By Edidiong Udobia
In the light of Senator Godswill Akpabio’s recent post-election essay, “THE LIES AND LIARS OF THE ELECTION”, it is pertinent to recap major events regarding the just concluded 2019 general elections in Akwa Ibom state. Chiefly is the “warsaw” comments made by the former governor where he threatened that elections in the state will be like the invasion of Warsaw, Poland. It is intrusive to consider Akpabio’s infamous role in the elections on the whole, lest we allow a speck of his latest chameleonic show stick in the eyes of the public. At best, his lamentations should be disparaged as crocodile tears. Most importantly, these records must be constantly replayed for the sake of Akpabio, who seems to have the shortest memory in the world.
After the Warsaw invasion of 1944 by the German Forces, records show that although the exact number of casualties was unknown, an estimated 16,000 members of the Polish resistance were killed and about 6,000 badly wounded. In addition, between 150,000 and 200,000 Polish civilians died, mostly from mass executions, while German casualties totalled over 17,000 soldiers killed and missing. A mere imagination of the city of Warsaw, after the war, will leave every sane human being wondering what manner of man will wish such evil on his own people. But that is Godswill Akpabio for you.
Until few weeks to the 2019 general elections, there were people who believed that Senator Akpabio’s warsaw threat and insinuations of electoral violence in Akwa Ibom state, were mere political talks. Akpabio may have an exaggerated sense of self-aggrandizement, but definitely not his desperation. He may not have the gut to walk the talk, but he is mischievous enough to always find his way around, (however uncanny it seems) because his desperation for power is not only perilous but very contagious. Following his defection to the All Progressives Congress, APC, the former governor immediately assumed the role of the chief strategist and leader of opposition in the state, through which he foisted his Machiavellian politics on the party. Uh-oh! The APC went berserk.
It’s rare to see Governor Udom Emmanuel enraged in public. It seems to me, that besides finances, the man is also a master in managing his emotions. Throughout the elections, almost everyone else was living on the edge except the governor. In fact, he admitted to this in his reelection declaration speech. “I have operated a Christ-centric Government, I have led a People-centric Government, I have worn humility like a badge of honour, believing that power comes from the people; I have refused to hurl insults at people who have attacked and called me names. I have refused to show anger even when I am severely provoked”, the governor said.
But apparently, like everyone else, Governor Emmanuel’s humility and calmness has a red line. In a rare ‘I’ve had enough’ mood, the governor, who was visibly enraged, while addressing newsmen at the State House of Assembly complex following the invasion of the House by sacked APC lawmakers, accused security agencies of colluding with the APC to carry out their warsaw threat. He noted that democracy has been threatened in the state through a break down of law and order supervised by the Nigeria Police Force.
” Since last night we heard about this and will call the Police Commissioner and told him you want to escort sacked three members against the rule of law and and he denied. This morning all they were drumming was the Warsaw saw War. We have seen a trace today.
“Some people were arrested with fake army uniforms. They came with 18 AK 47 and they were arrested. But unfortunately, as I am speaking right now, those people that were arrested the QRS person, through the order of the Commissioner of Police were asking that those people, all, be let go. And before this time, fortunately, some of our guys were able to capture these things with their phones. So we have pictures of the fake army uniforms people were wearing. We are going to play for the whole world to see. The 18 AK 47, recovered by the police, police allowed them to take them all back. This is the same Warsaw that was pronounced”, he said.
From her primary elections in late 2018, it was very clear that the APC in Akwa Ibom had changed course, embarking on a killing spree. By the design of the Akpabio-led opposition, Akwa Ibom was meant to be a pack of tombstones after the elections if that was what it was going to take for Governor Udom Emmanuel and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to be ousted from power in the state. With the combined forces of the Military, the Police and the deadliest thugs hired from across the country, election in Akwa Ibom, was indeed, planned to be a Warsaw-like invasion.
