Akwa Ibom 2023 Elections: …even GOD is a democrat; inclusion is the way forward

It is apt I suppose to kick start this conversation with the age-long postulation of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th US president who made the profound statement that democracy is” a government of the people, by the people and for the people.”

There is no better period to reflect on this statement than the eve and election year which is the period the country is currently transiting to herald a new administration in 2023.

The political atmosphere in Nigeria is gradually gathering momentum though at a disproportionate pace as seen among gladiators in the presidential race, party offices, and across states in the federation.

In Akwa Ibom, the political arena is already charged quickened by Udom’s announcement of Eno Umoh as his de facto successor. Governor Udom Emmanuel said God revealed to him that Umoh Eno is the person to lead the state in 2023.

Other voices discordant in a way because of rooting for another candidate have been loud and clear. The senatorial aspirant for South-South Senatorial District said recently during the consultation of a governorship aspirant, that God revealed to him that Senator Bassey Albert Akpan is the next governor of the state in 2023. Again, in the just concluded consultation tour by OBA to Ikot Ekpene council area, Senator Chris Ekpenyong said God revealed to him that Senator Bassey Akpan will be the successor of Udom Emmanuel in 2023. The list of seers I suppose will expand as the days go by.

I do appreciate the right of Udom Emmanuel to expression, thought, association et cetera as provided for in the Nigerian constitution. But when the exercise of ones right infringes on the rights of others, it is crossing the line and should be stopped. The governor’s action has exceeded this threshold of his fundamental human right to the realm of him feeling entitled to choose his successor. The setting is different. This is a democratic institution powered by the people’s will, not a monarchy.

While acknowledging though, that he did not start the practice but merely rewinding the tape that ushered him into office in 2015, this ‘norm’ is wrong and a keg powder to bequeath to our next generation of leaders in the state.

The prevailing peace in Akwa Ibom is one of the signature achievements of this government which is noised as unprecedented and Akwa Ibom is flaunted as the most peaceful state in the country. I am lost juxtaposing the action of the governor against this hard-earned feat. I equate his action to fanning the ember of what will diminish peace in Akwa Ibom.

This is a gimmick and distraction used by politicians in the state to massage and manipulate the spiritual ethos of the people seeing Akwa Ibomites are deeply religious and passionate about the things of GOD.

However, a cursory observation and forensic subjection of these claims raise concern over their veracity and credibility. Is it GOD that really spoke to them or their canal dispositions? Jer. 23 vs 1,2.

But peradventure the message was received truly as claimed, was it meant for now or for a later date? food for thought. Habakkuk 2 vs 3.

I do think a brisk walk down this path, at least to the extent of enhancing clarity of the subject, would be reasonable to start with.

An Old testament account in the bible narrates how the Israelites, God’s chosen race who were ruled in proxy by the prophets, revolted during the time of Samuel and demanded a king. ”All the elders of Isreal assembled and came to Samuel at Ramah and said to him, Behold you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways, now appoint us a king to rule over us like all the other nations.” 1st Samuel 8 vs 4,5. Amplified.

Samuel who was displeased by the request inquired from the Lord and God consented to the will of the people. ”And the Lord said to Samuel hearken to the voice of the people in all they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not be King over them”. 1st Samuel 8 vs 7. Amplified.

And even when Samuel having been instructed by God, reeled out the tsunami that would befall them under a king, the people were adamant on their demand. ” In that day you will cry out because of your king you have chosen for yourselves, But the Lord will not hear you then. Nevertheless, the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel, and they said, No, We will have a king over us”.1st Samuel 8 vs 18,19. Amplified.

Again, doubling down on this trajectory, Jesus said in the parable of the weed, ” Let them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time, I will say to the reapers, Gather the darnel (ie weed) first and bind it in bundles to be burned, but gather the wheat into my granary”. Matt 13 vs 30. Amplified.

