influence of money and alienated all those who fought and kept the party for many years. As a matter of fact, some of them are still yet to resign from PDP. APC should be wary of these fare weather and fickle-minded politicians who operate without principle.
One other feature of that delegation that has agitated watchers is why a former governor, a former petroleum minister should be in a delegation led by a man who once served the former governor as a commissioner and is still yet to inspire national clout as a politician. Many think that it would have been the former whose standing is more prominent that should have led the delegation. The illogical reversal of roles therefore smacks of desperation on the part of the APC candidate who seems not to wish to trade off prominence on that delegation for certain personal reasons. And to sustain his interest above and over every other persons, he must hug the klieg-lights with others swarming around him like used items. With that action, our State was portrayed as a decadent society that is bereft of values and unfamiliar with hierarchy and respect.
Watchers believe that APC in the State has already been turned in to the highest bidder. Prominence, for them, is not determined by longevity in the party, experience, age or previous office held within the society but by how deep the pocket is. Even procuring the ticket was based on financial war chest and running the affairs of the party still seems to toe the same trend. Otherwise if there was hierarchy and respect for party protocol, there is no way Obong Umana Okon Umana would have been the leader of the delegation, the spokesman of the delegation and the APC candidate. Such trinity would have been discouraged. But he who pays the piper dictates the tune.
It is unfortunate that the gubernatorial election in the State is still mired in needless controversy. Anybody who followed that election keenly would admit that there was no way PDP would have been defeated in the State. The party had so much accomplishment to point to, alongside a strong leader to boast of. It presented a candidate that stood shoulders above all others. It conducted vigorous and widespread campaigns across the State with the candidate demonstrating knowledge and understanding of the issues of governance. It had committed party faithful that were ready to vote and protect the votes. The minor skirmishes that attended that election were normal and not sufficient to taint the outcome. And strangely, even the recorded infractions were perpetrated by APC as evidenced in the arrest of perpetrators including a General who is a card carrying member of the party.
Many believe that the hullabaloo made by APC is a distraction. It is said that the party planned for electoral brigandage but failed because of the vigilance of PDP. It is also said that APC even sought and procured the assistance of the police hierarchy to perpetrate the brigandage and was sent an AIG and two Commissioners to help consummate the planned heist. It is further submitted that the AIG on arrival held a meeting with all the heads of units and briefed them on the need to work for the new centre to assure their promotion and continuation in the Police Force. With the riot act read, many say, the police went out of their way to prevent PDP from winning the election but the will of the people prevailed. From what has been gleaned, APC lost the election to PDP as a natural order and if that election is conducted again and again, PDP would win again and again. The propaganda that Governor Akpabio used private army to perpetrate mayhem and rig the election is a ruse as it is unfounded. Political players should learn the fine art of sports which is accepting defeat with grace. We enjoin those on the delegation not to further go astray. May God lead them back to the family and take away anger from their hearts.
Joe Iniodu is a public affairs commentator and wrote from Uyo.