I am not a pastor but I know the scriptures well enough to apply it to resolve the current political whirlwind in Akwa Ibom State.
That is why I have decided, with all humility, to draw the attention of the people of the state to one of the greatest and most dramatic stories in the Bible.
It is a simple and straight forward story that we have heard time and time again from the pulpits of our churches and prayer houses. Thank God 99.9 percent of the people of the state believe in God and attend one place of Christian worship or the other.
At a time like this when we are worried silly about the flagrant imposition of candidates by political parties across the country and in the state, I wish we spare a little time and do some soul searching.
Perhaps, my little story will help us find our way out of the crazy maze that the political class has dragged us into. It is my fervent prayer that we have election campaigns that are not bloody and election that’s not decided outside the fringes of the law.
While all peace-loving citizens of the state continue praying, let see what happened to the ill-fated woman who was caught in the “act.”
Jesus was preaching in a neighbourhood that was akin to the Plaza in Uyo, our beloved state capital and centre of “Uncommon Transformation.” As he walked through Oron Road and made towards Barracks Road preaching with his disciples on the trail, he was confronted by a crowd that pushed a thoroughly molested and frightened woman straight before him.
The Scribes (teachers of the law) and the Pharisees deliberately brought the woman before the Master in order “to test him” and impel him to take a false step.
It was a tragicomic scene draped in suspense and deceit because the life of that hapless woman and that of the master was hanging on a delicate balance. It was a case my cousin Ndikponke Udeng, would aptly describe as “forward never, backward never.”
The “lawyers” and “deeply religious” people who brought the “adulterous” woman for judgment along Barracks Road were smart by half.
They were at ease to disgrace and stone the woman to death while covering up the accessory to the crime. If the woman was caught in the act of adultery, it means she did not perform that act on herself. At least the scriptures never said she was gay. So somebody did the act for which the woman was caught. And that somebody was a man.
Those, who brought her for judgment, did not come with the accomplice to the crime. They allowed the man to have his fun and go his way unmolested while the woman took the blame for everything. A lot of time, the society has allowed a lot of people to have their cakes and eat them, too. Very unfortunate.
Indeed, the hypocritical crowd of “lawyers” and “religious” people pretended to entrust the judgment of the adulterous woman to the Master, whereas it was actually Jesus himself they wanted to accuse and judge.
To drive home their plot, they cited the Law of Moses and further provoked Jesus by calling him, “Didáskale” a Hebrew word meaning “Teacher,” and asked him whether it would be right to stone her. They reminded him how she was caught pants down, doing it and how the law prescribed that she should face the ultimate punishment. If the woman was caught pants right down, I wonder at what point the man’s pant was when the act was being committed and why the man was not also dragged before the Master. Maybe they were afraid of the man. Maybe.
With large chunks of stones in their hands, they waited excitedly for the sentence to be pronounced before they rain them on the unfortunate woman.
If Jesus had absolved the woman, they would have accused him of transgressing the precepts of Moses and dragged him towards the “A” Division. We all know what happens there. On the other hand, if he had condemned her, they would have concluded that he was inconsistent with his message of mercy towards sinners. He might have even been stoned alongside the adulterous woman.
But the Master disappointed them by doing the unexpected. He neither condemned nor absolved the woman. Jesus refused to utter a word and instead went down and wrote something on the ground. When he eventually looked up, he uttered a few words that sent the crowd back to their homes. “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone,” he said to them.
Just like the lawyers and the Pharisees who brought the woman caught in adulterous act before Jesus, 22 former gubernatorial aspirants of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, have dragged the former Secretary to the State Government, Udom Emmanuel, before the court of the land and the court of public opinion, for allegedly being imposed on the electorate by Governor Godswill Akpabio.
While one does not support an undemocratic choice of a candidate for any election and sympathizes with the aspirants for losing their huge investments in the gubernatorial project, Akwa Ibom people must not be goaded into swallowing the bitter political spits.
It is an open secret that internal democracy has no place in the lexicon of almost all the political parties in the country including the PDP and the All Progressives Congress, APC.
It is also an open secret that majority of those who lost out during the last party primaries across the country at one time or the other benefited directly and indirectly from the illegality that characterised similar exercises in the past.
In view of these, do people who once condoned and benefited from lopsided processes of elections have the moral high ground to complain when they face the law of sowing and reaping?
While the PDP is grappling with the hurricane of its primaries, there are also loud cries and rivers of tears within the All Progressives Congress, APC, over the emergence of Umana Okon Umana as the party’s gubernatorial flag bearer for the 2014 polls.
Mind you, Obong Umana got the ticket less than two weeks after he defected to the party while those who were thrashed and wounded in the cause of defending the party over the years, including its sole leader, John Akpan Udoedehe, went home to lick their sour wounds.
Like the Master, we should begin to ask those who are now crying so loud about the imposition of candidates and injustice in the processes through which candidates have emerged during the last primaries to cast the first stone, if they did not in the past benefited from and or condoned such illegality.
Majority of those, who are now ranting and crying wolf were once beneficiaries of the political machine that produced the former Secretary to the Government of the state, Mr. Emmanuel and Mr. Umana in the PDP and APC, respectively.
Akwa Ibom people should not forget those who introduced “Mbiam,” (traditional oath) into politics in the state. We should not forget those who schemed out prominent Ibibio sons and daughters from top government positions in the state in order to remain eternally relevant. We should not forget those who helped procure violence and bloodshed in the cause of political campaigns in the state. We must never forget those who betrayed their former bosses and schemed themselves to power but who are now crying blue murder when nemesis caught up with them.
We should not also forget that majority of these people have held public offices within and outside the state and did not perform well enough to justify their new quest to occupy the highest office in Akwa Ibom State.
I am not a fan of Governor Godswill Akpabio, neither am I his enemy. But I know that most of those who are now calling him names and blaming him for all the transgressions in the book were once his closest friends and allies. They dinned and enjoyed unlimited privileges inside the innermost sanctum of power in the state. They once sang praises of the governor and supported most of the actions he took. Some of us who positively criticized Mr. Akpabio were deemed enemies of “Uncommon Transformation,” and were not allowed to get any close.
Akwa Ibom people should, therefore, act wisely and allow good judgment to prevail in the choice of who becomes their governor come 2015. While Mr. Akpabio has adamantly insisted on producing a successor against every known calculation in the state, it is however, true that almost every politician that has occupied any serious public office in the country gets the backing of power or influential persons.
We should not allow an innocent man to be sacrificed on a shrine filled with priests who failed to stop the chief priest from eating from the calabash of the gods when they had the opportunity.
Akwa Ibom people should look at the credentials of those who seek their mandates to occupy public offices and decide who indeed deserves their trust and their votes. We should not allow ourselves to be taken for granted once again by supporting people whose actions and inactions contributed directly and indirectly to the problems we have been grappling with as a people.
For the records, I take full responsibility for this article and the others I have written in the past, drawing attention to issues and situations in Akwa Ibom State. I do this with every sense of responsibility and hope that those who do not agree with me will instead of blackmail and outright insult; espouse superior arguments to counter my positions. Let the best of the best become the next governor of Akwa Ibom State.
Those who are not guilty of supporting or benefiting from electoral fraud in the state should cast the first stone or they should forever hide their faces in shame for creating the political monstrosity that they now think can simply be wished away.