Thursday, July 25, 2024
HomeEditorialOpinionLET THE TRUTH BE TOLD

LET THE TRUTH BE TOLD

10320454_1689132771332701_4122397152960703558_nThis is an open letter to Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Onofiok Luke. The alleged letter, signed by Essien Bassey as National Chairman and Stephen Edet as National Secretary, is written by Atai Uyo Conscience, located at 225 Oron Road, Uyo. It read:
On the 8th of June 2015, a certain young man from Mbikpong Village in Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area, was elected as Speaker of the 6th Assembly the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, prior to this young man’s election and subsequent swearing-in as Speaker, there was palpable tension in the air as to who will eventually emerge as the Speaker of the 6th Assembly.
The Peoples Democratic Party in its wisdom had zoned this key office to Uyo Senatorial District. This, according to the party, was to ensure equitable distribution of key political offices within the three Senatorial Districts, since Eket and Ikot Ekpene Senatorial Districts had clinched the exalted offices of Governor and Deputy Governor respectively, it was only natural the remaining Senatorial District, which is Uyo, produce the Speaker of the State House of Assembly.
The political air in the Senatorial District was thick with speculations, permutation, calculations and maneuverings. The attention which was given to whoever will emerge as Speaker from the Senatorial District, could only be comparable to the annulment of the Governorship elections in Akwa Ibom by the Court of Appeal and the subsequent ruling by the Supreme Court which re-affirmed Governor Udom Emmanuel as the duly elected Governor of Akwa Ibom State.
The people of Uyo Senatorial District were very much interested in who will emerge as Sparker. Two candidates were singled out as favorites for the job. They were, Rt. Hon. Ime Okon, Member Representing Ibiono Ibom State Constituency, and Rt. Hon. Onofiok Luke, the Member Representing Nsit Ubium State Constituency.
After much politicking and numerous consultations, news finally filtered in that neither Rt. Hon. Ime Okon nor Rt. Hon. Onofiok Luke was elected Speaker. Instead, a certain young man called Aniekan Uko, a first termer in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, from Uyo Federal Constituency was elected Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly. People doubted the authenticity and veracity of this particular news item. It just was not possible.
How could this happen? It was like an April fool joke in the month of June. But finally, when the Akwa Ibom Broadcasting Corporation broke the news, the entire Senatorial District, nay, Akwa Ibom State was stunned. This sudden and unexpected news sent shock waves down the spines of many. This extraordinary development had beaten all political calculations.
But Rt. Hon. Ime Okon, one of the favorites for the top job, in an interview he gave THISDAY Newspaper, threw more insight into why the entire members of the State House of Assembly had to unanimously elect Rt. Hon. Aniekan Uko as Speaker of the 6th Assembly; hear him, “Uko was elected unopposed in order to balance the zoning of top political offices in the state and to reduce unnecessary conflict in the choice of the leadership of the Assembly.
Order 6 rule 2 sub 1 of the Standing Order of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, provides to the effect that preference shall be given to members with cognitive legislative experience and Rt. Hon. Aniekan Uko has it as a former Councilor. It is a parliamentarian convention all over the world, because for one to perform effectively, he must have experience.
“But then there was a clamour for Uyo Federal Constituency, that even though the Speakership position was zoned to Uyo Senatorial District, that within Uyo Senatorial District you have some Federal Constituencies and there was clamour for sub zoning. Like Itu Federal Constituency has a serving Senator, Etinan Federal Constituency has the party chairman, but nothing for Uyo Federal Constituency. And there was clamour that what is left for Uyo Senatorial District should be given to Uyo Federal Constituency and we had to agree so that we can move forward.
“I and another person were interested in being Speaker but at the end of the day someone who wasn’t in the picture was picked as the Speaker because of the exigencies of the time and we were all satisfied. The important thing is that we want the House to be stable. We wanted a House that will serve the people not necessarily who is the Speaker or Deputy”.
