By Edidiong Udobia
First thing first, let’s set the record straight. Governor Udom Emmanuel carries the ‘Divine Mandate’, overwhelmingly bestowed on him by a large majority of Akwa Ibom people on March 9, 2019. Elections held in broad daylight and for the first time in almost 20 years, were devoid of state-sponsored hooliganism.
Mr. Emmanuel anchored his electioneering campaigns on “ONLY GOD”. Except in very few cases where he had to personally respond to extreme attack by the opposition, the governor based his campaigns on issues of development. His manifesto, Completion Agenda, is a compilation of his first-term’s score card and his visions for the second-term.
On the whole, Mr. Emmanuel’s reelection was centered on three fundamental elements; God, people and service. So, his mandate is sacrosanct and not under any contention.
Now to the meat of the matter. The governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Obong Nsima Ekere has alleged that his mandate is stolen.
By insinuation, Mr. Ekere means that while the winner of the contest (Udom) went home with Divine Mandate, he (Ekere) as the first runner-up, also carted away a ‘mandate’, which has been stolen. He his yet to furnish the public with full details of the alleged ‘theft’, but for a state that has been adjudged as very peaceful and secure, such allegation should not be taken likely.
Besides all the inconveniences that the supposed theft may cause the victim, the reputation of the state is also at stake. While the victim is yet to convincingly prove his theft allegation, it is however incumbent on us as fellow citizens to give him that benefit of the doubt and help with a preliminary search.
Like they say, “security is everybody’s business”. Regardless of every political sentiments, we are all in this together. It is ideal we begin the search in a manner that is very typical of the Nigeria police. So in the voice of a typical Nigerian police officer, “Mr. Nsima Ekere, do you have any suspect in mind?”. Of course, the answer is Yes. So many suspects.
Top of the list are the over 300 thugs imported from Edo state and other parts of the country by the APC for elections. For all we know, any of them could have stolen the mandate considering the fact that most of them went back very unhappy.
Mr. Ekere and the APC must therefore provide us with a comprehensive list of all the thugs they hired for the elections. The list must carry such information as the real names of the thugs, their nicknames with which they are famously known and their accurate contact addresses.
A thorough search must be carried out on all the thugs and if need be, they must all be brought in for interrogation. From the leaked “walking stick” audio recording, we are aware that “12 hilux with three, three dedicated sailors” were brought into the state from Port Harcourt for elections.
We must extend our search to all the hilux, all the dedicated sailors and all the anchormen. But in going forward, we must take a few steps backwards. Ekere will have to renounce his earlier denial of the audio, and now admit that it was actually real and not doctored.
This will help us establish the existence of our suspects. They are our primary suspects because they came into the state like the Biblical thief (only to steal and kill and destroy) and left without anyone taking proper inventories of what they came and left with.
Let’s play the audio again.
Did you hear Nsima Ekere allegedly ask, “OK. That’s what you people agreed with the Senator?”
Nsima Ekere must fully cooperate with us so we can make a headway in this search. In addition to the names of the thugs, he has to reveal the identity of the Senator he mentioned in the audio; the yet-to-be identified senator will also have a few questions to answer.
The case is too serious so we cannot afford to be lenient. If a Senator or any other person for that matter, had any dealings/agreement with our suspects in reference to the elections, then the person is a suspect too. We cannot rule out the possibility that the said Senator who recommended the “walking stick” men to Nsima Ekere, did so with some ulterior motives.
Again, in the voice of a typical Nigerian police officer, “Mr. Ekere, who is the Senator you mentioned in the audio recording?”
Are there any other suspects? Yes.
Mr. Ekere, in the course of his conversation with the “walking stick” men, also mentioned that he has a security team jointly headed by DIG this and civilian that.
The said security heads will have some questions to answer on how Nsima Ekere’s mandate was stolen under their watch. But not withstanding, Mr. Ekere’s entire security team must be thoroughly investigated. It was their primary duty to ensure their boss’ safety during the elections, but losing his most prized possession of the election to theft, is an indictment on the security team.
It must be clearly established if the alleged theft was carried out with the help of a fifth columnist or it was out of sheer complacency on the part of the security team. If upon thorough investigation, the security team is not found culpable for the crime, then we can leverage her expertise, intelligence as well as her proximate knowledge of the subject matter.
There are a few other people to look into also. Ever heard of the Trojan horse? Yes, I mean the hollow wooden horse by which the Greeks allegedly gained access to Ilium/Troy during the Trojan War. A Trojan horse is figuratively a Greek gift. It’s a gift given with bad intention(s). Recall that during the campaigns, Mr. Ekere was given some very suspicious gifts.
For instance, during the APC reception rally in honour of President Buhari, held in Ikot Ekpene, some elders of the party presented symbolic guns as a souvenir to Nsima Ekere. Despite the public outrage that followed the gesture, no attempts were made to retrieve/return the item.
Again, in a clear criminal forgery, a chieftain of APC presented a fake insignia of the office of the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, to Nsima Ekere. Like the gun souvenir, the fake insignia also attracted strong criticisms from the public. These gifts must all be subjected to a detailed forensic examination to determine if they were treacherous in any way. The presenters of the gifts will also be brought in for interrogations.
We also have a reliable and very damning Intel on the activities of some of those “We Are More”crusaders. According to our Intel, the manner in which the #WeAreMore people came and suddenly disappeared was very suspicious.
Our preliminary findings indicate that all the #WeAreMore noise was a well-planned strategy to distract Mr. Ekere’s camp so the orchestrators can infiltrate the camp and execute their original sinister plan without getting caught. Little wonder why the fever pitch ceased prematurely. This finding is further supported by the multiple fraud allegations against some heads of the ONE Media Community.
These weighty allegations, which were made by the rank and file of Nsima Ekere’s media team, have not been refuted by any of the accused till today. Therefore, we are tempted to believe that anyone who could steal Nsima Ekere’s money and walk away freely, can equally steal his mandate.
This search will be a collaborative effort because we’ll need all the useful help we can get. While we are working on a list of other possible suspects as well as waiting for more information from the victim, Nsima Ekere, we appeal to members of the public who may have any useful information on the stolen mandate not to hesitate to come forth with it.
We are very committed to helping Mr. Ekere recover his ‘stolen’ mandate.
By the way, Mr. Nsima Ekere, please, can you give us a good description of your stolen mandate? What exactly does it look like?
Edidiong Udobia writes from Uyo