By. Destiny Akaiso

Primaries for the 2018 governorship election in Akwa Ibom State was incidentally held on a Sunday, September 30, 2018.

In the end, Chairman of the PDP’s primaries panel, Gov. Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti, announced that Governor Udom Emmanuel who was gunning for a second term had polled 3, 807, out of the 3, 817. 10 votes were voided.

The path to that success was paved by contributory solidarity in various degrees by various party stalwarts, principal amongst whom was the unalloyed and unpretentious loyalty and total commitment of Senator Bassey Albert Akpan, who then was about rounding off his first term as a senator.

It cannot be easily forgotten that Governor Udom cruised to that historic victory in the smoke of crisis in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly that broke out on November 26, 2018, under the daring leadership of Barr. Onofiok Luke, the 11th Speaker.

As was gathered from the grapevine, while the script was suspected to have been crafted in Abuja, allegedly, by Sen. Godswill Akpabio the Warsaw crooner who purportedly was believed to be on a revenge mission against his ungrateful successor, the grand plan of the grand plot of the Nse Ntuen-led fiasco, supported by four other Assemblymen who, on the orders of a Federal High Court judgment of November 14, had been expelled by leadership of the House, was to ultimately impeach Gov. Udom Emmanuel.

That way, his second term dream as a governor would automatically have been crushed as Nse Ntuen who, inspired by fantasy, before he was chased out of the premises of the Assembly Complex, had already declared himself a parallel Speaker, having been so elected by his four conspirators.

In that hovering gloomy clouds, there was no doubt that Governor Udom Emmanuel had much to fear, covertly or overtly.
But such pessimism was nothing because he had a trusted buffer in some dependable allies and factors.
At the National front, categorically, was Sen. OBA who made sure every scheming at Abuja in the name of the infamous “Federal Might” was circumvented. Back at the State level was Onofiok Luke who lost neither his cool nor audacity.

For what there was to remember and learn from that history, OBA stood like the rock of Gibraltar at home and abroad against the rising tides – in defense of Democracy, in loyalty to party, in promotion of fairness and justice, in edification of our political history, practical demonstration of personal love and confirmation of loyalty to Governor Udom Emmanuel and his second term ambition.

It would be wrong to single out OBA for his contributions in this regard. But it would be wronger to forget his distinctive roles in Udom’s ascension. Take or leave it, left to Governor Udom Emmanuel alone, who largely was still standing on or counting on political structures he inherited from Aristotle, the House of Assembly coup would have worked.

Meaning that Gov Udom would not have returned to the Hilltop Mansion following the election of March 10, 2019! In fact, between 2015 and the twilight of preparations for the 2023 governorship election, the fear of Udom and centerpiece of his politics especially at the national front was Senator Bassey Albert.

OBA graciously used his reputation and strong tentacles of diplomacy to hold the ground and always ensure no sinister plot against his governor saw the light of success. He did not do that because he had personal interest in 2023.

As the mountains of evidence have shown, it was rather because as a senator of the people, he wanted Gov. Emmanuel to succeed and land well, as he, OBA, dedicatedly oils the wheels of social contract to defend, protect, and promote anything and everything Akwa Ibom in the vantage position God has placed him through the people’s collective mandate.

Whoever would lack conscience to have the courage to contest against the tall facts of OBA’s tremendous commitment to Gov. Emmanuel’s political odyssey must be suffering from terminal amnesia. But they still will commit the folly of arguing!

It is therefore curious that for those flourishing years of Gov. Emmanuel’s relationship and dealings with OBA, and in the robustness of the political fortunes the governor has amassed, he neither knew nor had a single proof that his right-hand man in those frightening spells of crisis, OBA, was a “cultist”, upon whom a persona non grata must be pronounced and as he is being handed over to a Kangaroo court.

But seven years later, in the momentum of 2023 and crossfire ambitions, the governor suddenly founded his lost voice and claimed joint membership in FBI and CIA to discover that OBA as the wrong guy.

Although it remains mere gimmicks in concept and content in his war of attrition, today His Excellency keeps his “saviour”, and few others, at arm’s length; no love lost.

The extrapolative synopsis of the governor’s latter-day tricks and allegations and diabetic excuses for denying and ‘robbing” OBA is the most dubious ways of biting the very finger that fed him, cutting the bridge he crossed, and removing the ladder of yesterday upon which he ascended to the present.

Whether or not there were at any time or setting any gentleman’s agreement or concessions between OBA and the governor that the latter should compensate the former in the political equation of 2023, to me, is not the issue. The worry is why the governor should subject his former friend to what lawyers would call double jeopardy – denying him and trying to prevent him from his ambition.

Haven’t you noticed that especially since OBA officially had made known his governorship ambition, State elements have not only traded innuendoes and blackmail from all cylinders in the media, but are also doing everything they imagine could be fruitful in thwarting his chances at the 2023 guber race?

You must be a pretender in their camps if you ask me for evidence. But it needs be emphasized that this retrospective essay is not pleading any cause or holding a brief. It only deploys revisionism to show how times and circumstances can turn a sheep into a wolf, and what happens to an opportunist when and if he possesses power.

It cannot be argued to the contrary that in politics there is no permanent friend but permanent interest; or worst still, politics is a dirty game. But the world is still waiting to hear from the governor exactly what offense OBA has committed against his person and the State, so that he must be vilified and maligned in the many ways that can no longer be denied.

The ridiculous antics State agents have adopted to hinder OBA’s ambition are not only against OBA as a leading contender in the 2023 race but against the body politic, psychology and evolution of Akwa Ibom State political history and what has made for equity.

Perceptibly, in spite of the fanfare and grandstand endorsements of the total stranger, the delegates and the general electorate know the facts and already must have made up their minds in favour of fairness and equity, both at the primaries and main election.

However, beyond imminent victory songs that shall usher OBA into the Hilltop Mansion as His Excellency, the fifth civilian and elected Governor of Akwa Ibom State, on May 29, 2023, history and posterity shall hold it against Gov. Udom Emmanuel as one who sought in vain to shift a generational goal post, to please his ego, to the desecration of popular choice and democracy which he has been an opportunistic beneficiary for eight straight years, even against his wildest imagination as a former banker who was lost to the pleasures of exotic Diasporean shores.

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