Governor Udom Emmanuel

The trending issue in the social media, by the motley sympathisers of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) in Akwa Ibom State, since the sack of Mr Udom Emmanuel as the governor by the Court of Appeal in Abuja, has been the understandable hysteria that if the rerun election is conducted again today, the former Executive Director of Zenith Bank would win.

Laughable? I think so. In fact, a friend quipped: If Mr Emmanuel was going to win a rerun, why is he going to the Supreme Court? He equally provided the answer to his poser: The governor wants to take two or three more months’ salary before trying his luck in the coming rerun.

My friend and, indeed, other Akwa Ibom indigenes, both in the state and elsewhere, know that this is the truth. Udom Emmanuel and his cohorts in the PDP in Akwa Ibom State know that he stands no chance in any election.

His chances are further dampened by the fact he is generally seen as a godson of former governor, now Senator Godswill Akpabio. Before the emergence of the Senator as governor in 2007, Akwa Ibom never experienced cases of kidnapping, murders, assassinations and other vices, even at the height of militancy in the Niger Delta between 2003 and 2006.

To even make matters worse, Emmanuel inherited 80 per cent of his cabinet from the regime Akwa Ibom people thought was a bad dream they would soon wake up from. His modus operandi is not different. Up till this moment, six months on, even in his interim capacity as governor, Emmanuel has not thought it necessary to tell the Akwa Ibom people how much he inherited, both in cash and liabilities, from the former governor.

He has continued to spend money on frivolities and keep promising industrialisation by simply clearing grounds and erecting flags. A clear case is the armoured car factory he promised the people very early in his interim administration. The flags are now torn and the weeds are up again at Ikot Ukap Itam in Itu Local Government Area.

But, most important, the wastefulness which characterised the administration of Senator Akpabio has even grown more legs. Frivolous celebrations and giving of money to political jobbers are on the increase. Stories abound on how security vote to the tune of N2 billion monthly is being distributed to political chieftains.

The main issues which the Appeal Court espoused at the ruling give the real verve as to why Akwa Ibom people cannot allow their destiny into the hands of the PDP and Mr Emmanuel. According to the Court of Appeal verdict, the governorship elections, and indeed other elections in Akwa Ibom state were a sham. There was (simply) no elections as collaborated by reports of both local and international observers, and even law enforcement agencies, minus State Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC (for obvious reasons)

The elections, especially the governorship elections broke every rules and guidelines of INEC on how elections could go. Apart from snatching of ballot boxes, maiming and intimidating voters, no collation was done at the unit, ward, local government and the state headquarters of INEC. In fact, the result of Akwa Ibom governorship election was allegedly tabulated at the government house in Uyo. Every indices that define credible elections were absence in the Akwa Ibom election.

Even the contrivance of using senatorial district to hoodwink the people has refused to stick. The chameleonic Akpabio administraton just wanted to use every conceivable mean to foist Emmanuel on the people by using senatorial consideration instead of ethnic formular. The truth is that if Akpabio wanted to employ equity in the choosing a governor, the Oron people would have been the clear choice.

The state stands on a tripod of Ibibio, Annang and Oron. Ibibio and Annangs have had their turns and it was only logical that he should have gone to the Oros in the Akwa Ibom South senatorial district to pick a candidate.

The fact is Emmanuel is Ibibio just like Umana O. Umana. This subterfuge has also refused to stick with the people, who desire a person who knows how to banish the excruciating poverty in the mist of bounteous oil revenue in the last eight years, instead of the one who would rather build unfinished cinema house.

So, it’s laughable to say that Udom Emmanuel would win if the governorship rerun elections are conducted today. A glimpse of what would happen was seen across Akwa Ibom state minutes after the Court of Appeal verdict penultimate friday. Thousands of Akwa Ibomites spontaneously poured on the streets of all the towns and villages in jubilation.

Juxtapose this to when Udom was announced as the governor by the Resident Electoral Commissioner, Austin Okojie. The people responded by throwing pebbles, setting bonfires and closing major roads.

These two scenarios can be concluded with the popular Ibibio proverb which says that signs of a good day are usually seen in the mornings.

The only luck that the motley Udom Emmanuel choristers do not have is that there is a regime change, and one that is not ready to brook the shenanigans that usually characterised previous elections.

The truth is, every Akwa Ibom man must be part of the election process, and let’s see between Emmanuel of PDP and Umana Okon Umana of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the person the people would want to have as governor. The Akwa Ibom people know the answer already.

Ankak, a journalist and public affairs commentator, lives in Lagos.

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