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HomeEditorialOpinionVICTOR ANTAI AND HIS 2019 GOVERNORSHIP DREAM

VICTOR ANTAI AND HIS 2019 GOVERNORSHIP DREAM

victor antai (2)By Aniekeme Moses
Has anyone heard about the 2019 Governorship ambition of Hon. Victor Antai, the man in charge of the Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs Ministry? That is the latest news in town. And one must either be new in town or at far with current news not to have heard of this interesting development. This has just been revealed as the motive behind his recent interest in donating motor cars, motorcycles and other gift items not reported in the news to people within the Oro Nation political enclave.
This new interest of Commissioner Antai was first noticed while the court case between the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on the April 11, 2015 gubernatorial election in Akwa Ibom State lasted. Then it appeared and was of course reported as an indirect preparatory campaign by the PDP towards a rerun election that was then only imminent. But to the surprise of those who had such impression, the Victor Antai campaign has continued till date, even when the deciding Supreme Court verdict went in the favour of his boss, Governor Udom Emmanuel and party, PDP. Now predicting the thoughts in their minds, “what else could this be, if not a campaign to succeed the incumbent governor in 2019?”
Whoever is leading or belonging to this group of shallow minds, I cannot tell, but certainly, this rumour must have originated from somewhere. However, in trying to put up defense for them, I will plead for less blame on them, considering that we are in, and have gotten used to a system where the act of rewarding loyalty has become a scarce want. Every post election season, there must be more than a handful of persons somewhere lamenting ordeals of how they made one sacrifice or the other in supporting one politician or the other into power, but have been forgotten afterwards. In some cases, you will hear that either the politicians are no longer taking their calls or have changed their phone lines (like a friend recently complained to me about a serving senator).
What then can one expect from a system where politicians get down to earth and making promises capable of bringing a dead man back to life, while enjoying the supporting hands of electorates as ladder to aid their ascension, only to put away the same ladder to prevent the same electorates from meeting them up there? Perhaps, this is why the kind gesture of the Mbo-born commissioner is more of a strange development, since going back to say thank you to electorates has been a rare practice in the system. Hence, Antai’s gesture consequently cannot be seen without a motive. But so wickedly and unfortunately for him, his motive was not seen aiming at any other seat, but that of the governor.
After going running through the story, I could not help wondering what happened to other political seats like that of Oron Federal Constituency or even the Eket Senatorial District seat he earlier sought but never found. Considering his mastery of the political game he has been in for a number of years, and his knowledge of the risk involved in such open campaign, when he too well knows that such would have been safer done under the covers, I finally snapped out with the conviction that someone out there is out to drop a sour pill in the cordial relationship Antai is currently enjoying with his boss, the governor, and the targeted corollary of this campaign of calumny against him is nothing else other than his position in the governor’s cabinet.
All of these notwithstanding, it is a good thing that (from his response) the commissioner has refused to be distracted from this course of rewarding the followership and loyalty he then enjoyed from his people during the pre election season, while soliciting their votes and firm support for his boss who at that time was candidate of his party. The good thing is that despite the ongoing attempts to put his mind on the contrary, he is still seeing nothing wrong with his efforts to encourage the electorates in his home-front to keep holding their support, and tenaciously for his party and its leader in the state.
Perhaps those involved in this plot to make Antai reap blackmail as reward for his kind gesture are yet to realize how devilish it would have been ignoring an 8-year chapter chairman of a ruling party, after seeing a bus he was driving parked by the roadside and later finding out that he now jumps on and off okada and commercial vehicles to get to destinations. They may be yet to realize how bad it would have been paying blind eyes to the widow of a man who was a political bulldozer in his Mbo area and by extension, Oro Nation, and who during his lifetime, made notable contributions to the success of previous PDP governments in the state, but was abandoned to the burden of solely catering for her family, since her hubby departed the world some twelve (12) years ago. And perhaps to them, it would have been no act of a daredevil effrontery going back to his crowd of followers to yet again seek support for his party at the sound of another election bell, if he had failed to return to them in appreciation for the last round of support he got.
In summary, just as earlier said, it is a good thing that this plot was already dead on arrival, as neither Antai has surrendered to being deterred by this distraction, nor his boss, dignifying the comic allegation by giving it any attention. Rather, he is more determined to part ways with more resources to complement the already given away brand new cars numbering up to fifteen (15) so far to loyalists, over 30 motorbikes to members of the okada union, as well as other cash empowerment packages to people within his political zone- all of who worked relentlessly to ensure victory for his party at all levels during the last INEC general elections…while expecting his boss to give him a commending pat on the back for reporting progress on his behalf to his home-front. And as long as this puts him at peace with his God and his conscience, then whatever criticisms, misconceptions and misinterpretations that will trail shall be inconsequential.
Moses, a public affairs analyst, writes from Uyo.

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