Then on the 15th of December, 2015 about six months after he was sworn-in into Office, Rt. Hon. Aniekan Uko suffered a minor political set-back as his election was annulled by an Appeal Court sitting in Abuja. This simply meant that he had to vacate his seat and go back to his state constituency for a re-run.
On March 12, 2016 a re-run of the election was organized by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC and once again, Rt. Hon. Aniekan swept the polls with a landslide victory. Now the big question is this; is Rt. Hon. Aniekan Uko going back to the House of Assembly to reclaim his seat as Speaker or is he going back only as Member representing Ibesikpo Asutan State Constituency?
From the statements credited to Rt. Hon. Ime Okon on why they choose to rally support for the emergence of Aniekan Uko as Speaker before the annulment of his elections by the Appeal Court, it is crystal clear and pretty obvious that the choice of Rt. Hon. Uko as Speaker was to bring about a balance in the sharing of key political offices among the three Senatorial Districts in the state. Note also that within Uyo Senatorial District, the other Federal Constituencies, had good representations, except of course, Uyo Federal Constituency. While Itu/Ibiono Federal Constituency has currently produced a serving Senator in the person of Obong Bassey Albert a.k.a. OBA, Etinan Federal Constituency also has in its kitty the office of the State Chairman of the party, the PDP, in the person of Obong Paul Ekpo.
It is only Uyo Federal Constituency or Atai Uyo that did not have any key political position, and according to Rt. Hon. Ime Okon for the sake of equity, fair play and justice all the House Members decided to elect Rt. Hon. Aniekan Uko to occupy the office of the Speaker. What this simply means is that Rt. Hon. Uko was elected as Speaker for there to give a balance to the sharing of key political offices among the Federal Constituencies within Uyo Senatorial District.
We are also aware of the role zoning now plays in determining who gets what, when and how. A typical case is the issue of the zoning of the office of Governor of Akwa Ibom State among the three Senatorial Districts that make up Akwa Ibom State. It is no more news that the PDP at both the national and state levels, has been a strong advocate of the zoning arrangement. This according to the party is to give a sense of belonging to all the component parts of the nation and states.
To this end, the party has always been very vociferous in its advocacy for zoning of offices for the sake of inclusiveness, trust and acceptability among the different zones.
In Akwa Ibom State for instance, it is a standing norm that the governorship ticket of the party is zoned among the three Senatorial Districts of Uyo, Ikot Ekpene and Eket. Currently, Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State is from Eket Senatorial District. The PDP in the state had clearly zoned the Governorship to Eket Senatorial District since Arc. Victor Attah (Uyo Senatorial District), Obong Godswill Obot Akpabio (Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District), had all taken their turns.
Now that Rt. Hon. Aniekan Uko has won his re-run election and his awaiting his certificate of Return so as to be again sworn into office as the Member representing Ibesikpo Asutan States Constituency in the House of Assembly, it is only natural, without any encumbrances that he automatically returns to his office as Speaker Akwa Ibom State of Assembly so as to strike the equilibrium and balance of power in sharing of key political offices between the 3 Federal Constituencies which make up the Senatorial District.
The Peoples Democratic Party in the state has all along been a strong, vocal, articulate and ardent follower of zoning and this cannot be an exception!
Currently, Rt. Hon. Onofiok Luke is the Speaker of the State House of Assembly. This happened simply because Rt. Hon. Aniekan Uko had to vacate office and go for a re-run. Without fear of contradiction we dare to state that Onofiok Luke was holding that office on trust pending when Aniekan Uko will return to the House as a duly re-elected member. We want to advise that Rt. Hon. Onofiok Luke should immediately, as a matter of urgency, set a machinery in motion, confer with all stakeholders and prepare for his exit as soon as Aniekan Uko returns to the House. This will endear more fans to him and he will be seen as a man of honour. Onofiok Luke should take the initiative and make the right moves for a smooth handover to Rt. Hon. Aniekan Uko at the right moment.
