By Franklyn Isong

Atiku campaign posters
The purported Bassey Albert campaign poster

The other day, I read an article online. It was shared by a friend in a group I belong, else I don’t waste my precious time on articles with pseudonyms. As a writer on contemporary issues currently residing in Akwa Ibom State, I know the writing skills and pattern of other writers especially, those within Akwa Ibom enclave. So when I read an article titled; “2019 BETRAYALS: EKANI, VICTOR ANTAI, OTHERS ON THE WRONG SIDE OF HISTORY,” it was very easy to decipher the “real author” behind it, even though, it has a pseudonym -Kpebo Thomas.

And to further verify my suspicion, some of my friends in government who are also working in the same office with the said author, have confirmed he is the one. He is a close friend too, and a top government official heading one of the media units of the State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel. Besides his official position, he is very close to the governor and has the governor’s ears. I will stop here. I want you to use your tongue to count your teeth as to who I am talking about. Lol! This is not my focus for today. But trust me, I will mention his name in the nearest future, if he continues with his hide and seek game. He should be man enough to always use his real name on his write-ups, just like me, afterall, we know his writing skills. We know he is the big masquerade dancing behind the mask.

My focus is that, the content of the said article conveys certain private information privy to only Governor Udom Emmanuel and those the governor chooses to confide in. For instance, the write-up asserted that Mrs. Ekani Inyang who defected from PDP to APC in the State before the elections had been sending people to beg the state governor and added that; “She didn’t and hasn’t stopped at that. She is sending all manners of text messages, claiming it was the devil’s handwork.” This can only be revealed to anyone by the receiver of the text messages, in this case, the governor.

In my view, this type of mischievous write-up should be discouraged. It demeans the person of the governor and is least expected of a government whose governor is said to have invited his opponents to come and join hands with him to build a virile Akwa Ibom state. If the governor approves of this, then the sincerity of his call for unity of purpose and togetherness across party lines is still far-fetched!

The 2019 general elections have come and gone with the electoral umpire – the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), declaring the winners and issuing them with the Certificates of Return in line with the relevant statutes regulating the Nigeria electoral system. By this exercise, all political and electioneering campaigns with respect to the 2019 elections in the country have officially come to a close until such a time when INEC will lift political campaigns for the 2023 general elections.

But the disturbing trend in our polity has made it absolutely necessary for this piece to be written especially at this time, when Nigerians woke up to behold ‘new’ 2019 campaign posters of Mr. Atiku Abubakar on major streets of Abuja, the nation’s capital, and Yola, the capital of Adamawa State (Atiku’s home State). Atiku was the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP’s) presidential candidate in the 2019 general elections.

The Posters carry the portrait of Atiku Abubakar with inscription; “‘THE PUKKA’ H.E. ATIKU ABUBAKAR GCON, THE REAL AND THE RIGHT”, with a web address; ‘www.deservation.org,’ owned by a group with the same name based in Magaji/Sanda Ward in Yola, Adamawa State. “Pukka” is an Hindi word, meaning; “authentic, genuine, sure, solid and excellent”.

According to an online report of the News Agency of Nigerian (NAN); ‘a search on the web address (www.deservation.org) shows Atiku Deservation Movement (Project 774 for Atiku 2019) with RC 1167591 with the contact Magaji/Sanda Ward Yola South Adamawa State as well as phone number and a mail address.’

I see a mischief of some sorts. I think the sponsors of these posters maybe working on a conspiracy theory to heat up the polity such that Atiku Abubakar is arrested by agent of the State on charges of treasonable felony. So that if this is done, there will possibly be tension and confusion in the country which might stop a peaceful inauguration of a new government in May 29, 2019, as stipulated by law.

Mr. Atiku Abubakar is already in the election petition tribunal to challenge the outcome of the elections which INEC declared as winner, the All Progressives Congress (APC’s) candidate and incumbent president, Mr Muhammadu Buhari. I am happy that Atiku has disowned the campaign posters through a statement issued by his media adviser, Mr. Paul Ibe, on Wednesday (yesterday). My advice to those behind this mischievous act is that they should give peace a chance in Nigeria.

In the same vain, in Akwa Ibom State, the 2023 governorship campaign posters of Senator Bassey Albert Akpan, representing Uyo senatorial district in the senate surfaced on social media with his portrait and message boldly written; “#OnlyGod 2023 Yak nnyin Ikwo, OBONG BASSEY ALBERT For GOVERNOR of AKWA IBOM STATE KE ENYE ADO, ETI OWO.” “Powered by: Akwa Ibom for Bassey Albert 2023.”

Bassey Albert is a serving PDP Senator. INEC declared him as the winner in the general elections. He is awaiting his second-term inauguration in June. His APC’s opponent, Hon. Bassey Etim has challenged his re-election at the tribunal. Again, the Senator through a statement in the media has disassociated himself from the 2023 campaign posters.

Who are behind this? What are their intentions? Why now? These and many more questions begging for answers. I think this is one unnecessary distraction. We cannot play politics from year to year without a break for development to take place.

This may be one of the reasons why Akwa Ibom state is still behind, in terms of physical infrastructure. This is why the only viable industries in Akwa Ibom State still remain: the Political Parties, the Government House and Sycophancy. I make this assertion with the greatest respect to those illustrious sons and daughters of the State who are not into politics, and are not patronized with government contracts, but are carving a niche for themselves in their businesses and careers.

2019 Elections are over. 2023 elections are four years ahead. Now is the time for development and not for politicking. It is high time the media handlers of the government and the political class be reminded of this.

Moving forward, we should not be carried by the euphoria of election victory.

• Franklyn Isong is a public affairs commentator and conscience of the society


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