No! Our Royal Fathers, Please No!
A response to Akwa Ibom Council of Chiefs
We have read a news report published in the Vanguard Newspaper of August 27, 2019 at page 21 credited to the Akwa Ibom State Council of Chiefs – the apex official assemblage of Paramount Rulers in Akwa Ibom State – deprecating what it termed “the virulent media propaganda launched against the successful re-election of Governor Udom Emmanuel for a second term in office”.
We observed that the entire literature from the “royal fathers” is a belated endorsement of the conduct of the highly contested outcome of the March 9, 2019 General Elections in Akwa Ibom State and a premeditated attempt to hoodwink the Tribunal.
It is instructive to note that the release is an open chastisement of all Petitioners, particularly of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who participated in that contentious election and who have a plenitude of reasons to seek judicial intervention and review of the entire process and outcome of the exercise. That, of course is the minimum provided by Law and expected of peace-loving and law-abiding citizens.
The electoral process, being essentially a creation of Law, must be conducted according to Law with inbuilt safeguards and red flags. The option of challenging the outcome of an election is lawful and legitimate as practiced even in the most developed democracies of the world. The Laws also provide ample opportunities for all parties to prove and defend their roles in any such contentious electoral exercise without inhibition including calling for evidence of observers and monitors.
Apparently, our royal fathers who said they “participated and witnessed” the elections “as being totally free, fair, transparent and acceptable across the length and breadth of Akwa Ibom State” did not deem it fit to seize the golden opportunity to also file an Observer/Monitor report or better still, for grandiose effect, testify at the Tribunal as the Arewa Peoples Assembly (APA) frantically tried to do in the course of the proceedings.
Tribunals are set up for very serious legal business. It is unfair and prejudicial to refer to Petitioners as seeking “political relevance”. That would only be reminiscent of the unfortunate commentaries of Mr. Mike Igini, INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) for Akwa Ibom State who in like manner described members of the APC as going to the Tribunal to “make noise, attract sympathy and look for appointment from President Buhari”. This is a curious coincidence.
It is our respectful and regrettable view that our royal fathers have rather taken on the role and garb of political fathers who must relish the “success” of their political sons at the polls no matter what and how, rather than fathers who encourage and applaud healthy and peaceful political engagement amongst their children without taking sides. The sanctity of the ballot is not determined by “who wins” but “how he won”! We must state for the umpteenth time that the legitimacy of an election is determined by the inviolability of the process.
We recall too with disappointment, that earlier on, our royal fathers had betrayed their partisan leanings when a few days to the Governorship election, precisely on March 6, 2019, they assembled to endorse the incumbent for second term. What more proof do we need to confirm that our royal fathers are clearly driven by party kindred spirit rather than patriotic reasoning?
The more reason that every allusion to “prevalent rotation policy” or “political rotation table” as basis for endorsement of Governor Udom Emmanuel for re-election evaporates in the face of reason and is puerile. This is simply because, Mr. Nsima Ekere who was the Candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), against whom all this tirade is targeted, also hails from the same Senatorial (Eket) District as Governor Udom Emmanuel.
It is imperative to inquire of our royal fathers when the pursuit of legitimate political aspiration translates to threats to “peace and tranquility”?
In conclusion, it is obvious that our royal fathers, by their posturing have constituted themselves into a Trado-political Tribunal whose verdict as captured in their publication is neither based on facts, Law nor good conscience.
We leave you with the inimitable words of Mr. Nsima Ekere who summarized his grouse before the Elections Petitions Tribunal thus:
“My lord, my contention is that the electoral process that took place in Akwa Ibom State on the 9th of March was totally at variance with the provisions of the law, not known to the Electoral Act, to the guidelines for the elections given by INEC neither the manual for electoral officers”.
State Publicity Secretary
All Progressives Congress,
Akwa Ibom State.