Viewpoint - February 6, 2022

SUNDAY MUSINGS: Umo Eno: Why this Sound and Fury?

By Innocent Okon

The phenomenon called politics has never failed to arrest attention of many by its characteristics and utility value.

It is ubiquitous and rapacious! It lacks the accuracy of science and perfection of creative Arts. But it accommodates all of them to complement its uniqueness.

Tell me where anyone who prides himself as being apolitical will go without being confronted by and with politics.

In Religion, politics determines the selection of the temporal ecclesiastical hierarchy. In allocation of resources and infrastructure, politics is the recurring index that determines who gets what, where, when and how!

Even in the hallowed Ivory Tower, senates of various varsities have become the hot bed of political gymnastics. This informs the resolve of many that politics must and should not be exclusively reserved for those in the field of play called TEAM POLITICIANS.

Common sense therefore dictates that the love for and interest in politics, no matter how passive, should be massively devoid of race, vocations, creed, professions and faith.

Last week, in my beloved state, Akwa Ibom, political juggernauts seized the solemnity of the first Sunday of this month to make public a partisan political interest.

The Governor of the State, Udom Emmanuel, who has always declared that he was waiting in prayers on God to reveal who his successor would be, is reported to have hosted a strategic political top brass of his PDP family to reveal his choice for his Commissioner for Lands and Water Resources, Pastor Umo Eno, to run for the Gubernatorial ticket of their party, PDP, come 2023.

Apart from the reported presence of Obong Victor Attah, the second elected Governor of the state, as well as the Oku Ibom Ibibio and Chairman of the State Council of Chiefs, Ntenyin Solomon Etuk, methinks that conclave and its agenda was and is still in order.

My objection to the presence and participation of the two eminent Akwa Ibom elders shall be revisited in this piece presently when some concerns thrown up by the mission of the said meeting are addressed.

Firstly, there is no need for all the hues and cries about the choice of Umo Eno by Governor Udom. He has not violated any provision either in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999 as Amended), or the PDP, the political party that provided him the platform to come to power in 2015 and 2019.

If there is any observed infraction(s) on the oath of office he swore to protect and preserve, it is the Judiciary that should be approached for enforceable pronouncements.

Secondly, the Governor has not expressly foreclosed the gubernatorial race with his choice of Umo Eno. The choice of the Governor and his reasons have not left the partisan precincts of the state PDP!

No rumoured aspirants have been advised to withdraw from the race, neither has the Governor canvassed for a consensus option for his preferred choice. So why this avoidable bypartisan tremor?

Governor Udom’s public announcement of his choice for 2023 is a political masterstroke and a preemptive strike! Those pretenders who taught they could find a supersonic flight on the gubernatorial back of Governor Udom must now leave the departure hall for contenders with confirmed tickets!

There’s no point pretending and allowing aspirants to spend their resources on a project that the odds are against them. It happened in 2015!

If some politicians from Oron extraction in PDP had early information that the gubernatorial ticket was not exclusively zoned to their ethnic axis in 2015, some if not all of them, would have given their ambition a second thought.

Thirdly, this timely unveiling of Umo Eno as the choice of the state leader of the party will facilitate early resolution of rancour, the byproduct of disappointment and grief, from keenly fought intra-party elections!

In 2007 and 2015, reconciliation and concessions became near impossible because of the short distance between the primaries and the inter party elections.

The early announcement of Pastor Umo Eno as the preferred aspirant of the Governor to seek a ticket in PDP doesn’t extinguish both intra and inter opposition in the politics of Akwa Ibom!

It cannot also usurp the inalienable freedom of choice of the people during any inter Party elections.
This frenzy of condemnation is full of sound and fury, signifying absolutely nothing!

On the presence of Obong Attah and the Chairman of Akwa Ibom state Council of Chiefs at that partisan meeting, I most humbly have my reservations.

The former Governor announced his retirement from partisan Politics years ago! He has earned the respect of many for his statesmanship role so far. Intra-party politics should not enjoy his interest and open support anymore.

Same caution and restraint should be recommended to our Royal fathers. No politician forgives and also forgets the name(s) of his political enemies! Our elderstatesmen and monarchs are living in glass houses; throwing partisan stones should not be their pastime.

Okon, an Uyo based legal practitioner, is a commentator on public affairs.

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