Akwa Ibom State Politics: Plans by Onofiok Luke to Disrupt the Tribunal in Uyo
The only good thing any rational person can say about Onofiok Luke is that during his days as a student at the University of Uyo, during which he was elected a student leader, he was known to use his position in student-body government to terrorize, intimidate, and threaten not only the lectures, but also other University authorities.
After putting up with his attitude for so long, Onofiok Luke was eventually expelled from the University. He never completed his degree, until Godswill Akpabio hired him as a Personal Assistant for Youth. While serving as a PA for Akpabio, the same University, which expelled Onofiok Luke, rescinded its position and issued him a diploma. Onofiok Luke served in the National Youth Corp, while serving Akpabio as his Personal Assistant. True or not, those familiar with the incident strongly believe that Godswill Akpabio's influence over university authorities played a major role on the action taken by the university.
After Onofiok was expelled from University of Uyo, he was known to be running afoul of laws at both the federal and state levels. He had a bad record and just when the federal authorities were closing and about to arrest him, Godswill Akpabio spent millions of naira to bail him out. Akpabio hired Onofiok Luke and made him his PA. Those who knew Onofiok Luke well at the time, including some officials of the University of Uyo, were shocked when they learned that a personality of the caliber of Onofiok Luke was allowed to be as close as he was (and still is) to the seat of power of Akwa Ibom State Government.
For at least the first three years of Akpabio's administration, Onofiok Luke and his likes, such as Prince Ikim, used their positions and their closeness with Godswill Akpabio to intimidate innocent indigenes of Akwa Ibom State. Eventually, Prince Ikim was thrown out of the 'ivory tower' and he blamed Onofiok Luke for his demise; those who are knowledgeable at what led to the departure of Prince Ikim said it was a battle of two cult leaders struggling for attention of the 'Governor.' What Prince Ikim did not know at the time was that, just as he was, Onofiok Luke was also secretly lurking an ambition to contest for the State House of Assembly. Not that both of them are from the same constituent zone, the battle was really for full support and funds from Godswill Akpabio.
Prince Ikim narrowly missed an assassination attempt and went into hiding, where he still remains. In the 2011 Election for the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, with the help of Umana Okon Umana and Godswill Akpabio, Onofiok Luke won as a Representative from Nsit Ubium Local Government Area. Initially, Akpabio tried to maneuver the politics of the current House of Assembly to have Onofiok Luke appointed as the Speaker of the House. But some House Members, who knew the personality of Onofiok Luke very well, campaigned against Akpabio, eventually, Hon. Sam Ikon (of Etinan) emerged as the Speaker.
There are series of speculations as to why Akpabio wanted Onofiok Luke to become the Speaker of the House. That matter will be visited and addressed in future.
Sources say Onofiok Luke is the leader of a cult group known as 'C5.'
Now, Akpabio and Umana Okon Umana have a job for Onofiok Luke; disrupt the proceedings of the Election Tribunal sitting in Uyo. Instructions given to him are simple; disrupt the tribunal, cart away the available evidence in the court house, and make the entire incident appear as the handiwork of the so-called opposition. Those who think this could not be done should remember that a similar incident happened in Enugu State, where Onofiok Luke is probably getting his ideas.
Sources say Akpabio and Umana Okon Umana have promised a payment of N1 billion to 'C5' group if Onofiok Luke succeeds in a violent cart-away of the evidence that ACN plans to present before the Tribunal. Other sources have also confirmed that Akpabio has paid off some corrupt officials at INEC and that those officials have promised never to allow ACN access to the voting materials, even on the orders of the Tribunal.
It appears Onofiok Luke and his gangs have begun their assignments.
Sometime in January, or shortly after the Tribunal judges arrived at Uyo, sources say a threat was issued to the them that they would be killed if they refused to accept the pay-off money offered by Akpabio.
And last week, security was beefed-up around the venue of the Tribunal after the security agencies had received a tip that Akpabio had instructed cultists to disrupt the Tribunal. The group left the premises of the Tribunal when SSS, MOPOL, Police, and the anti-squad personnel swooped in to throw them out. When the plot was leaked out and the Police started to investigate the allegations, Akpabio knew that if such an investigation points to him as the source of the problem, he would definitely lose support from the higher hierarchy of the PDP.
To cover his track and true to his dubious and crafty nature, Akpabio began to blame the opposition as those that want to destabilize Akwa Ibom State. Immediately, as if he is competing with anyone, he dispatched an SOS message to Nigerian Security authorities requesting for more Police Officers in the State. Just three or four days ago, a contingent of ten truck-loads of Police arrived at Uyo, where they still remain.
It is interesting to mention here that the same voting materials requested from INEC by ACN, as evidence to the Tribunal, had previously been requested for when ACN first filed its petition with the Tribunal in 2011. At that time, INEC, after a court order was issued on behalf of ACN, allowed access to the materials. The ACN and the Akpan Udoedehe Positive Change 2011 Campaign team spent a lot of money and considerable length of time to photocopy the materials. To make the copied material authentic, a clerk, or personnel responsible for the task, had to place an official (INEC) stamp on every page of the materials, which were in the thousands.
When the materials were delivered for authenticity, the clerk who was supposed to have them stamped stalled on his duty. Repeated calls by ACN lawyers to have the materials ready for a court hearing was like talking to a brick wall. And when election dispute was thrown out by the first Tribunal in Uyo and the Appeal Court in Calabar, Akpabio, PDP, and INEC, were happy that the mater had finally been put to rest, or so they thought.
Few days after the Appeal Court had thrown away the case, the clerk who refused to put an official INEC on stamp on the voting materials collapsed in his office and died, instantly. When his office was searched, a sum of $17,000.00 was found stashed in one of his drawers, a possible explanation why he was reluctant to do his official duty.
Sources say around February 15 (2012), some Federal Judges visited Uyo and spent some time with Akpabio. When they left, Akpabio gave them some money. What those who are familiar with this matter do not know is if the money for the judges is to influence the case of Frank Okon against Akpabio, which is coming up for a hearing in Abuja Court on March 6, 2001, or to influence the on-going sitting of the Election Tribunal in Uyo.
An analyst I contacted in Uyo said; 'My brother, don't' bother yourself with these people. They will do everything within their power, but in the end, they will fail. And let me tell you something else; this case, no matter what anyone does, will finally be decided at the Supreme Court. And the day it will end, it will be so abrupt that Akpabio and his people will never understand what falls on them.
Remember when Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt? The Israelites walked and ran for many days to escape from King Pharaoh.
Finally they found themselves on the edge of the Red Sea. Then they looked behind them, Pharaoh's soldiers were in pursuit. The Israelites were scared. And God asked Moses, 'What do you have in your hand?' 'A staff,' Moses responded. And when God directed Moses on what to do with the staff in his hand, before the Israelites could blink, a sigh of relieve was in front of them; the Red Sea divided into two sides.
And the children of Israel walked to the Promised Land, while Pharaoh's soldiers perished. The end of Akpabio's nonsense will end like that; abruptly and in shame and he will be perished, just as the soldiers of Pharaoh did.'