The former senate committee chairman on services, Sen Effiong Bob, has dismissed claims that the assumed political heavyweights lining up behind All Progressives Congress (APC) candidates in Akwa Ibom State guarantees victory for that party in the state in the coming elections.
Bob, a former member of the ECOWAS Parliament, has insisted that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which has been ruling the state since 1999, would come out victorious, an outcome which according to him would prove that elections are not won by “political heavyweights”.
“Who are the political heavyweights? Senator Akpabio has contested elections twice; one was to be governor and the second was to the Senate. Umana only made an attempt at governorship in 2015. Who else is in their camp? Political heavyweights are people like me who had contested and won in all levels of elections including wining in tribunals, Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court,” the senator said.
“The biggest heavyweight politicians are the people on ground. Elections are done in the units. The people in the APC in the state today are strange bed fellows. They can never agree, even though they are together in the same political platform today, they can hardly trust each other. I can tell you that their core stakeholders here can sit together but they have irreconcilable differences. Again, I don’t think the intention of APC is genuine for the state.
“They say they have federal might. I don’t know what federal might is. Whatever might somebody thinks he or she has is not greater than God, who is Almighty. That is the belief of the governor and his administration. Elections will hold at the same time across the country and everybody will face his unit and ward, etc. That overconcentration of security agencies in one state during election to achieve the so-called might is not the issue now and cannot work here.
“In any case, federal might cannot take over the people. You cannot rig elections without the support of the people. If you carry out any form of manipulation in an area you don’t have people’s support it will never work. Go to Ondo State and ask what happened to Omoboriowo in 1983 who “won” election in NPN but could not step into the state from his base in Lagos until the military coup of December 1983. You can never manipulate an electoral process without the people’s support.
“Today PDP is campaigning vigorously across the state for votes and has concentrated on the education of the voters and why they should vote the PDP again. It is clearly stated in the INEC guidelines that after results are declared that they must be pasted in the units. I think the guidelines for the successful conduct of the election is clear.”
He explained that he supports Gov Udom Emmanuel because he is doing a good job, even as the biggest among the governor’s achievement – peace and security – appear to be intangible, unlike infrastructure projects, like the many roads that have been constructed.
According to him: “Security and peace remain the first among all of his feats. He denounced the activities of cult groups publicly and disassociated himself from it. Comparing what we have today with the immediate past administration, it was evident that insecurity was embedded in that government with cases of kidnapping and abduction; nobody was spared, including children and adults.”