Will APC Sustain Its War Of Attrition On Akwa Ibom State?

By Uwemedimoh Umanah

Tuesday, the 9th of February, 2016, was very memorable to me over what I experienced. The weather was, as usual, oven hot, when, I walked into the premises Nigerian Postal Service office to purchase some stationery.

I was marveled that Ibom plaza which houses the Post Office was such a converge for the good, the bad and the ugly, for good and bad reasons because the last time I had an interface with the people there was during my undergraduate days in the university of Uyo.

As I approached the plaza, there was this very lanky, tall but helplessly patronizing young man who, on sighting and recognizing as an old me as an old acquaintance said, "Sai, Owo Udom, ikiyem idia ino ado. Ima Idiongo Ke Akpabio ayabre ano Udom...", implying literally, Udom's man, we have succeeded in getting our share of the loots from whoever, we knew that, with Akpabio, Governor Udom Emmanuel's had no case.

The expression struck me and I asked, could a man who had since left the state to take up the position as a distinguished Senator and Senate Minority Leader in the National Assembly be so ubiquitous that the mere mention of his name dislodges an entire political party?

These scenario and insights have left pundits pondering as to the substance and the DNA of the APC. It also begs the question: why does Akpabio's name send jitters down the spine of APC members in Akwa Ibom State and Nigeria in general? The way APC is going about its organization, it is safe to infer that so long as the name of Akpabio resonates in Nigeria's political lexicon, it's dream of capturing the hilltop mansion remains an illusion.

That is because APC in Akwa Ibom is on a wild goose chase in Akwa Ibom State. The party's modus operandi resonates the thought of Otto Von Bismarck, the Prussian Chancellor and architect of the German Unification whose unification speech harped on the imperative of strategy over rhetoric. According to him, "the great question of the day cannot be decided by speeches and resolutions of the day, but ...( in this case, by legitimacy or acceptability).

The Akwa Ibom APC, as it is today, has no grassroots appeal and only dwells on mendacious falsehood and blackmail as instruments of survival, through propaganda.

Besides, the party has left "the baby to throw away the bathwater"; Its members yet come to terms that Udom Gabriel Emmanuel had since May 29, 2015 (exactly eight months ago) taken over the affairs of the state from Chief Godswill Akpabio, who is now a Senator of the Federal Republic and Minority Leader of Senate.

I saw, live, how Senator Ita Enang's phone fell off his hands and his expression totally distorted at the Supreme Court premises immediately Senator Godswill Akpabio arrived. While Some APC members gave up on the court ruling in their favor on sighting the distinguish Senator, others were of the opinion that he arrived the court with "a month's allocation of Akwa Ibom State to bribe the judges, what a preposterous imagination. And they further argued and that the judges proceeded to read the ruling on his arrival.

This view was reinforced by one of the Media Aides to the APC gubernatorial candidate, Mr Umana, that 20 billion dollar was used for that purpose. How pathetic for a political party that should be defined by a clear ideology?

Now the main argument, having lost at the Supreme Court to Governor Udom Emmanuel, will APC which has been at war with the people of Akwa Ibom sustain its tempo in process of demonizing the state and its institutions?

Two events took place in the state before the Supreme Court judgement on the gubernatorial election of the state that necessitate a re-examination of the prospects of the APC in the state . The first and most unfortunate event was the illegal invasion of the State Governor's Lodge by officers of Directorate of State Service (DSS) in October, 2015.

While it it clear to even political neophytes that the dastardly act was orchestrated by the APC leaders in the state, primarily, it's gubernatorial candidate in the April 2015 polls, to dampen the morale and weaken the strength of the state Governor, it is disheartening that, till date, neither has an official statement nor an apology been issued the government and people of the state. The APC is suffering from power aphrodisiac, which, if not properly checked, might suffocate the party to political oblivion.

The second event was the solemn assembly convened by the APC at the Nsima Ekere Campaign Ground in Uyo. The event which the APC used to receive Obong Umana Umana, who was in an adventurous sojourn to Abuja, where "he wined, dined and hobnobbed with President Buhari, and got his nod that all was okay", turned out to be a stage for another "Night of a thousand laugh".

History has been unfavorable to those who habitually flout it's laws; Umana Umana and his APC co-travelers are victims of historical negationism. They, again, during the so-called solemn assembly misplaced their priority by dwelling on personalities rather than the programmes and manifesto of the APC. By situating their campaigns on ethnicity and personal interest, the APC in Akwa Ibom is goofing big time, as it has demonstrated it's incapacity to integrate the state.

It's repugnant to commonsense when a supposed statesman flouts every rule of reason, logic, decorum and commonsense, all of which define statesmanship, to engage in a war of attrition, by abusing the sensitivity of the same people he claims to be leading. At the said event, tantrums were thrown at the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, the immediate past Governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio.

What made their speeches smack of demagoguery was that all those who spoke during the infamous rally meant little or nothing about what they said, as they had no goodwill and political strength at their respective wards and local government areas. Also, they, hitherto, were PDP members for the past 16 years and beneficiaries of both the Attah and Akpabio administrations, having played pivotal roles in all the projects of the administration. So what's manner of change is APC propagating in Akwa Ibom? The APC in Akwa Ibom is thus, "a moldy bread with a new label"- susceptible to being dispensed of, at a closer look.

With the elections of 2019 in mind, it is crystal clear that the APC is not prepared to learn its lessons of history- that cheap lies, demeaning subterfuge and police intimidations neither garner goodwill nor win votes. Yes, the APC might be in control of the police and other security apparatuses as its leaders claim at public fora, but as the Maverick Senator Arthur Nzeribe once asked, "has election ever been successfully rigged where one is relatively unpopular?"

Investing in cameras, security chips and other video recording gadgets for the purpose of ascertaining the credibility or otherwise of an electoral voting processes is worthwhile to both the PDP and APC. Preparing for litigations in respect of the outcome of the elections on account of disenfranchisement and over -voting are allowed, being aspects of the political process. But can these alone entrench a political party that is fast losing its taste and flavor among the people?

Uwemedimoh Umanah, a Crisis Communications Expert, Diplomatic Scholar, Strategic Theorist and Public Affairs Commentator, writes from Uyo.

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