By Otobong SAMPSON
Blood, death and sorrow were in large supply during the All Progressive Congress(APC) governorship primaries in Akwa Ibom which held on Sunday, September 30, 2018. So far, three persons have been confirmed dead with cringing photos of their dismembered bodies dominating social media spaces. Unconfirmed reports however, say more than three persons were killed during the nomination exercise which reportedly produced Mr. Nsima Ekere as winner.
All those killed were said to be supporters of Sen. John Udoedehe, an aspirant in the violence-marred primaries. In 2011, Udoedehe, running for the office of governor was a victim of state-sponsored violence during the administration of Governor Godswill Akpabio. He escaped death by a stroke of luck after he was attacked in Ikot Ekpene Local Government Area during one of his campaigns. Some of his supporters were not so lucky as scores lost their lives simply for belonging in the opposition.
Akpabio, now a senator is backing the ambition of NDDC MD, Nsima Ekere to rule the state. Mr. Ekere was Akpabio’s deputy from 2011 and escaped impeachment by the whisker. This period and the run up to it saw the state passed through her darkest moments as assassinations and politically motivated murders became the culture and identity of the state. Belonging to the opposition virtually earned one a death sentence as harbingers of death hovered.
On September 23, 2018, barely a week after incumbent Governor Emmanuel sounded a timely alarm in his broadcast speech marking the 31st Anniversary of Statehood, the APC bared its poisonous fangs and struck blood!
Like a prophet, the governor had clearly foretold Akwa Ibom people that Election 2019 is basically about light and darkness… *’the choice of living in a state that is peaceful, devoid of kidnappings, politically motivated assassinations and where the security of lives and property is assured or a return to the fearful years when death and insecurity walked on two legs; where people were afraid to visit or pursue their legitimate businesses for fear of being kidnapped or outrightly murdered*…’
On October 3, 2018, a faction of the APC in the state which isn’t in the good books of Akwa Ibom people claimed an assassination attempt was directed at its governorship candidate. It said a single bullet was fired into the bedroom of Mr. Ekere and blamed the Akwa Ibom State government for the attack but failed to show any pictorial or video evidence. It is important to note that the governor, Mr. Emmanuel had since directed the police authority to commence investigation into the matter with a view to resolving it.
But then, it appears the key aim of this group is clearly to rile up insecurity sentiments before the country’s president and cause the state to be militarized by presidential order to make for easy rigging of the 2019 election as it stands a nil chance in a free and fair contest.
If this is the plot, the boomerang was instant as social media users and Akwa Ibom online community poured their rage on the masked men of falsehood and their paymasters in APC and rose in stout defense of the governor, Mr. Emmanuel. The satanic and spurious accusation against the governor is like pouring oil into a basin of cold water and hoping it will mix. Governor Emmanuel is a fine and refined gentleman with pure character and Godly spirit.
On the Facebook page of one Aniebiet Antia who also posted the press statement of the purported assassination attempt (on October 3, 20:09hrs) were the following reactions:
*’We already know who’s synonymous [with] violence – APC’* —Fabian Emmanuel.
*’You people don’t just know what to use to blackmail the governor again…lol! This one is too cheap naa, where are the wives of APC chieftains, you can say he asked them for friendship…or something…yeye party and unguarded supporters’* —Iboro Bassey.
*’Scam of the century! God pass una’* —Mmenyene Archibong
*’Your Warsaw war speech must first be practiced in your camp, but it will not sound well when you will start searching for where/who to give blame to, stand and see Warsaw war first in your camp and leave PDP out from [sic] it’* —Ekpoimo Ekopimo Edo
*’You have not posted/reported those guys that were killed during the APC blood communion primaries*’…’ —Elizabeth Etim.
*’So pathetic, not even one person believes this, too bad*’— Linus Aniedi Ukoenang.
From the Facebook page of one Iboro Otongaran, an APC member who equally posted the press statement, some of the reactions were:
*’Silly as in silly. We know the killers’*—Ubong Nelson.
*’Infighting in the party since Sunday’*… *Party of Warsaw people* … *now crying wolf!*—Udeme Inyang.
*’Does that towing van for any reason look like a car in the fleet of a man controlling 9 States?* *Why this false alarm to cause apprehension*… *we don’t need this rubbish please*’ —Nelson Imoh.
Few days ago, Governor Emmanuel did not only win a major war against insecurity, he also recorded a significant milestone in making all of Akwa Ibom peaceful and safe for locals, visitors and investors. A new breath of life is coming into Ukanafun/Etim Ekpo – a hitherto troubled area of Akwa Ibom State following the downing of arms by 200 militants and cultists in return for state pardon.
It is necessary to remind that what came to be known as the Ukanafun/Etim Ekpo crisis was inherited by the Emmanuel administration. But in granting amnesty to the repentant felons, Mr. Emmanuel has yet again shown that he will stop at nothing to make Akwa Ibom a society where lives and property are safe. He has shown that Akwa Ibom lives matter dearly to him. This is where he is different from the others who do not mind watering their ambition to power with the blood of any Akwa Ibom person except members of their own family.