Why we are saying this is because it will be out rightly absurd, preposterous, childish, ludicrous and infantile if Onofiok Luke should act otherwise. This will make him a loyal party man who believes in the zoning arrangement that brought him in the first instance into the House of Assembly.
It is sad that some political jobbers, media scavengers and baby Journalists have decided to create unnecessary tension via untoward comments and half baked write-ups just to heat up the polity and create confusion on a matter that is as straight as a ram rod. All they want is to create a kind of crisis situation, feed from it then, voom, disappear and allow the principal actors to fight dirty, roll together in the mud and come up with their tails between their legs, exposed and disgraced.
We’ve heard that there are certain persons who are playing the drums in the bush for these so called Journalists and political jobbers to dance naked in the village square.
Onofiok Luke please do not allow these people to drag you into this kind of messy business. We have been seeing and reading series of rubbish published online and even in some local tabloids, seeking to attack, degrade and insult the person of Rt. Hon. Aniekan Uko. In all these I pause and ask. Who could be so desperate to be sponsoring such stupid, absurd and venomous spates of media outbursts on the person of Rt. Hon. Aniekan Uko? When Aniekan Uko was unanimously elected Speaker by all the members of the State House of Assembly on the 8th of June 2015, did he lobby for it? Was the gentleman even in the picture?
We completely support the agitation to have Rt. Hon. Elder Aniekan Uko back as speaker of the AKHA when he returns to the House. We have nothing against Rt. Hon. Onofiok Luke. But in all good conscience we have asked ourseourselves what if it was Onofiok Luke that was in Aniekan Uko’s position and suffered that unfortunate and questionable act of having his election annulled and being subsequently removed as Speaker for no just cause. Wouldn’t he agree to a proposal that he should be restored to the seat he occupied and the right thing done?
In all honesty, Onofiok Luke should not even contemplate holding on to the Speakership of the House longer than necessary. P-L-E-A-S-E R-E-S-I-G-N NOW THAT THE OVATION IS LOUDEST!
Peradventure there was a governorship rerun in the state and Onofiok Luke was made the acting governor, could he not have returned the office to Udom Emmanuel after the rerun if Udom Emmanuel was again returned as governor? Could the “Streetboys” have agitated loudly for Onofiok Luke not to relinquish the Hilltop Mansion to his rightful owner, His Excellency, Deacon Udom Gabriel Emmanuel?
Truth be told, no amount of cheap blackmail, intimidation or outright mudslinging on the person and character of Rt. Hon. Aniekan Uko can stop God’s will from being done in his life again and again and again and again! In all these, we have never for once heard any comment credited to Rt. Hon. Aniekan Uko to the effect that, as he is going back to the House of Assembly, he is going back as Speaker.
We recall that some days ago when some Journalists cornered Rt. Hon. Uko at the State Party Secretariat and asked him questions following the media agitation and rumour of an ongoing plot to remove Rt. Hon. Onofiok Luke as Speaker, Rt. Hon. Aniekan Uko had this to say and I quote “I was elected the Speaker of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly by my colleagues before the Appeal Court took a decision on Ibesikpo Asutan case which a re-run was ordered and I won. I did not struggle to become the Speaker, even when I was not in the picture. My colleagues found me worthy. Why should I struggle now? What people fail to understand is that the process of electing a Speaker is vested in the members”
This statement by Rt. Hon. Uko is a clear testimony to the fact that this is a man who understands the workings and the processes of electing a Speaker. Speakers are not elected through agitation on pages of newspapers or through protests by street urchins. There is a clear cut procedure for that and Rt. Hon. Aniekan Uko clearly understands this.
This smear campaign against the person of Aniekan Uko is then an attempt by some fear stricken and disgruntled individuals who are clearly afraid of the soaring profile of this young man of the Iboroakam fame, to drag his name in the mud, pitch him against power brokers in the state, create a scenario where his colleagues in the House of Assembly become uncomfortable with him and ultimately frustrate him. This is a hatchet job, executed with Machiavellian precision and propensity, deliberately masterminded and meticulously plotted just to pull down this amiable, intelligent, suave and debonair young man called Aniekan Uko.