In preparatory to their macabre plan for the elections, the APC sponsored series of unrest in the state, like the invasion of the State House of Assembly, intimidation of PDP leaders and other undue interference in the governance of the state by security agencies. These nefarious gimmicks by the opposition was to intentionally cause an adrenaline rush and keep people on the edge ahead of the elections. As revealed by some of the sad events days to the elections like the arrest and tactical release of imported thugs by the Police, alleged leaked “walking stick” audio recording of the APC’s governorship candidate, Mr. Nsima Ekere, indiscriminate arrest of leaders and supporters of the PDP, etc, the APC planned for a full-fledged war in Akwa Ibom.
In the agenda of the APC, what happened in Rivers state was a preamble to what was to happen in Akwa Ibom. This is evident in the fact that since the days of ‘16 is greater than 19’, Rotimi Amaechi has always been a far lesser evil to Godswill Akpabio. By the way, the belligerent dimension in which elections have assumed in South South and some South Eastern states of Nigeria, in the last few years, should become a matter of global concern. What is even more despicable is the fact that this brazen rascality is orchestrated by state institutions in full connivance with leaders and stakeholders of the region.
A careful comparison between the Rivers and Akwa Ibom situations will reveal that the incumbent governors of the states were a determining factor in the nature of elections in the states. For starters, the APC were equally desperate to grab the two states and had both former governors Rotimi Amaechi and Godswill Akpabio of Rivers and Akwa Ibom respectively as their anchormen. In fact, it was widely believed that Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers state had an edge over Udom Emmanuel with the disqualification of the APC from the Rivers governorship election. Secondly, while Wike had only Amaechi’s wrath to face, Udom Emmanuel, besides Akpabio’s warsaw, also had a mafia with a huge war chest as a rival in the governorship race, a pocket of federal government appointees, etc, to contend with.
Back to Akwa Ibom. In a clear warlordism, part of Akpabio’s preliminary warsaw strategies was the constant scuttling of the security network in the state without the slightest consideration for the safety of lives of Akwa Ibom people. The indiscriminate redeployment of Police Commissioners and redeployment of his (Akpabio) relative, the notorious Idoreyen Akpabio to the state as a unit head in the state Police Command, overbearing attitude of some compromised security agents and the unabated brutality of innocent citizens during the elections, were also among Akpabio’s doing. In addition, Akpabio had an entire army battalion at his beck and call throughout the elections.
Without a divine intervention, Akpabio would have single-handedly unleashed armageddon in Akwa Ibom. To the best of my knowledge, only God or men who dare to be like God, demonstrate the kind of might Akpabio show before, during and even after the elections. It is therefore incomprehensible how Akpabio, in his first lamentations (because more are definitely coming), claims that the PDP lied against him. “In their desperation, they told many lies against me and I would not bother to talk about all of them. I, however, would want to refer, for now, to three of these false claims and a few other things. One, that I said I was god or carried on like God.”
In boasting, Akpabio boasted like God. He sang himself in songs as god. He personally composed the famous worship song; “Kop ntuàngá ke PDP (4x); Akpabio sio ukod, Udom atua eyet. Kop ntuànga ke PDP”. So, what exactly is he now afraid of? Is he already tired of being god so soon? The Godswill Akpabio that I know is an embodiment of deceit and mischief. I strongly suspect that his lamentation is an attempt to seek redemption from the people of Akwa Ibom. We must be very wary of Godswill Akpabio now more than ever. We must not let our guard down and allow his pathetic stories of his self-inflicted accident, his wife’s ailment or any other balderdash for that matter extract an iota of sympathy from us. If we must sympathize with victims of accidents “which details are still suspect”, it must be late Anyong Asukwo and late Ime Umanah, but definitely not Godswill Akpabio.
Akwa Ibom people must not forget that if not for Only God, this state would have been consumed by Akpabio’s warsaw.
Edidiong Udobia is a journalist and writes from Uyo.