Democracy, as they taught us in secondary school, is the government of the people by the people and for the people. And if this be the correct definition of the current dispensation of free and fair elections, then the ongoing protests against the outcome of the National Assembly election in Rivers State could best be described as public exhibition of self- deceit.
Though we are not fully there yet, Nigerian electorates are fast coming to the point where no individual or group can just walk up and take them for granted. The outcome of the National Assembly elections in Rivers state showed an outright rejection of people leading the so called opposition in the state particularly the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) because of their antecedents especially their alleged complicity in the spate of violence and bloodshed across the state.
And true to fact that a leopard cannot change its skin, rather than employ civilised and peaceful means to register their complaint against the conduct of the election, ACN preferred violent protest which could have given rise to breakdown of law and order but for the timely intervention of security operatives guarding the INEC office in Port Harcourt.
From obvious indications, the protest against the National Assembly elections in the state is just stage rehearse for the post-governorship election which result is going to be more disastrous for Abiye Sekibo and Celestine Omehia. Mark my word!
Aggrieved ACN members had gone to the office of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to protest over the results of Saturday April 9 National Assembly election results, which they alleged were fraught with irregularities.
Interestingly, their spokesman, Bariledum Famaa, called for the removal of the State’s Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC), Aniedi Ikoiwak, and demanded that all ACN candidates be declared winners of the National Assembly election. Things don’t work that way bros!
Scores of the party’s supporters on the same day also matched to the campaign office of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) governorship candidate in Rivers, Omehia, urging the party to join in the call for cancellation of the elections.
Was it not funny that Sekibo’s supporters could go to Omehia’s supporters for a joint protest march against the PDP when the two leaders who emerged from the same womb- Peter Odili, could not agree to work together and present a common and very strong front against Amaechi another of their estranged schoolmate.
Truth be told, it was foolhardy for Sekibo and Omehia to think that the parties they represent could have done better than was recorded when they were technically in exile till very few weeks to the actual commencement of elections.
In the strict sense of soliciting for votes, which of the opposition candidates actually campaigned for votes from the electorate? The issue was that, they were, particularly the ACN candidate, hunted by their recent past and until they sit down to address issues thereof, their performance in the forthcoming governorship election of April 26th will be a more disgracing outing. Also, everybody associated with them has to join in bearing this cross of rejection together.
The issue is, what makes Abiye Sekibo, the ACN governorship flag-bearer think he can win any election in this present dispensation Rivers state with all the baggage of accusations of complicity in the still-fresh-in-mind spate of violence and bloodshed that swept across the state especially in the Okrika and Port Harcourt areas. It is very immaterial to continue to allege that the accusations were political gimmicks by Amaechi to diminish his worth. He has to wake up his ideas and face reality if he wants to keep his political ambition in the state alive.
Throughout the period of Sekibo’s skeletal campaigns so far, he has spent all his energy and time throwing mud at Amaechi rather than grabbing the platform to honestly address some of the allegations especially those raised by ordinary Rivers people especially his own kinsmen at the Justice Kayode Eso Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
The Amaechi-led PDP government does not need to rig or influence the election in any means to win Sekibo in Rivers state of today. If the ACN candidate thinks he is well accepted by the Rivers people including his Okrika kinsmen, he should just commission a secret opinion poll. The result will show him the level of disdain he faces from the ordinary people of the state and non-indigenes alike.
Even the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan few day days to the National Assembly elections came to Rivers state to ask her people not to support any other party than the PDP and not to even contemplate voting for any contestant that is outside the ruling party of course this includes Goodluck Jonathan as president, Amaechi as governor and all other national assembly contestants on the platform of the PDP.
So it wasn’t a surprise that the PDP won even in Sekibo’s Ward Four. Of course this happens to be the First Lady’s paternal ward if there’s anything of sort.
The outcome of the polls could be interpreted as an indication that Sekibo has been politically crippled by the baggage of allegations against. Also, his long absence from the state has not helped matters either.
Omehia on the other hand could have done better as he is still widely accepted in the state as a gentleman who was dragged into unholy alliance with evil men. The platform he used to contest has been his biggest undoing. It was a blunder of our time for a Riversman to think he can win any election, more so governorship on the flagship of APGA. This is the truth and nothing but the truth.
But in all this, Amaechi must shine his eyes as the unfolding drama in the state may be more sophisticated than what we see at the surface. These two men can still take power from Amaechi, I prophesy!
IFEANYI IZEZE, ABUJA ([email protected])