In addition as a bonus, the placement of the Ark of the covenant alongside Dagon, the idol of the Philistine was tragic. ” The Philistines brought the ark of God from Ebenezar to Ashdod. They took the ark of God into the house of Dagon and set it beside Dagon (their idol). When they of Ashdod arose early on the morrow, behold Dagon had fallen upon his face on the ground before the ark of the Lord. So they took Dagon and set him in his place again.” 1st Samuel 5 vs 1,2,3,4. Amplified.

I guess there are profound lessons embellished in these ecclesiastical narratives. First, we can see in the concordant three sets of paragraphs that God is indeed a democrat. Just imagine the people that HE chose, nurtured, prospered, elevated, protected rejecting HIM, yet HE consented to their will.

Governor Udom Emmanuel who initiated this rat race, at least in this dispensation, for others to join, should along with his co-travelers refrain quickly from this error to avert God’s wroth as well as diminish the prospective queue of potential new seers. Eze. 13 vs 1,2,3.

There is no justification whatsoever in my view to heat up the polity overlooking 2023. Ordinarily, I don’t have a problem with receiving divine information about someone. The problem is in how one goes about it. God does not coerce people to accept HIS choice. By wielding the might of incumbency and using the machinery of government to fence others thereby frustrating them in the governorship race is undemocratic and a recipe for anarchy.

This kind of behaviour breeds tension and strife resulting in all manna of outcomes including death. I see disturbing similarities to what Akwa Ibom experienced during the eve and election year in 2015 and 19.

Also, against the backdrop of the might of God, as was expressed by the ark of the covenant in the house of Dagon, GOD does not need anyone to fight HIS course. If HE has chosen someone, HE will supervise its actualisation. Protectionism of the supposed ‘anointed one’ in a way is dyanointing the person. This stunt by the governor may be his albatross which may work against him and his preferred candidate in some way to the advantage of other aspirants.

Now referencing as well the weed parable of Jesus which of course further reinforces the democratic nature of God provides a clear message that even playing field should be accorded to everyone vying for a political office and not leaving any candidate to struggle to play on a field that is substantially uneven.

The political space in Akwa Ibom should be opened up to all the contestants evenly, anointed or not, heavyweight or gadfly players to test the murky waters, crisscrossing the length and breadth of Nigeria to engage the electorates in a positive way in order to rustle their votes.

l read and hear opinions of people about the action of the governor in naming his successor. The proponents argue that the achievement of the administration as well as unfinished business of government cannot be entrusted in the hand of anybody but someone he can trust to progress and preserve his ‘legacy’. However, as plausible as this thinking may seem, the fact remains that what is at stake is the commonwealth of the Akwa Ibom people, not an individual or group.

The system is self-rejuvenating. This is a democratic dispensation meaning the governor does not govern alone unlike in autocratic regimes where the despot wields absolute power. There are functional institutions of government as well as private concerns that serve to directly or indirectly checkmate the excesses of public officials. The recent arrest of the former Anambra Governor Willie Obiano by the EFCC is instructive here.

In addition, aside from the credentials and experiences of the candidates that have indicated interest in the top office scaling the low bar set by the constitution for the office of the governor, the antecedent of successive civil administrations in Akwa Ibom beginning from Obong Akpan Isemin to the incumbent has always maintained a degree of level-headedness.

As a stakeholder in the Akwa Ibom project, caution should be the watchword, especially for parties in the dispute. There is a need to wave olive branch(s), making impacting concessions by parties involved. First, Governor Udom Emmanuel should climb down, at least midway by relaxing the noose on the primary and the activities around it. This would bestow some degree of a human face on the exercise aside from enhancing its credibility.

The aspirants on their part should accept the truce in good faith and tinker on their earlier strategies and tactics which they had laid out to counter the arsenal of Udom and his preferred candidate. Again, aspirants should at every slight opportunity drum into the ears of their supporters the need to be civil in word and action even in the face of provocation by officials or supporters of an opponent. As a deterrent, fines or other measures should be put in place to checkmate inappropriate behaviours.

I think this proposition is achievable to ease the brewing tension and put back the politicking on the right track.

Okokon Asanga
( Managing Editor)

%d bloggers like this: