Scavengers, Vipers As Agents Of Change In Akwa Ibom Elections
By Essien Ndueso |
Scavengers, vultures or savages, that’s what they are. Sometimes finding the right adjectives to qualify these ruthless, venomous, vicious broods of vipers can be so difficult. But that is what some elders of APC in Akwa Ibom have turned politics into. Otherwise, how else can one describe the scene that was witnessed in Ikot Ekpene local government area, where young men were seen in broad daylight wielding guns and other weapons to chase away voters, some of whom were their own parents. When my colleagues Prince Bassey and Mfonobong Usoro first called me at about 11am to report that suspected APC Gunmen had attempted to snatch ballot materials, I never took them serious and I insisted they must not make comments based on hearsay. But when they called back minutes later to tell me that a group of young heavily armed men were busy scaring the living daylight out of innocent electorate that barely came out to exercise their franchise, I knew that there was something really wrong.
When did election materials become gold for which people were now robbing and attempting to kill? As I made frantic attempts to call everyone I know in Ikot Ekpene to keep safe distances from polling units that have become complete terror dens, I received the news that the monsters had been accosted and rounded up by security operatives. They were aides and allies of some APC chieftains from Ikot Ekpene and Ikot Abasi. My mind went back quickly to the emotional tone in the voice of our Governor the previous day, passionately appealing to youths and everyone, to eschew electoral violence and allow politics to unite rather than destroy the fabric of our existence. I kept looking at pictures of the dare-devil faces in the back of the police truck, and I see young minds, who naturally would have been under the warm clutches of their families; the supposed leaders of tomorrow being led out to destruction, by people who pride themselves as agents of change. All the enquiries I made revealed that none of these children who were given guns to shoot at voters and snatch election materials, were children of APC elders. To say the least, the vehicle they used, allegedly belonged to Chief Sunny Ibanga an elder of the party, whose children were presumably in the comfort of their father’s house watching Chelsea vs Newcastle and later Arsenal vs Manchester United premier league matches.
But when did the APC come this low? I vividly recall that during the build up to the local government elections, while I witnessed and also took part actively in PDP rallies in the state, I almost saw nothing in the semblance of rallies by the APC, and at some point, it became worrisome if they were no longer taking part in the elections. Elections they had made so much noise about. At first they kept postponing the date of the commencement of their campaigns on the premises that the Vice President must be around to do so himself. Of course the ‘clever’ VP never came and they did the flag-off themselves, about two weeks to the actual election. But after that, they went to sleep. And as the clock inched closer to the election day, PDP intensified its campaigns from one unit to the other, while APC made efforts to abort the election, journeying from one courtroom to the other. News of mass defections to PDP from all over the state became predominant, as the umbrella movement comb nooks and crannies to harvest support and swell its base. This led to mass withdrawal of more candidates of the APC from the elections, clearing the coast for a smooth sail for the party on ground.
With the arrest of these ballot thieves in broad daylight, one is forced to lament at the moral ineptitude of our so-called leaders, who effortlessly try to sow alien seeds of discord and destroy the bonds of love that had propelled us this high. I have read about the efforts made by a chief executive of a federal intervention agency from this state to use his federal connections to deliver his boys from the fangs of the law. That to me, smacks insensitivity. I took time to read a post on this elections by a senior colleague, Anietie Usen. He has spared his brush no restraint in tarring the government and members of the ruling party in the state, with the most atrocious and horrendous remarks for setting out to conduct a peaceful election in the state. But Anietie Usen sees nothing wrong with the threats and trauma effected by his boys in Ikot Ekpene; and in fact is obviously angry with the heroics of security agents who arrested his party’s mercenaries. All that were of Anietie Usen’s interest is that there were some units in Etinan that had only 100 ballot papers instead of 300 for the registered voters, which is enough to warrant the Governor’s demonization. He forgets that such negligible instances could be overshadowed by the widespread observations that generally, it was much better in most places in the state.
Since Anietie is a saint that just landed from the moon, and had gotten his journalism training from Jupiter, then no other journalist is competent to report the election except him. He therefore had to take a swipe at journalists, as a precursor to tainting their reports on the exercise. Hear Anietie Usen, “With three buses of pressmen following the governor to vote in his village peacefully, I can imagine the headlines in tomorrow’s newspapers: PDP SWEEPS AKWA IBOM LGA POLLS.” What an uncharitable way to address one’s colleagues. But then this is very untrue, as the three buses ferried journalists, ably led by Comrade Patrick Albert, to a tour of elections centers across several parts of the state. At no time did they join the Governor’s entourage to Onna as being portrayed by Anietie Usen’s warped mind.
In essence, would Anietie have been courageous enough to congratulate any member of his party if he had been declared victorious through their poorly calculated attempts to rob Akwa Ibomites square and blue? All through Grandpa Usen’s mendacious outburst where he labeled his state as a den of thieves, he literarily puts himself up as white sheep, suddenly lost in a den of lions. This ridiculous irony, can only be likened to the lines of Ola Rotimi, “because the farm owner is slow to catch the thief, the thief in turn calls the famer owner thief.” In his hurry to put up his diatribe against Governor Emmanuel, Akwa Ibom journalists and the electoral umpire, Mr Usen also said quite dishonestly though, “The curse of the Lord is upon the house of the wicked…” Nine days are for the thief…” Did Anietie see any of the previous warnings by the Government of Akwa Ibom state of intelligence on election violence? Of course he wouldn’t see any. The thing of joy is that their orchestrated actions to shame the Governor of the state have boomeranged on them.
Although his lines indicate admission of failure, it is however safe to say that the wrath of God is upon him and his sponsors, and that the six days for the thieves, are over. The blood of all those ever killed by this act of thuggery orchestrated by enemies of this state, shall never leave the houses of their sponsors.