Thursday, 21 May 2015

Assessing the post-election battle in Akwa Ibom

Assessing the post-election battle in Akwa IbomAssessing the post-election battle in Akwa Ibom


The 2015 general election may have come  and gone but not without the usual legal  battle that was expected in such election aftermath. Initially, the opposition All Progressive Congress APC in Akwa Ibom State, immediately after the March Presidential and National Assembly election which they could not score a reasonable number of votes for their Presidential candidate nor secure any seat in the National Assembly had alleged that there was no election in Akwa Ibom and called for cancellation, but when the result was announced by INEC and their presidential candidate won, there was no further calls for cancellation of the election.

As expected, the same scenario played out in the governorship and state House of Assembly election. Like the PDP governorship candidate and governor-elect of Akwa Ibom state once observed that in Akwa Ibom; PDP is like a religion where people are so fanatical about it. Akwa Ibom thinks PDP, sleep PDP, dream PDP, drink PDP, and PDP is found in the blood of every true Akwa Ibom person to a point that even when they gets to the polls, they could not do otherwise than voting for PDP they know.
Based on these facts, it is pertinent to ask; where then could APC possible win the election when PDP is in the blood stream of every true Akwa Ibom person? Now it is very clear that the election may not have been rigged as alleged by the APC in favour of the PDP, but APC may be trying to divert the attention on the electoral crimes she committed against the PDP in the election which evidence abound.

Like one of the Elder statesmen in APC, Barr Andem Andem once said that the people of Akwa Ibom are so fanatical about PDP so much that they don’t listen to other political parties on what they have to offer. He maintained that PDP in Akwa Ibom state is like the APC in Lagos state which will be extremely difficult for another party to penetrate. I ask again; where then could APC have possibly won the election?

In 2011, the governorship candidate of the APC, Obong Umana Okon Umana said that there is no known political party in Akwa Ibom state outside PDP. He confirmed that PDP is in the blood of every Akwa Ibom person who will not go for any other party than the PDP. After the governorship election result was announced and the PDP won the election, as expected; the APC heads to the election petition tribunal to challenge the outcome of the election which they claimed that there was no election in Akwa Ibom state, but INEC only allocated votes to PDP and other political parties.

Assessing the post-election battle in Akwa Ibom

Though the post-election battle for National and State Assembly has not generate much heat in the state compare to the governorship, any independent investigation or survey on the matter will reveal that it is because of the propaganda imported into the exercise by the APC governorship candidate that has caused so much heat and tension in the process.

It is very sad to note here that some sections of the media has fast become a law court or tribunal judges and pass judgement on the case even when the tribunal has not decide. The importation of propaganda and falsehood in the post-election battle in Akwa Ibom is very worrisome. Although they are taking advantage of the rumour prone Akwa Ibom who always go for rumour instead of the truth, in the process the percentage falsehood spread across the state supersedes the actual truth.
For example; within the last few days since the tribunal granted the prayers of the APC to inspect ballot papers and other materials used in the conduct of the election, there has been strange issue of missing ballot papers, denial of access to all electoral materials by INEC, and many other issues which are not in accordance with the electoral provisions. 

It is the right of the petitioner who was not satisfied with the outcome of the election to inspect electoral materials used in conducting the election by the order of the tribunal.But in doing so, it has to follow the electoral procedure. The first step was to tender petitions before the tribunal, and the tribunal has to look into the petitions brought before it.Because it is the right of the petitioner to inspect election materials which the tribunal granted the contending parties last week; what then is the essence of these falsehood spreading by the agents of the APC? Most times taking ignorant people to see things that are highly technical can be so annoying. Did the APC expect to go and inspect the ballot papers and conduct a forensic examination at the same time? They must understand that there are processes that must be followed. Just as they needed an order from the tribunal permitting them to inspect the ballot papers, when it is time for forensic test the tribunal will order INEC to conduct the examination.

From the way this thing is going, it is very clear that some sections of the media in Akwa Ibom will wake up one day and declare a particular candidate of their choice the winner before the tribunal, and some fools who love rumour more than the truth will believe. Before the election, it was reported that Udom Emmanuel regretted contesting the governorship election because Supreme Court was about to rule in favour of Frank Okon.

People should not forget that INEC is an institution established by law and cannot go against the law unpunished. The state Resident Electoral Commissioner REC is not the chairman of INEC and does not have the final say. His actions are guided by the law that established the commission. Despite all the propaganda of missing ballot papers which only exist on the pages of some APC newspapers, the tribunal has confirmed the authenticity of the ballot papers. They have also confirm that all the ballot papers used during the election are intact; what then is the essence of all these falsehood and lies on the pages of newspapers. 

Why some newspapers in the state become the official speakers of the APC such that when the party has not spoken they speak? It’s important for the APC to exercise some restrain in their bid to take over Akwa Ibom by all means. The media should allow the tribunal to do it work and follow the tribunal instead of becoming the tribunal themselves by dictating for the tribunal.

This is not healthy for this state as it will not allow a peaceful post-election battle in the state. Politics is only a means of getting power, after that there is service. Opposition should not see it as a do or die affair. They should emulate the president-elect who lost election three times and won the fourth time, and President Jonathan who conceded defeat to Buhari in the true spirit of sportsmanship.

Even as it is, no matter how the APC may pretend, it cannot erased the fact that they rigged the election which evidence abound. Most especially the convincing case of General Edet Akpan who is still battling in the court for electoral fraud he committed during the governorship election, and many other cases. Going by facts and evidence available, some leaders of the APC including the governorship candidate risk going to jail for rigging. The APC who is aggrieved has to allow the tribunal and INEC to sort out the issues they have raised in their petition that this state may have a peaceful post-election exercise.

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