- State Awash With Death, Counter-death Threats
By Akanimo Sampson,
POLITICAL power politics in Akwa Ibom State, Southern Nigeria, is currently being characterised by acrimonious death and counter-death threats by entrenched political forces. Before the regime change in 2007, power politics in the state has been relatively peaceful.
But under the Administration of Godswill Akpabio (2007-2015), the state began to experience high profile assassinations, attacks by politically-sponsored assassins in churches, and a free-reign of politically-inspired cult groups. For those who know better, the introduction of state-sponsored terrorism in Akwa Ibom was aimed at foisting a political oligarchy on the state.
Things however, fell apart when the then Secretary to the State Government, Umana Okon Umana, who was being groomed as the crown prince, was kicked out of office, and a banker, Udom Emmanuel, programmed into office, and successor of the novel political system. The god-father of the system may not have anticipate what isplaying out in the state today. If he did, he would not have icked out Umana, the way he did.
The ex-SSG is calling the shots in the governing All Progressives Copngress (APC), the party of President Muhammadu Buhari. Those who threw Umana into the hands of the political wolves of the APC, murdered sleep, by their naive political action. And, when the state tends to see Umana as a trouble-maker on what is playing out in the state, the lords of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), appear to be missing the point. APC is using Umana in a deadly resource-control battle.
Buhari is a president without effective political control on the key oil and gas states of the country. Till the Change mantra of the APC produces an alternative oil-spinner for the country, politics in Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, and Rivers, will continue to be explosive. Delta State narrowly escaped this vicious resource-control battle. As far as the game is concerned, and for the APC, any means is fair in seeking to control the oil states.
This is why the Speaker of the Akwa Ibom House of Assembly, Onofiok Luke, has to be more diplomatic on handling his casse with the APC. The speaker is urging the State Security Service and the Police, to investigate an alleged attempt on his life by forces close to the APC governorship candidate, Umana. Luke is frowning at claims by Umana that the speaker was planning to assassinate him and described it as an indirect attempt on the lawmaker’s life.
Reacting through his Press Secretary, Kufre Okon, the speaker said, “the Speaker is convinced that the false alarm is a covert threat to his life as it is capable of inciting some target groups of persons against him.” He also warned that “any attempt to hide behind malicious and false allegations to harass his person will seriously be resisted within the ambit of the law by him, his loved ones, and his teeming supporters within and outside the state.”
In dismissing the veiled claim that he met with cultists last Sunday to contract them for a hatchet job against Mr Umana, Barr Luke asserted, “that as one whose upbringing is laced with strong Christian values, and whose course in life is daily and solely determined by the Supreme Being, (he) has never, and will never, plot nor sit in a company where there is a plot to assassinate anyone.” Luke advised all to “to disregard the story, and strongly requests security agents in the state to begin an immediate investigation into the claim so published.”
The full statement: reads:
”Our attention has been drawn to a false claim made against the Speaker of the Akwa Ibom state House of Assembly, Rt Hon Onofiok Luke, and published in a section of local and online media. In a story which was first circulated online and later published in the Guide Newspaper dated Thursday January 7, 2016, a certain Abia Ante was quoted to have claimed that Hon. Onofiok Luke attended a “security meeting” in which an alleged plot to assassinate Obong Umana Okon Umana, the candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the last governorship election in Akwa Ibom state, was hatched. According to the pernicious claim, the meeting was held on Sunday, January 3, 2016.
”Whereas the pedestrian comment by Ante (obviously a pseudo name) does not deserve to be honoured with a response from any quarter, it is important to put facts straight before the public following the undue amplification of the untruth by some tabloids.
On the said Sunday, Mr Speaker was in church, Full Life Christian Centre, Full Life Avenue, Uyo, as early as 7am. He left the church at about 10:30am and remained indoors with his family the rest of the day. He was indoors till the following morning when he again left home to attend the beginning of the ongoing 21 days of prayer and fasting being observed by his church. At no point in time therefore did he meet with any group of persons for any purpose as claimed in the mischievous story in circulation.
”It is important to state for records purposes that as one whose upbringing is laced with strong Christian values, and whose course in life is daily and solely determined by the Supreme Being, the respected lawmaker has never, and will never, plot nor sit in a company where there is a plot to assassinate anyone. Even in the face of great provocations and threats to his life, he has never condescended so low as to connive with, or plan in any way, to take a life.
”The honourable Speaker therefore calls the attention of the Commissioner of Police in the state, the Department of State Service, and other security agencies in the state to the alarm raised by the writer of the circulated article, and to this response of ours. The Speaker is convinced that the false alarm is a covert threat to his life as it is capable of inciting some target groups of persons against him. While we urge the reading public to disregard the false story being peddled, the Speaker pleads with the security agencies to thoroughly investigate the claim made and if he is found culpable, the full wrath of the law should be made to take its due course. Meanwhile, the Rt. Hon Speaker wishes to warn that any attempt to hide behind malicious and false allegations to harass his person will seriously be resisted within the ambit of the law by him, his loved ones, and his teeming supporters within and outside the state.
”WHILE HON. LUKE PATIENTLY WAITS AND HOPES THAT THE SECURITY AGENCIES WILL CARRY OUT THEIR PROFESSIONAL RESPONSIBILITY, HE WISHES TO STATE THAT THE ANTICS OF SMEAR CAMPAIGN IS NOT STRANGE IN THIS POLITICAL TERRAIN AND THEREFORE, NOT STRANGE TO HIM. IT IS NOT A SURPRISE THAT THE SPONSORS OF THIS STORY HAVE RESORTED TO THE OBSOLETE TACTICS OF EMPLOYING LIES AND BLACKMAIL TO HUNT DOWN POLITICAL TARGETS. SMEAR POLITICS HAS BEEN PLAYED FOR FAR TOO LONG AGAINST OTHERS, BUT MR SPEAKER WISHES TO ASSURE THAT THIS TIME, IT HAS BEEN BROUGHT TO THE DOORSTEPS OF THE WRONG PERSON.
”Although no one is left in doubts as to the brash tactics of employing pseudo names to blackmail people as evident in the story being circulated by our detractors, we have resorted to sticking with issue-based politics. The originators of this series of lies seek to achieve one goal: to impugn the integrity of Hon. Luke and try to whittle down the support base and the political capital which God has built for him over the years. They must realize by now that their identities are known and that nobody is afraid of them. As they bask in their game of lies, they seem not to know that although we steer clear of their kind of game for decency sake, the game remains one which we all know too well. They also have ruled out God completely from their machinations. The Honourable Speaker believes that his journey from the PDP primaries to the House of Assembly and to the office of Speaker is enough to make those plotting the undue attacks against him to accept the fact that God remains very interested in his affairs.