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Comment, Opinion

Akwa Ibom and 2015 election

Posted: Apr 8, 2015 at 9:30 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Obong Akpan Kokoette Essien


Since the creation of Akwa Ibom State, the State has never been in an opposition party. History reveals this. During IBB’s short-lived two-political-party system of; a little to the left and a little to the right, all from the centre, which gave birth to Social Democratic Party (SDP) to the left and National Republican Convention (NRC) to the right, Akwa Ibom was governed by the NRC. NRC had more number of State governments in its kitty. Obong Akpan Isemin of the NRC was the governor who held sway for the period January 2, 1992 to November 18, 1993 before Abacha toppled the Interim National Government that was headed by Dr. Ernest Shonekan. Shonekan emerged when the military, under IBB, annulled the most peaceful, freest and fairest Presidential election of 1993, which was won by Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola of the SDP over Alhaji Bashir Oathman Tofa of the NRC.

At the start of the Nigeria’s Fourth Republic in 1999, Obong Akpan Isemin tried his luck again, as he ran for governor of Akwa Ibom under the platform of the All People’s Party (APP) but was defeated by Obong Victor Attah who ran under People’s Democratic Party (PDP). While PDP that controlled more number of the federating States in Nigeria till today retains its original name, APP later transmuted to All Nigerian People’s Party (ANPP) and when eventually merged with some other political parties, found itself in the present All Progressives Congress (APC). Aftermath of the March 28, 2015 National elections shows that the APC would, as from May 29, 2015, control both the executive and the legislative arms of government at the federal level. Going by the expectations of possible bandwagon effects, APC would further control more States than the PDP after the forthcoming State elections of April 11, 2015.

From the above analysis, Akwa Ibom State has all along remained with political party that controlled the centre. Even with Akwa Ibom being a PDP State, as the federal government under President Obasanjo, Obong Victor Attah who governed that State for eight years, from 1999 to 2007, fought with PDP at the centre over Resource Control issue. Akwa Ibom State under Attah administration was impoverished at the point while the good dividends started coming through when Governor Akpabio came to power in 2007. Suffice it to say that Attah did all the work while Akpabio reaped all the benefit. Lucky Akpabio; he is now set to leave the stage when the federal revenue allocations to States are dwindling and tilting back to the previous hard times.

Considering the above scenario, coupled with the National Conference recommendation of creation of Oil Rivers State; it is looking like that, when the chips are down, parts of both present Akwa Ibom and Rivers States would make up the (new) Oil Rivers State. This is irrespective of what the 2014 National Conference document recommended as it is noteworthy to mention here, that the document in itself is still subject to further alterations as no one would regard its detailed recommendations, sacrosanct.

Suffice it to say that if Akwa Ibom people opt to remain in the soon-to-be minority party, the PDP, they will be in more difficulties and may not cope with any conjured sustainability. The choice to Akwa Ibom people is very clear and this they should consider when casting their votes on April 11, 2015. If they vote PDP, they will be in opposition and if APC, they will stand better chance as they have not tested being in opposition before now. There is no need to cry over a spilt milk if they should miss this opportunity. Also, why they need to vote for a change is because of how the present candidate of the PDP in the Akwa Ibom governorship race was handpicked by the present governor, Godswill Akpabio, to the detriment of avalanche of other good candidates who were deprived of the opportunity of marketing their wares but deprived because of non-provision of level playing ground during their party’s primaries. This is notwithstanding the fact that Governor Akpabio has shun many notable Akwa Ibom persons, including former Governor Victor Attah who was his mentor, and Otuekong Don Etiebet, both among the founding fathers and life members of the PDP Board of Trustees. Incidentally two men, among others, recently asked people to vote in Umana Okon Umana, the APC governorship candidate in the State.

Above all, Akwa Ibomites need to give special thanks to God Almighty for making Independent Electoral Commission, INEC, conduct the National elections first before the State elections, otherwise the choice facing them now would not have been.

 •Essien wrote in from Maitama, Abuja