RE: WHY ACN LOST IN AKWA IBOM
Recently, in THISDAY, VANGUARD and DAILY INDEPENDENT newspapers, I came across a write-up that, with the above title that I have found, very difficult to put in a journalistic category. The initial shock was the author, Iboro Otongaran. This author is one of Akwa Ibom’s very best, in respect of information/media management. Prior to this, Mr. Otongaran had worked for the Attah government that expired in May 2007. From inception of this [Akpabio] era, he has been the chief information/communication “trouble shooter”. The truth is that, beginning from May 29, 2007, when the present government in Akwa Ibom State began, information/media processes have been mismanaged by government functionaries. It became so bad that, at least four to five different officials can feed the media with different versions of the same issue.
This debacle necessitated the coming on board of Iboro Otongaran, who, to his credit, “cleaned up the mess”, and launched the government on an orchestrated media propaganda, that has worked for non-indigenes. No one can deny that, Mr. Otongaran is good in his chosen field-several years as a PR practitioner, and a Distinction at College graduation. That is the reason for this reaction, Iboro has never “walked this road” in his entire career. My fear is that, if this is the new Iboro Otongaran, Akwa Ibom, and the media community, has lost an intelligent, brilliant, painstaking author.
May I also use this opportunity to inform non Akwa Ibomites that, the scenario in Akwa Ibom, is not that of Ibibio against the Annangs. No, that is not true. Both Godswill Akpabio, and James Udoedehe, cannot speak for the two tribes, in an ideal situation. Both are simply morally bankrupt. Secondly, Godswill Akpabio cannot stay one more day at the HILLTOP MANSION, without the backing of the Ibibios. Thirdly, the incumbent Governor’s fiercest critic is an Annang man. The latter’s position is that, besides the regime of fear/insecurity that has been visited on Akwa Ibom State, the brazen promotion of a supremacy agenda, has alienated his Ibibio friends, so to him, these wounds will take some time to heal.
Now, back to Mr. Otongaran’s chronicles of why ACN lost in Akwa Ibom, the figures [of voters], are very laughable. Maybe the author can tell the reading public, why PDP did not win Uyo Federal and State Constituency elections? Was it the presence of the media and observers that allowed for credible elections? Also, he failed to inform that, the candidate for Uyo State Constituency, has been locked up at Ikot Akpan Abia, for more than two years now at the instance of the State government. ACN fielded him and in incarceration, he defeated Enobong Hammer Uwah, a privileged Special Assistant to the Governor. Ekere Affiah, MHA, AKS, lost the House of Reps version to the ACN candidate.
Mr. Otongaran, forget about the “managed” endorsements by the tribal groups, they are officially funded by the State government. Their credibility can be compared to the many bill boards that litter AKS, “endorsing” Mr. Akpabio. Since, you will not allow” sleeping dogs to lie”, your principal, Umana Umana, SSG, AKSG, cannot win election in his village, Ndiya, not to mention Nsit Ubium. Please, ask Senator Effiong Bob. Mr. Umana has dealt with competition, so, the people are awaiting his “fall”.
In Etinan LGA, Jackson Sunny Udoh [Jackson Devos] is a yesterday man. There are documented evidences of Paul Ekpo’s adventures during the governorship elections. North of Etinan, precisely Asuna axis, after people were accredited, voting materials were not received at polling units as late as 4.00 pm. But, these Polling Units had wonderful figures recorded against them. If you want to verify, ask ex-PDP chieftain, Lady Ime Udom. This same scenario was replicated in all parts of the state, excepting Uyo/Uruan area. There is a young man that competed the AKHA elections against the incumbent speaker. Ifiok Inyang Dickson of ACN, he defeated the Speaker. You might not know that, the Nsit Ibom people, also rejected Idongesit Nkanga, whom they address as the Governor’s PA in charge of umbrella. He lost his PU to ACN. The Commissioner for Finance, Albert Akpan, is alleged to have wreaked havoc on Ibiono indigenes [ refer to the number of people who lost their lives].
Surprisingly, you did not proffer reasons, why the ACN lost in the Ikot Ekpene and Oron/Eket zones, or, you were trying to prove how the Uyo senatorial district rejected their own? Uruan did not vote ACN, they voted in protest to the prevailing insecurity and insensitivity in AKS. That has always been Uruan’s answer to unpopular governments. Please, ask Awawa Ekaenang, or Usen Akpabio, Member, AKHA.
You also attempted to play the ethnic card by accusing James Udoedehe of inciting the Ibibios against the Annangs. Have you not heard of the allegation that Etido Inyang, Special Adviser to the Governor on Technical Matters, went on State TV to say that, the gap between Akpan and Udoh [read Ibibio and Annang], has been bridged?
The truth, our Iboro, is that, we, the not-ruling Akwa Ibomites, do not need the confusion you people have introduced. Akwa Ibom people did cast protest votes against Mr. Akpabio, unfortunately, the rigging machinery of the incumbent, were only matched by two other states in Nigeria. In AKS, you talk about free education, yet, there is no chalk for use in the classrooms. In a state that celebrates free education, the COE, Afaha Nsit, that trains the bulk of teaching staff, was starved of funds, and were forced to go on industrial strike for months.
In AKS, the medical personnel, are the least paid in the country. Presently, a state that earned up to 35billion from FG allocation in one month, is owing at least a month in back log of salaries. This was the reason, the government, resorted to massive rigging, to avoid rejection by the civil servants, who were ready to vote in protest. Often, they wanted/voted ACN , because, PDP as represented by the Akpabio regime has brought them untold sorrow.
Dear Iboro, if you are sincere, AKS with the resources God has endowed us with, would have been a paradise for us. If you want to test your Governor’s popularity, ask him to walk the streets of Uyo, like Rotimi Amaechi does in Port Harcourt. Are you, a student of Development Studies, not worried that, your principal has built fly overs, night club, renovated primary schools, built an airport, roads, yet, they cannot frolick at the night club, because, they must be indoors by 7.30 p.m.? Why must we play politics with every thing?
Consider your ways again, because, if God is who He says He is, Akwa Ibom ayado OK. Amen.
Akpan Asunwa, is a Public Affairs commentator.