By Nseobong Okon-Ekong
The Akwa Ibom State governorship candidate of the Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP), Mr. Iboro Otu has maintained that signs for potential electoral violence in states like Akwa Ibom once generally considered as peaceful had been set many years ago when a government come to power and setup up a reward system where political thugs and minions were rewarded with power.
Continuing his observation on how Akwa Ibom ranked as one of the flash points in the 2019 elections, Oto said that a situation was created that enabled that youths to see thuggery as a way to political relevance and prosperity. According to him, “What happened afterwards was a proliferation of pitiable scenes where young people would gather every morning from Monday to Sunday in parlours and joints, waiting for political godfathers to stop by so they could sing praises and get raises. Nothing has destroyed the fabric of our society and demoralised the spirit of hardworking men and women in this state as these events. Every other thing crystallised from this. When Educational excellence and innovation aren’t rewarded; when research and development, commerce and industry aren’t supported, when godfatherism supersedes competence, what do you expect?” He queried.
The ANRP gubernatorial candidate said the situation was not peculiar to Akwa Ibom. A survey of the country would show that there are pockets of discontents in several areas – in and outside of government – are now consolidating into core fronts. He cautioned that thugs were aligning to take power by all means necessary.
“Unless people like us succeed with our stepping in to offer a viable alternative, the 2019 elections in Akwa Ibom state may likely see the prophesised ‘War in Warsaw’ because the two ruling parties have readied for the electioneering war. Through their myopic prism of graft and impunity, they see power as a zero sum game where winner takes all. Violence and intimidation has always been their modus operandi. Fortunately or unfortunately, ‘Hitler’ has moved camp, as such, the forces are equal and opposite. But I must warn them on both sides of the aisle, Akwa Ibom is too big for them, Akwa Ibom will outlive them. A lot of politicians like them have come and gone and so will they. They are on the wrong side of history and posterity will judge them.”
Otu, a businessman said that only solution to the quagmire is to give Nigerian youths access to world-class education and healthcare. “Our youths are like youths everywhere else in the world and I have travelled the world and seen things. I am yet to see any meaningfully progressive world economy that is not driven by its youths. When youths are in the forefront of research and innovation, commerce and community development, amazing things happen,” he said.
According to the ANRP governorship candidate, the irony of the Nigerian situation is “the same people making the laws that are also breaking them. Look at the antics of our state legislators. Everyone is law to his or herself; we are in a jungle. It’s survival of the fittest. Today, APC will call for police commissioner removal because he is not favouring them. Tomorrow, the governor will make his own call. The narrow mindedness has come to a hilt. This has to end, things have to change or we will cease to exist.”