Akwa Ibom Guber 2015: The Awaited Consesus
At about 6:01pm on the 16th day of April 1968, at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis Tennessee, USA, a sniper, through the smoking nozzle of a Remington 760 Gamemaster took the life of one of the world's finest hearts, Martin Luther King Jnr. Though he's gone for over 40 years now, the outstanding legacies of the great American clergyman, activist and freedom fighter leave with us.
Among the many quotes that characterized King's life, these two lines of conscience from him capture the essence of this piece. In an unveiled response to the evil of his day, King declared:
'I refuse to accept the idea that the 'is-ness of a man's present nature makes him morally incapable of reaching up for the eternal 'ought-ness' that forever confronts him '.
As the 2015 Akwa Ibom governorship race hits up unofficially, what confronts the millions of voters in the state is the choice of whose boat to sail with to the polls. In making this critical choice, caution must be exercised to ensure that we don't rely more on what 'is' than what 'ought' to be. Whether or not anybody has declared his intension to contest the governorship seat, the current body language of politicians in the state sounds louder than a faulty train.
Like any other conscientious observer, I'm still lost as to why it is not yet a consensus that the governorship slot be allowed to go to Eket Senatorial district when it is crystal clear that it 'ought' to be so. As my name may have suggested, I don't hail from Akwa Ibom, but my 13years of adult life in this great land, a robust career in journalism and a beautiful wife from the alluring planes of Ikot Inyang Idung forbids me to just sit and watch.
Like King again observed, 'nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity'. Which of these two is hindering this much awaited consensus? The former is a problem with the gullible masses of our country while the later is a sin with the leadership class and may account for the growing culture of deviance pervading our polity.
What 'is' is that everyone constitutionally has the right to contest the office of the governor. What 'ought' is that for sake of equity, Eket Senetorial district who have not produced a governor in the history of the State should be allowed to do so.
While in search of sufficient reasons to buttress my point, I stumbled on a feature on Itohowo Williams' Blog 4 all titled: '2015 AKWA IBOM GUBER RACE: QUESTIONS FOR THE DAY'. Like Chief Obasanjo's open letter to President Jonathan, the issues raised in this piece deserved more than a passive perusal. So, bearing in mind that facts are sacred in journalism I proceeded to interact with some respectable citizens of the state who will wish not to be dragged into the 'controversy of 2015'. It was clear by their separate responses that:
By virtue of the provisions of article7.2.C of the extant constitution of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), zoning and rotation of party and public offices is an enforceable policy of the party.
In the build up to of the 1998 gubernatorial primaries of the PDP, the state caucus of the party led by Chief Don Etiebet met and resolved that since the tenure of the late Obong Akpan Isemin in the 3rd Republic was truncated by the military, Uyo Senatotial District should be allowed to take the first turn and Obong Attah of Uyo Senatorial District was made the consensus candidate of the party for the 1999 guber election.
The state caucus of the party met at Government House, Uyo in November, 2002 and resolved that the then Governor, Obong Victor Attah be allowed to complete 2 terms for Uyo Senatorial District and it came to pass.
Also, in the build up to the 2006 PDP guber primaries, the immediate past Governor, Obong Attah assembled Akwa Ibom people at Ibom Hall and pronounced the decision of the party leadership to zone the office of the governor to Ikot Ekpene Senatorial district which produced the incumbent governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio.
What all of these simply mean is that there was a consensus in 1999, there was a consensus in 2007; why then should there not be a consensus in 2015?
The season for consultations and negotiations have come again and in that same tradition, Governor Akpabio appreciably has declared his just intension to hand over power to an Akwa Ibom son from Eket Senatorial district in 2015 and I am shocked that anybody who means well for the Akwa Ibom project will oppose this, especially if he or she is abreast with these aforementioned facts.
According to our hero of the day, Martin Luther King Jnr., 'An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity'.
It is obvious that what is stalling the much anticipated consensus, at least within the PDP family in Akwa Ibom State is the 'is-ness' of some individuals who want to be governor at any cost. These ambitious individuals with loaded vaults are deploying every means possible to ensure that the 'ought-ness' that will consolidate the gains recorded in the current administration is rubbished. Why?
Let's not forget that he who sacrifices his conscience to ambition burns a picture to obtain the ashes. If your kernels were cracked by benevolent spirits should you not embrace humility? Those who tend to insult the intelligence of the peace-loving people of Akwa Ibom by waving the zoning question away like a plate of ekpang 'nkukwo on a Christmas banquet should ask themselves what their reaction would be if someone from the Akpabio family insists on becoming the next governor of the State after Chief Godswill Akpabio just because the constitution permits him or her.
The situation is more worrisome when we see the battalion of foot soldiers who for their love for a portion of the king's wine call Nebuchadnezzar a god. These overzealous opportunists are waving the green flag for these men because of the 'is-ness' of their pockets and soaking the polity with acrimony, but he who is an mule and takes himself to be a stag finds his mistakes when he comes to leap the ditch. My advice to the ogas who seem trapped by the pressure from supporters is; retreat sir, and they will all surrender. Be guided by divine will and a vision of what is right so that at the end of the day, you can rest with a clear conscience.
Akwa Ibom is obviously undergoing a rebirth, as custodians of the people's trust our politicians must ensure that they live in a state of corresponding dignity and honour. Let's not forget that the peace so enjoined in the state can be attributed largely to the zoning formula. It is an intricate part of our democracy. We sincerely look forward to the time when there will be no zoning, but for now, it is the definition of equity, good conscience and justice as far as the 2015 governorship race is concerned. Let power go to Eket Senatorial district, let Akwa Ibom sit again and reach that consensus and brotherly love will continue.
However, no matter the turmoil, twist and turns, our consolation is in the name Emmanuel, GOD IS ALREADY WITH US.
Stanley Orji () is an indigene of Abia State of Nigeria but resides in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State