2019 ELECTIONS: PRETENSES AND SKEWED MEDIA ATTACK AGAINST INEC AND THE WILL OF AKWA IBOM PEOPLE

Of recent, we have noticed a piled-up and carefully orchestrated media fireworks against the conduct of the 2019 General Elections in Akwa Ibom State. The media attacks, orchestrated by the All Progressives Congress (APC) is powered with the sole intent to misguide, misinform and possibly blur public perception as to the genuineness of the outcome of the 2019 General Elections’ polls in Akwa Ibom State.

In an abhorrent manner, the APC and its social media jobbers have released several articles, press statements and social media posts to further its campaign of calumny on the last general elections. Copiously, the motive is also to subtly tilt media reports into influencing the Governorship/NASS and State Assembly elections’ Petitions tribunal outside what is legally available before the jurists.

Throwing wild and unsubstantiated accusations that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) colluded with the Akwa Ibom State Government and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to rig the 2019 elections in favour of PDP is their futile modus- operandi.

Ibom Patriots as the conscience of the state nay the nation, frowns at this media guerilla affront, nakedly displayed to vilify our democratic institutions. Without exhilaration, it is on record that the 2019 general elections in Akwa Ibom State as conducted by INEC were popularly adjudged as the freest, fairest, transparent and widely celebrated. Renowned bodies including security agencies, Media, local and international observers that were involved in the entire electoral processes did not only affirm the results, but equally praised INEC officials, particularly the State’s Resident Electoral Commissioner, Barr. Mike Igini for driving the entire processes faithfully without yielding to pressures to circumvent or compromise the exercise or the expressed will of the people.

It is well known that Barr. Mike Igini is an upright electoral umpire. The Commission readily testifies that Barr. Igini has always served diligently in all the States where he has been posted to, since his engagement with the body. At the INEC’s Stakeholders’ meeting in Akwa Ibom State on the 6th of August 2018, Obong Victor Attah, a former Governor of Akwa Ibom State and an elder statesman, had this to say: “Mike your integrity and commitment to the conduct of proper election are qualities that are well known and acknowledged in and out of this country, I urge you, for the survival of democracy to bring those qualities to bear on the conduct of the next set of elections in Akwa Ibom State.”

Obviously, these expectations were met by INEC in the State. The commission ensured that the sanctity of the ballot box was maintained with the popular doctrine of one man one vote conscientiously applied. So why the fuss now? Why is APC out to destroy an electoral process that was nationally and internationally celebrated? Why can’t APC wait for the judicial process to be completed? Why is this daily media attack on Mike Igini and the will of Akwa Ibom people?

Having watched the build-up to the elections and the subsequent outcome, it was manifestly clear that APC, instead of campaigning for votes, had given itself the luxury of employing ‘federal might’ to win the polls, with attendant boast that the elections’ outcome would be concluded in mere three (3) hours! The Party, through one of its loquacious apostles, had even likened their planned electoral approach to the manner the German’s maximum ruler, Adolf Hitler invaded Poland with the infamous statement of “Warsaw Saw War and War Saw Warsaw.”

Akwa Ibom people, as peace loving, rose up from all strata and prayed to God to avert the threats, and eventually the elections came and went without the ‘holocaust’ as was trumpeted. The elections were accordingly won and lost. APC was expected to exhibit the virtues of true democrats by accepting the outcome and to congratulate the winners, having witnessed that the electoral outcome represented the supreme will of the people. But they failed this public patriotic test. However, we do know that should doubts exist amongst electoral contenders, parties are free to seek legal remedies. But this must be done evidentially, and not through media altercation as APC is engaging currently to misinform the gullible public.

We make bold to say that the media war to malign INEC and Barr. Mike Igini is completely on an obtuse course. As a pan -Akwa Ibom socio-cultural cum intelligentsia organization, Ibom Patriots condemns in totality this needless press mudslinging against the resounding electoral victory of Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel and other elected representatives arising from the February 23rd and March 9th general elections respectively.

Never in our political history did we experience such a unified mood to vote and enthrone a leader and representatives we want, as evident with the results Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel and other elected legislators garnered at the polls. As Nicola Sturgeon opined, “It’s not opinion polls that determine the outcome of elections, it is votes in ballot boxes.” Let APC present all its facts before the court rather than engaging in self-adulation to blackmail INEC, with the intent to circumventing the will of Akwa Ibom people.

The psychological trauma that the APC engaged us with during the build up to the elections in Akwa Ibom State cannot be easily forgotten. It had failed to realize that as a party, it was preposterous in a democratic era to call for, and campaign for a state of emergency, due to minor parliamentary nuances which occurred in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.

We cannot also forget that in a bid to control the security apparati in the State, the party created a horrendous sequence where Akwa Ibom State Police Command had more than four (4) Commissioners of Police within two months, with some staying less than a week in office. APC also made spirited attempt to create chaos in the State by using thugs or party supporters to occupy the premises of the state headquarters of INEC with ill-fated demand for the removal of Barr. Igini instead of engaging in campaigns to win votes.

APC should be totally sober to accept the reality of its loss at the last polls rather than engaging in this fruitless media propaganda that is akin to an ostrich’s idiocy of hiding its head when its body lays bare conspicuously!

Let it also be known that it was not only the APC and PDP that contested the general elections in Akwa Ibom as there were over 70 parties that participated. Then why is APC the only one crying foul? APC must allow the judicial process to determine validity or otherwise of the wish of the people expressly and overwhelmingly made on February 23rd and March 9, 2019. The will of the people should always be respected if we must deepen our democratic process.

For and on behalf of Ibom Patriots:

Obong Bassey Inuaeyen
Chancellor

Rt. Hon. (Barr) Usenobong Akpabio
Secretary General

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