For sometime now, I have maintained apathy regarding the antics and smear strategy of the APC in Akwa Ibom for obvious reasons: the party is full of surprises and engages conspiracy theories towards achieving its objectives. But for the words of Desiderius Erasmus that, ‘man’s mind is so formed that it is more susceptible to falsehood than to truth’, that I consider it of sacred imperative to deconstruct an oven baked conspiracy of the APC in Akwa Ibom State. In its bid to achieve this, probably through the back door, some turn coat members of the intelligentsia and journalists are hired to form narratives predicated on half-truths. What this has caused them is that the entire society sees them as a party on a macabre dance, thanks to Michael Wolgemut who theorized the Danse Macabre through his famous painting in 1493.
Indeed Wolgemut was right and very little did he know that his epochal spiritual dance would later have bearing on the character of politics by the APC in Akwa Ibom State. Franklyn Isong is certainly playing the hatchet for the APC and Obong Nsima Ekere in particular. While he holds a right to his opinion and association as entrenched in the Nigerian Constitution and other international Conventions, Franklyn is playing the ‘blame shifting game’- an attendant of the Psychological Projection Theory. This is a theory in psychology that explains the nature and dynamics of humans. It posits that humans defend themselves against their own unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative) by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others. A case in point is that a person who is habitually rude may constantly accuse other people of being rude.
Back to the main issue. The APC in Akwa Ibom, being a clear victim of projection of ‘blame shifting’ is habitually accusing the PDP and the Government of Mr Udom Emmanuel of their own specific stock in trade. While this cannot be divorced from the Conspiracy Theory, as their character and modus operandi define such, it is apposite to put the vulnerable public in the know to avoid being misled. For instance Frankyn, in quite a cheap and light weighted article noted thus: “I have dedicatedly followed the unabated media onslaught unleashed on the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC ) and its Managing Director, Mr Nsima Ekere, by some indigenes of the state, especially officials of Akwa Ibom state government in recent times. Including a 7 pages paid advertorials in more than 15 Newspapers, national and local, and in several online news media wherein abandoned NDDC projects in the 31 LGAs of Akwa Ibom state are listed as part of the failure of the present leadership of the commission under an Akwa Ibom son, Mr Nsima Ekere”.
One wonders what would trigger such a cheap and thoughtless diatribe by an editor of a community newspaper, who, ordinarily should set agenda for political actors. What makes his blanket submission all the more questionable is his failure to mention the specific Government officials responsible for the so-called onslaught on The Managing Director of NDDC, Mr Nsima Ekere and the extent to which it concerns Governor Udom Emmanuel’s government, hence the title of his piece. This would give credibility to his allusions and earn him the desired respect.
What is more lamentable, an irony of sort is that the writer who claims to be a pro- Ibibio, who would defend its ideals without surrender, sees nothing appalling with the attacks from supporters of Obong Nsima Ekere on the state Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel. In his words:
“Apart from being an Akwa Ibom indigene, and unlike other Ibibio sons with the traditional title of OTUEKONG, I am always on oath to defend the race, her people and where necessary, wade into disputes amongst the people.” I would expect Franklyn, being a self acclaimed purveyor of unity of Ibibio to condemn in strong terms, the several mendacious speculations by his team mates on the Governor(also an Ibibio son) and his administration. I also expected him to condemn in strong terms the belief by certain governorship candidates that because they failed to emerge victorious, the winner shouldn’t be embraced in the spirit of Ibibio brotherhood. Until Franklyn takes such honourable path, I would consider him a prophet of doom- a nomenclature with which he is afraid to be identified.
It is not in dispute that these ‘character assassins’ (including Franklyn Isong) are directly or indirectly on the payroll of the NDDC Managing Director, who would rather choose to attain the hilltop mansion through blackmail and unwholesome pattern. Why are they now accusing the Government officials of the crime they are committing on a daily basis? The reason is simple. Herein lies the dynamics of blame shifting. The APC and its handlers think Akwa Ibom people are so politically ignorant. In their wildest conjecture, they erroneously believe that elections in Akwa Ibom can be won by blatant lies, blackmail and character assassination, which are integral parts of their conspiracy theory, in line with Professor Katherine Young’s Thesis.
In Young’s view, every real conspiracy has had at least four characteristic features: groups, not isolated individuals; illegal or sinister aims, not ones that would benefit society as a whole; orchestrated acts, not a series of spontaneous and haphazard ones; and secret planning, not public discussion”. The hallmark of this is to create legitimacy for a certain unacceptable aspirant with a lame argument that he would be governor to complete Eket Senatorial District’s turn. This falls flat in reasoning in that there is no governor that wouldn’t want two terms of eight years- thereby distorting the current harmonious zoning arrangement in the state. Thus further endangers APC’s conspiracy theory.
Don’t Akwa Ibom indigenes know about the dwindling revenue accruing to the state in this period of national recession caused by the APC led federal government? Don’t Akwa Ibom indigenes know that Akwa Ibom is one of the very few states that is able to pay its workers salary as at when due? Is it in obscurity that the Akwa Ibom State Governor has executed quality infrastructure projects across the state such as the Eket Ibeno Road, Etinan-Ndon Eyo road, Mbak-Ishiett road among others?
These, perhaps, are just what Governor Udom wants!
Partnership can only be attained by consent NOT by compulsion. This is in variance with Franklyn generalization : “Methinks, it would have been wise of the Udom’s government to partner with the Ekere led NDDC and seek ways of completing these abandoned projects, rather than playing the “holier-than-thou” attitude, and shot itself by the foot; by indicting his party men (PDP) who were awarded these projects as being corrupt”. This is the height of hypocrisy in the sense that Governor Udom Emmanuel has opened the doors of his heart to every prospective partner. The question now arises. Why did Mr Umana Umana, the MD of the Oil & Gas Free Trade Zone, who flew the APC flag during the 2015 gubernatorial elections consider it imperative to partner with the Akwa Ibom State on the development of a Free Trade Zone in the state?
One would have thought that having had such a run for his money from the elections to the legal stages of the contest, Umana and Governor Emmanuel wouldn’t see eye ball to eye ball. But he chose to see the Akwa Ibom project as being greater than his personal ambition. He has earned my respect!
Politics should be seen beyond self aggrandizement and unwholesome conspiracies which APC has come to be identified. It should be seen beyond sponsoring smear campaigns against the Governor and state institutions which APC leaders and supporters of Mr Nsima Ekere have earned dubious notoriety. It should be conceived beyond blame shifting, as its repercussions could be debilitating- resulting in a political ‘Danse Macabre’!
Uwemedimoh Umanah is an International Public Affairs Analyst