But we want to warn that there are always repercussions. When we plot the downfall of somebody, there is always, what is called judgment day! When you point one finger at somebody, the other four naturally point back at you.
Now, let us stop and think. Will it be fair for Uyo Federal Constituency to be left with nothing in this dispensation, while Etinan Federal Constituency parades both the Speaker and the State Party Chairman? The answer is capital NO! Let us not also lose sight of the fact that Uyo Federal Constituency has the highest voting strength among the three Federal Constituencies that make up Uyo Senatorial District.
If these people feel marginalized and their agitations treated as a lone voice in the wilderness, how will the Peoples Democratic Party feel if this deprived Federal Constituency conspires and works against the interest of the party in 2019. God forbid! But now is the time for the party to do the right thing and give back to Uyo Federal Constituency what rightly belongs to it. A stitch in time, it is said, serves nine.
Top PDP stakeholders should immediately meet and put this matter to rest once and for all, otherwise, those who feed fat on crises, will definitely exploit the situation and create more bad blood among the contending parties.
The party should look at the big picture which in this case, is the 2019 governorship and other elections and swiftly move in to assuage the feelings of the politically, aggrieved, oppressed and marginalized, which in this context is Uyo Federal Constituency.
Onofiok Luke should be wary of those who may attempt or try to drag him into a war that he can never win. He should as a matter of urgency, rein in his media attack dogs and publicly dissociate himself from those who are tirelessly laboring night and day to rub tar on the image of Rt. Hon. Aniekan Uko.
Is it not because of these media vituperations that we read a shocking report that he, Onofiok Luke, was not validly sworn-in to office as Speaker, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, since the election of the Deputy Speaker who swore him into office was annulled by the Appeal Court hours before the Deputy Speaker swore in Rt. Hon. Onofiok Luke as Speaker? If this report is true, then obviously, the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly does not have a Speaker! If some people decide to challenge this issue in court with a concrete evidence and proof that Onofiok Luke was illegally inaugurated as Speaker, your guess is as good as mine as to what will happen to the legislative arm of the Akwa Ibom State government.
We also read in the papers and even online that when Rt. Hon. Onofiok luke was elected Speaker to replace Rt. Hon. Aniekan Uko, the entire APC family in the state exploded with wild jubilation and celebrations! Why did the APC faithful in the state troop in their thousands into the streets to celebrate the emergence of Rt. Hon. Onofiok Luke, a core and dedicated PDP man? Then a top APC chieftain in the state readily provided the answer in the form of another question. “Don’t you know the relationship between Onofiok Luke and Obong Umana Okon Umana, our APC governorship candidate? Are you too daft to see that as we are anticipating this re-run, once the Supreme Court annuls Udom Emmanuel‘s election, our own Onofiok Luke will automatically become Acting Governor and will definitely work to protect the interest of his boss, Obong Umana Okon Umana? Can’t you see that with Onofiok as Acting Governor, Umana Umana will definitely win the re-run? That is why the APC in the state is wildly celebrating the emergence of Onofiok Luke as Speaker!”
As we are gradually recovering from this shocking revelation, another APC chieftain who was also involved in the discussion, chipped in rather nonchalantly, “this Onofiok sef, yesterday he was with Umana, the other day he was with OBA and now he can swear to any oath that he is a staunch supporter of Udom. Which kind human being be dis?”
The lesson to learn from this is that when you use the media to wage a war against a certain person, group or organization, there is definitely bound to be some boomerang effect. There is no way you will not also be caught in the crossfire of these attacks and when the dust finally settles, what it leaves in its wake becomes disgusting, grotesque, debilitating, repulsive and dirty?
Let us stop and think!

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