FULFILLING DESTINY WITH IMOKE'S VICTORY
It was landslide victory for Senator Liyel Imoke, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in February 25, 2012 gubernatorial election, who trounced his eleven opponents with a whooping 451, 544 votes against their less than 50,000 votes put together.
Across the 18 Local Government Areas of the States, 501,117 voters filed out to exercise their franchise, although all the votes did not count. 11,178 were voided, while 489,939 were considered valid. Yet, the PDP candidate raked in about 90 percent of the total valid votes cast.
It was an exceptional triumph when compared to statistics of the electoral victories recorded recently in Kogi, Bayelsa, Adamawa and Sokoto States where the PDP governorship candidates also carried the day.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner representing Cross River, Akwa Ibom and Rivers States, Mrs Theresa Irem Irem, who was in Cross River to witness the election, confirmed the extraordinary outing of the PDP candidate, Senator Imoke.
He was to be disheartened by the eleventh hour court ruling by an Abuja High Court, which had ordered Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) not to conduct the election in the State, following an application of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) candidate, Patrick Okomiso.
Okomiso had challenged INEC fixture of the election, which in his estimation runs foul of the Electoral Act, which he said specified period for conducting campaigns, primaries and elections, but the electoral body clarified that it abided by the Act in arranging the poll.
The PDP bigwigs such as President Goodluck Jonathan, Vice President Muhammed Namadi Sambo, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, former Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Acting National Chairman of PDP, Abubakar Kawu Baraje, Senate President David Mark, Minister of Culture and Tourism, Chief Edem Duke, Governors of Rivers (Rt Hon. Rotimi Amaechi), Akwa Ibom (Obong Godswill Akpabio) and Bayelsa (Hon. Henry Seriake Dickson), among others who graced the grand finale of Imoke's campaign, refused to be dispirited even as the so- called disingenuous ruling came on the day they stormed the State.
In their separate remarks, they recalled INEC commitment in transforming the electoral process and abiding by court judgements since the return of democratic rule in 1999. They also recounted PDP's pledge in reaching out to the people at all election times, saying it has always accounted for the substantial successes the party has been recording since 1999.
Regrettably, Okomiso, who never campaigned throughout the INEC allotted time, but was relying on the truncation of the process by the courts, got 2,235 votes to clinch the third position. He was followed by Mrs. Imah Nsa Adegoke of the Labour Party (LP) who emerged fourth with 1,922 and Goddie Akpama of Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) fifth with 1,146. Ahead of Okomiso was Mr. Usani Uguru Usani of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) who scored 31,026 votes.
It was not surprising though, according to political pundits, who believe that the Senator deserved the triumph for two reasons: His developmental strides are gargantuan and second, he began his campaigns for re-election well on time.
President Jonathan and Senate President Mark, who were the earliest to turn in their congratulatory messages after the results were announced by the Chief Returning Officer, Professor James Epoke, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Calabar, said the victory of the governor-elect was a reward for his good work in the last four years.
It was all about commitment, the type enunciated by Jim Collins. 'The kind of commitment I find among the best performers across virtually every field is a single-minded passion for what they do, an unwavering desire for excellence in the way they think and the way they work. Genuine confidence is what launches you out of bed in the morning, and through your day with a spring in your step'??No wonder the Supreme Court, which ended the tenure of Imoke and four other State Governors of Kogi, Bayelsa, Sokoto and Adamawa in a ruling on January 29, 2012, could not sway the minds of the people in re-electing Senator Imoke, who demonstrated optimum fervor in his service to the people.
In less than a week after the ruling, Imoke thumped up campaign drums across the 18 Local Government Areas of the State. It began on Saturday, February 3, 2012 with the inauguration of campaign council and organization for the election and ended with a grand finale on Tuesday 22 February, 2012.
Oham writes from Calabar.