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Obong Attah's Endorsement Of Uou, Udom's Unstoppable Victory And Allied Matters.

By Bassey Nkanang
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This piece is not in any way intended to cast aspersions on the person of Obong Attah. As a former governor, an elder statesman and a close friend and schoolmate (at St. Patrick's College, Calabar) of my eldest brother, Dr. Brendan Nkanang, it definitely does not lie in my mouth to sound disrespectful to this great man.

This piece is simply a dispassionate appraisal of the issues relating to and connected with our ex- governor's open alignment with the governorship aspiration of Obong Umanah Umanah and the inevitable victory of Deacon Udom Emmanuel in the governorship election scheduled for Saturday the 11th day of April, 2015. This appraisal becomes pertinent especially as the aforementioned alignment appears to negate the exalted position that Obong Attah occupies in the heirachy of the PDP. This appraisal is also important in view of the established antecedents of our ex-governor.

A few Saturdays ago, Obong Attah while expressing his stance against the zoning of the governorship of Akwa Ibom State to Eket Senatorial District in year 2015 made some allusion to certain circumstances that made it expedient to jeopardise that equitable option for an ill-fated option that considers those of us from Eket Senatorial District as being completely dispensable.

If one is not mistaken, Obong Attah alluded to the process that led to the emergence of Deacon Udom Emmanuel as the state PDP governorship flagbearer as the basis to justify his departure from the equitable option of rotating the office of the Governor of Akwa Ibom State to Eket Senatorial District where Udom Emmanuel hails from. This stance of our ex-governor is analogous to the legal position that for every general rule of law, there is an exception but I know too well that to warrant or justify a departure from any rule of law, the justifying circumstances must be compelling, persuasive, irresistible- and I add- devoid of fraud.

Our esteemed ex-governor appears to have taken a sanctimonious stance and tends to hinge his stance on his alleged low credibility ratio of the process that led to the emergence of Deacon Udom Emmanuel as the PDP flagbearer.

As a father, an elder statesman, a two-time governor of the state on the platform of the PDP and a BOT member of the same party, Obong Attah is obligated to, at ALL times, act in a manner that would grow the party instead of diminishing it no matter the prevalent circumstances. As a worst case scenario, our Obong could have remained neutral and I hold that it is completely out of sync with logic and good conscience to tear down a structure one laboured to build.

I posit that any reliance on any ''justifying circumstance'' to subvert any convention, resolution or any entrenched practice especially where the circumstance is purported to be on grounds of principles, then the person seeking to subvert must have unimpeachable evidence of previous adherence to principles. In other words, he who seeks equity MUST be seen to have done equity.

I am told and I verily believe that in 1999, it was Chief Benji Okoko who won the PDP gubernatorial primaries in the state but we all know that it was Obong Attah that eventually represented PDP at the polls.

I recall clearly that in 1999 while in my penultimate year at the University of Uyo, the late Prof. I. I. Ukpong summoned us the students from ONNA L. G. A. thereat and instructed all of us to go home and support and indeed vote for Obong Attah in the 1999 governorship elections. We all complied and by implication, we became part of the process of the emergence of Obong Attah as governor of Akwa Ibom State in 1999. This mention of Prof. I. I. Ukpong is very apt here as he was a major advocate of power shift/rotation from Uyo Senatorial District then to Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District. In fact it must have been in recognition of the Prof's robust roles on the advocacy for power rotation that prompted Gov. Akpabio at the funeral of the Prof in April, 2013 at Ikot Eko Ibon, ONNA L. G. A. to state that the people of the Prof's Senatorial District would surely benefit from power shift as, according to the governor, power shift to Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District would not have been a reality but for the roles of certain men like the late Prof.

In the general elections of year 2003 in which Obong Attah emerged victorious, I can attest without fear of contradiction that the said election was very flawed and heavily rigged in favour of the PDP but it was that process that threw up our dear Obong Attah as governor for the second time.

I have always insisted that no outgoing chief executive officer of any organisation no matter how minute, not to mention a state with vast potentials like Akwa Ibom State, would remain un-involved or indifferent in the processes leading to the emergence of his successor. Furthermore, neither the Electoral Act nor the PDP Constitution bars an outgoing governor from having or propagating his interest in the processes leading to the emergence of his successor.

Following from the above therefore, our revered Obong Attah played very active roles in the processes leading to the emergence of his eventual successor and indeed sought to have his way by openly propagating the gubernatorial aspiration of his son-in-law, Dr.

Ekarika. Even though he did not succeed in this quest, I hold that he was entitled to participate fully and indeed manifest his preference in that process that ultimately culminated in the emergence of his successor hence none could accuse either Gov. Akpabio of doing any wrong for doing what other chief executives would ordinarily do nor hold anything against Deacon Udom Emmanuel or his Senatorial District for being the beneficiary of the nomination process in which the outgoing governor simply participated.

At the risk of sounding repetitive, I wish to recall that Obong Attah, completely unmindful of his status in the PDP and the stabilising roles he ought to play for the party that has twice given him a platform to thrive, has openly identified with the aspirations of flagbearers of opposing political parties. In the first attempt in year 2011, the candidate who was then in ACN failed. In this second attempt this year, the beneficiary is equally bound to be rejected by the Akwa Ibom electorate and I have my reasons for this assertion.

Everything on ground currently point to the success of Deacon Udom Emmanuel at the Saturday, the 11th of April poll. Let's consider these

indicators: Udom's unrivalled and widespread acceptability as opposed to the pockets and vengeance-motivated support of his major challenger; the equity that his candidature represents as opposed to the injustice and disunity that the candidature of his major challenger connotes; the detailed and realistic manifestoes of Udom as opposed to the generalised and on-the-surface promise of ''change''

without any verifiable antecedents of the major challenger; the enviable financial management prowess and global reach of Udom as opposed to the very limited and localised pedigree of his major challenger; the election of ALL the thirteen Federal legislators from Akwa Ibom State by the PDP and even the established antecedents where beneficiaries of Obong Attah's endorsements usually lose at the polls etc.

In spite of the questionable victory of Buhari, nothing can alter the resolve of the Akwa Ibom electorate to vote in a man they can trust as opposed to a man whose available antecedents reek of a questionable financial status even after an entire working life in public service.

Even if the APC has the Presidency, I posit that the most critical element in the socio-economic development of any people is the human element. In other words, it is the capacity of the persons in charge of the management of the place and not necessarily the party in charge that matters.

Following from all the above therefore, it could be safely concluded that in spite of the not-too-good anti party activities of Obong Attah in aligning with the gubernatorial aspiration of a rival political party, the victory of Deacon Udom Emmanuel on the 11th day of April,

2015 is as certain as day and night.
-BARR. BASSEY NKANANG writes from Eket in Akwa Ibom State