Aniekeme Finbarr

For starters, APC is the acronym for All Progressive Congress. The name itself is an irony, there is nothing progressive about the party currently in power at the Federal level. APC is rather a well established synonym for failed promises and false hope. Propaganda, buck passing and name calling are a few other words nearest in meaning to APC.

In Akwa Ibom State, the party as an opposition party has had to contend more with its internal crises while occasionally firing blank shots at the government greased with insults and venom. For the past few weeks, APC in Akwa Ibom State has been without its regular trademark, a loquacious publicity secretary whose sole assignment is to pour invectives and expletives on the Governor of the state. After a few weeks in the doldrums, the party has emerged with one Edet Eyo Bassey, a 59 year lawyer from Urue Offong Oruko to do the ignoble task. His emergence is as questionable as the integrity of his party.

As Comrade Ini Ememobong rightly notes, it is common knowledge that for anyone to emerge as a Member of the State Working or Executive Committee of any Democratic political party, that person ought to have been elected at a congress by delegates to that congress. The sudden emergence of Mr. Bassey on the political turf with the appellation ‘Publicity Secretary’ of the APC is farcical, as we are yet to know which congress produced him. It may be needful for the APC to clear the air as it concerns their spokesperson, so that the public can take his statement more seriously. We fear a situation where we reply to a person’s release only to be told later that he was an impostor, like a top shot of the APC did recently to his media aide.

The kernel of the matter is that Mr Eyo’s first outing is a disaster. In a media chat with journalist at the APC party office, Bassey called on Governor Udom Emmanuel to emulate Kaduna Governor, Nasir El Rufai. What is there to emulate from El Rufai?

Is it the ‘Rufaigate’ scandal around his leaked memorandum to President Muhamadu Buhari, in which he unapologetically deployed uncouth language to brand the President, SGF and the Chief of Staff to Mr President? Even if Nigerians are not satisfied with the performance of the aforementioned, were there no better words for Governor El Rufai to use on such senior citizens than demeaning appellatives as ‘clueless’, among others. Is that worthy of emulation?

President Muhammadu Buhari must be praying in St Augustine’s words, “God save me from my friends, I can take care of my enemies” on account of El Rufai and a fellow from Akwa Ibom wants his own Governor to emulate such a man. Such backstabbing, such betrayal, such impatience and greed. Governor El Rufai apparently has been denied unfettered access to as well as unlimited swagger in the Presidency. But is that enough to permit him to run down his own party? Is that that the kind of thing APC in Akwa Ibom wants Governor Udom Emmanuel to do? In any case even the general content and tone of the leaked memorandum to the President betrays Governor El Rufai as an impatient and completely distracted mind, who in the manner of Emperor Nero of Rome, has elected to discount the numerous challenges facing the office of Governor of a state as strategic as Kaduna, to dabble into issues that are of lesser concern to the man on the streets of Kafanchan or Zaria, to mention a few of the towns in the state that demand El Rufai’s presence and attention to the daily grind of life. Should Governor Emmanuel now abdicate his duties and begin to dabble into issues that do not concern Akwa Ibom and its people like El Rufai does?

Should Governor Udom Emmanuel emulate El Rufai’s veiled disinterest in the affairs of Kaduna State as demonstrated in his abdication of duties as governor, to enrol for and pursue a doctorate degree programme in a foreign university while in office? How that venture will help him govern the state better than some of the brighter products of Nigeria’s night schools, is yet to be determined. Who emulates that kind of man?

This is how President Olusegun Obasanjo, Elrufai’s boss of eight years described him in his book- My Watch Volume 2: “Nasir’s penchant for reputation savaging is almost pathological. Why does he do it? He is brilliant and smart. I grant him that also. Very early in my interaction with him, I appreciated his talent and brilliance. At the same time, I recognised his weaknesses; the worst being his inability to be loyal to anybody or any issue consistently for long, but only to Nasir el-Rufai. He barefacedly lied which he did to me against his colleagues and so-called friends. I have heard of how he ruthlessly savaged the reputation of his uncle, a man who was like, in the African setting, his foster father. I shuddered when I heard the story of what he did to his half-brother in the Air Force who is senior to him in age.” Need I say more?

I understand the plight of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom State. The party is in ruins. APC is in tatters, torn pieces, scraps, shreds, clippings, fragments, a laughing stock in the political space. The party is nonexistent and at best in full blown crises on all fronts. That should be the party’s main concern and that of its new so called “publicity secretary”.

Governor Udom Emmanuel is delivering on his campaign promises in a very transparent way. If the APC seeks to know about the state’s finances, it should study the audited accounts of Akwa Ibom State published in the Nation Newspaper of March 21, 2017, The Punch Newspaper of March 21, 2017 and The Pioneer of March 20, 2017. That is more sensible than advising Governor Udom Emmanuel to emulate El Rufai who cannot account for the several deaths of his own citizens in Southern Kaduna. Citizens are fleeing the state because of the ongoing genocide there and here is someone, somewhere in Akwa Ibom, a very peaceful and progressive state urging us to be like Kaduna and its incompetent Governor.

Other than demonize Governor Udom Emmanuel and oil a propaganda syndicate to attack the policies and personality of Governor Udom Emmanuel, the APC should advance cogent plans or blueprints for the state or it should at least conduct the affairs of its own party in a credible and corrupt-free way. The good news is that the inordinate lust to conquer Akwa Ibom state by the APC whether in 2015 or 2019 has been stymied by the unconquerable response by the Akwa Ibom people. The people have sent a strong signal to the imperialist forces colluding with local rebels that Akwa Ibom state is not for sale. This first missile launched by APC’s new spokesman has failed, ab initio.

Finbarr is a public affairs analyst

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