By Tom-Chris Morgan
It is no longer news that earlier in the week, some key members of Governor Udom Emmanuel’s Official Campaign Organization, The Divine Mandate, were summoned by the Police headquarters in Abuja for questioning.
The invite allegedly called on the orders of the Inspector General of police, Ibrahim Kpotum Idris was to quiz the campaign organization over an alleged disagreement bothering on the citing of a giant campaign billboard of the APC in the heart of Urua Akpan Andem, a popular and densely populated market in the city centre.
Those summoned to Abuja included the Director General of the team and a highly respected former governor of the state, Otuekong Idongesit Nkanga, the speaker of the State House of Assembly and a very vocal supporter of the governor’s reelection bid, the Rt Hon Barr Onofiok Luke, the People’s Democratic Party chairman in the state, Obong Paul Ekpo, the commissioner for environment, Dr Iniobong Essien, the chairman of Uyo Local government, Hon Imo Okon, and a security aide to the governor, Fubara Duke.
*The good news however, is that the invited sextet have so far been freed, but what is still sketchy is the extent and contents of their contacts in the hands of the Force headquarters.*
While the good people of the state await in bated breath, the full details of the Abuja call, one thing that can be deduced is the fact that it has everything to do with the 2019 general elections in the state and the indication of the beginning of the fulfilment of the APC Federal government’s promise to unleash “Warsaw” on the widely recognized peace loving people of Akwa Ibom state and it calls for sober reflection and condemnation.
At this juncture, one may choose to start seaming together several contentions and attempt a comparative analogy to ascertain whether the arrest was even necessary or worth it in the first place. Or whether, it was another wanton display of police brutishness against the good conscience of law abiding citizens in an APC targeted state just to victimize and cow them into psychological submission ahead of the 2019 elections.
The major issue of contention has been the disagreement over the hoisting of a massive, environmentally disastrous billboard bearing the faces of President Muhammadu Buhari and that of the APC gubernatorial standard bearer in the state, Obong Nsima Ekere in the very heart of an ever bustling, densely populated market. A move the state government, through the Ministry of Environment felt was life threatening and should be relocated at least to a safer site. The minor squabble that ensued from that disagreement did not even last up to 24hours before a Special Squad conscripted on the orders of the IG, arrived the state to whisk the top PDP functionaries to Abuja. Isn’t that the height of police brutality?
Weren’t there environmental experts who should have been consulted to verify on the suitability of that billboard site before any further action was taken?
This alone is a clear indication to the fact that Akwa Ibom is an already structured target by the APC controlled security agencies all in view of the 2019 elections. But suffice it to say here that, with the sterling performance of the state governor, His Excellency, Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, the will of the people to see him continue beyond 2019 is resolute and no amount of Federal might can douse that as no force is greater than the force of the people.
Again, isn’t it the height of environmental recklessness that one would choose to site a giant billboard in a spot that has all the trappings of life endangerment. Of all the spots in the city, a central market with a large percentage of people was found by the APC as the best position to stage a hastily constructed huge metal billboard. How would one so endanger the life of those he hopes to serve?
In truth, 2019 would come and go, but it is pertinent to remind all political gladiators that no personal political ambition is worth the life of anyone.
The Nigerian police should channel their efforts towards tackling civil and security unrest in the country especially in the highly volatile Northern states rather than stooping to engage with law abiding citizens or Akwa Ibom state who are focused on helping deliver to their people, the continuation of good governance.