Former Akwa Ibom State governor and elder statesman, Obong Victor Attah, has described the verdict of the Akwa Ibom State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal which nullified the April 11,2015 governorship polls in 18 Local Government Areas of the state as the triumph of truth over falsehood; of right over wrong and integrity over impunity.
The former governor said this at a press conference in Uyo. The briefing had elder statesmen and senior citizens of the state in attendance.
He noted that the tribunal “towed the path of honour and integrity and resisted all attempts to be compromised”.
He said the verdict has illuminated a new pathway for the people of the state to follow as the state inches closer to the prospect of fresh election.
“They had boasted that what money could not do, more money to the tribunal would do. But today, to their consternation, the tribunal, in the hands of righteous judges, has pronounced differently. The tribunal has entuned a dirge, very soon we will be singing the death knell to insanity for whom now the bell tolls. Akwa Ibom is at the point of being liberated! Our right to freely choose our candidates and to freely vote for those we want to govern or to represent us is about to be restored along with the right to freely criticize any leader who abuses office. This is what I had always wanted and prayed for and I thank God for answering our prayers”, he said.
Attah added that the tribunal has given Akwa Ibom people, “a new golden chance for moral transformation and spiritual rebirth and inspired the people to stand up and vow that never again must they tolerate such evil in the state”.
“Indeed the time has come that we must create ourselves anew. If we should fail to make the best use of this chance, we will have only ourselves to blame”, he said.
While praising and commending the organisers of the Dakada initiative as a timely wakeup call, he stated that the organizers reminded the people of the state a number of very apt philosophical statements, by raising the consciousness that “men are prisoners of their thoughts”.
According to Attah, “In the last eight years, Akwa Ibom people seem to have developed the pathetic mindset that they are under the rule of an imperial majesty through whose Machiavellian machinations only a new governor can be produced. So some, from morbid fear surrendered while some, through suffocating impoverishment acquiesced. Sadly there were also those who felt that their own agenda and ambitions could only be attained through this evil means, so they actively collaborated”.
Continuing, he said, “The same organizers of the wakeup call also reminded us that no problem can be solved by the same level of consciousness that created it. The problems by which our beloved Akwa Ibom state has been traumatized in the last eight years were created by a level of consciousness called “Akpabioism”. It is the same Akpabioism that tried to impose a new government on us. How can we possibly expect that Akpabioism can solve the monstrous problems created in the first instance by Akpabioism!”.
He reminded the state that while some outstanding sons and daughters of the state are celebrated for their outstanding achievements such as Aniekeme Alphonsus, a Commonwealth youth champion and winner of several sports medals; Vincent Enyeama, one of Nigerian’s greatest goalkeepers ever, and Ufot Etuk who pulled himself up by the shoe string to distinguish himself academically in far away Japan, the story he said would have been different If Aniekeme had cheated, indulged in any form of impunity or acquired her feat by any dubious means.
“Perhaps I should remind us of Aniefiok Udobong, another great son of Akwa Ibom State who, at the World Olympics of 2000 in Sydney was, along with his relay team, relegated to a silver medal. Quite a few years later came the wondrous news that the team that had snatched the gold medal had been stripped because some members of the team had cheated by taking drugs. So Udobong and his team mates were awarded the gold medal. A clear manifestation that evil may overwhelm for a while, sometimes infact for a long while, but in the end, honour, integrity will triumph. It cannot be different in politics. Any position acquired dishonestly or by foul means cannot, and must not be maintained, it must revert to its rightful owner”, he submitted.
The former governor used the occasion to announce his retirement from partisan politics but not without lambasting the PDP for “enshrining impunity and lawlessness in the party against the founding principles and values of it’s founding fathers”.
He said he has decided to remain an elder statesman and continue to contribute his quota towards the development of the state and country, describing the comments attributed to PDP’s Olisa Metuh as lacking substance.
Hear him, “Let me conclude by clarifying the issue of my political party membership. In doing this I will refer to an interview given by Mr. Olisa Metuh, the National Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The interview was reported on page 40 of the Sunday Vanguard of September 19, 2015. When the interviewer asked Mr. Metuh why the Ekweremadu reconciliation committee did not contact Obong Attah, he retorted with the question “Is Obong Victor Attah still in PDP?” to which the interviewer replied “yes”. But Mr. Metuh insisted that “….you cannot be a member of the party when you …. make utterances for PDP to fail”.
“This interesting exchange reminded me of the story of a man who had chosen to live a sinful life. But there was a pastor who had consistently preached against the man’s way of life and had warned that unless he repented, he risked going to hell. When finally the man died and found himself in hell, of course he put all the blame on the pastor’s utterances rather than on his sinfulness”.
He conceded that he made several utterances and affirmed that he stood by all of them including those for which he was accused of anti party activities, stating that it was ridiculous for the PDP to now blame its failure on such utterances rather “than its perilous refusal to heed the warnings they conveyed”.