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Friday, January 14, 2022

A'Ibom 2023: Averting Another Reign of Terror, Bloodbath and Human Right Abuses


Rev'd Richard Peters 

Twenty-twenty three election is gradually crawling in. Underground campaigns are already reaching a crescendo and it will no longer be a secret soon. Many aspirants that are yet to come public (if there is any) will soon let the cat out of the bag. Tension is high, especially as everyone is keenly keeping vigil on the governor's mouth perhaps if words would fall regarding his successor. These are normal, but what is very abnormal after so much sacrifices to stabilize peace in Akwa Ibom state is the unholy path that some aspirants are treading.

The once cherished and glorified peaceful state if nothing is done fast will slip back to a time when people were kidnapped even in sacred place like the church; a time when assassination almost became a normal thing; a time when scholars and outstanding sons and daughters of Akwa Ibom were running away from Akwa Ibom to hide elsewhere; a time when journalists and other individuals with dissenting views were treated as demons and some brutally murdered even in broad day light. At that time no one slept with their two eyes closed. Evil men were glorified and adored and they had a field day. Akwa Ibom people, are you ready to go back to Egypt?

It is no longer news that the body language of a certain governorship aspirant in the state is dancing towards such an ungodly path where so called strong men are beginning to threaten anyone who tries not to align with the views of their principal who may not even know them. Such ignoble attitude will suffocate the peace we are enjoying and take us back on the path of war. God forbid.

If we allow these threats to persist without effort towards nibbing it in the bud, the state will no longer be safe for our children. Our youths will become wayward. Our fathers will become slaves in their own land and the number of widows will increase. "Strong men" will take over our streets, and fear will embrace the land. We should not watch the start of a war-like regime and do nothing about it while we can stop it. The consequences would spare no one. This is the time to act.

Of late, certain supporters of a particular governorship aspirant have started sending threat messages to some persons in the state, vowing to kill them and remove their skins. This has been alien in the state in the last 7 years or so, but why is this coming back and from a particular quarter? Akwa Ibom people must rise and oppose this devilish path.

We are aware that people use various means to attempt to grab power including violence and war, but that should not be heard in a civilised society. While we can argue the validity and virtue of certain political agendas, the callous methods by which some leaders attain their goals are less up to interpretation. We have seen how those who ascended thrones on the blood of innocent citizens and harmless civilians ended. History cannot lie.

​In 1917, Vladimir Lenin led the October Revolution to overturn the provisional government that had overthrown the Czar. During this period of revolution, war and famine, Lenin demonstrated a chilling disregard for the sufferings of his fellow countrymen and mercilessly crushed any opposition. It was a reign of terror, but he was equally murdered in shame.

Augusto Pinochet overthrew Chile’s government in 1973 with the help of a US-backed coup. Reports say numerous people ‘disappeared’ under the regime and 35,000 were tortured. Pinochet died before he could stand trial on accusations of human-rights abuses.

Should we mention the popular Adolf Hitler? By the end of 1941, he devised a plan to create his ideal ‘master race’ by eliminating Jews, Slavs, gypsies, homosexuals and political opponents by forcefully sending them to concentration camps, where they were tortured to death. According to reports, the Nazis killed about 11 million people under Hitler’s regime.

When people are threatening to eliminate citizens of the state, who are they going to govern? Is this the kind of government that we want? One needs not to be sentimental at this point. Akwa Ibom needs a peace loving leader who has the intellectual capacity to drive home investors and set us on the path of prosperity.

What we need now is not someone who will throw money on the streets and have a romance with the disabled just for the camera lenses to capture. We need a man who has what to bring to the table of administration and ultimately have the people's interest at heart.

Akwa Ibom is not a war zone, and anyone who is scared of dissenting voices should not even go close to the seat of a governor. 

Gov. Emmanuel is one of the most insulted governors in the history of the state, but you rarely hear him fight back. His legacies are fighting for him. His economic policies and results are the ones fighting his oppositions. This is focused leadership which should be sustained by his successor.

We need people like Nelson Mandela, Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Ghandi and many others who pursued peace in their respective domains beyond power, wealth and fame.

Akwa Ibom has experienced relative peace under Gov. Udom Emmanuel. Infact if no one has seen anything good about his administration, no one can deny the fact that one can sleep without fear of anything. Kidnapping has become history and violence doesn't have a place to thrive. Everyone is maintaining peace and businesses are flourishing.

Akwa Ibom people should not allow the days of terror to return by supporting a candidate who adores war. Akwa Ibom people should rise against any aspirant to want to ascend the governorship seat through the blood of Akwa Ibom people. Akwa Ibom people should say no to another reign of terror, bloodbath and human rights abuse.

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