DOES APC STILL EXIST IN AKWA IBOM STATE?
APC AKWA IBOM: The reason for having opposition party in a democracy is not to only contest elections against the ruling party, but most importantly, to serve as a watch dog against the excesses of the ruling party and in so doing, helps to strengthen and broaden the democratic space.
In Akwa Ibom, It appears The All Progressive Congress (APC), the main opposition party exists for the sole purpose of contesting elections. Probably that is the reason after the 2019 general elections, the party went on holiday. No post election coordination or harmonization of the house.
Political commentators have asked why a party that gave the ruling party sleepless night in the state during the last elections cannot be heard of just a year after such a competitive outing the party displayed. Many reasons are given for this state of affair.
Some have argued that in the last election, the party was built around the gubernatorial candidate, His Excellency, Obong Nsima Ekere. That he was like the sole sponsor of the party and the candidates (except very few) the party presented for the elections.
Others have argued that the dwindling fortune of the party is as a result of betrayal, backstabbing and act of sabotage during the last elections. While others also argue that the party never had any formidable structure in the state capable of winning elections. That all what people witnessed during the elections was a pool of hungry crowd that was readily available for any moneybag to be used for the purpose of political campaigns.
Whatever the true position is, the fact remains that all is not well with the party. Otherwise, how will one explain the fact that after the last general elections, one rarely hear of meetings, press releases or taking position on many policy issues in the state.
Apart from few members like Mr Iniobong John, Imaobong Akpan Akpan, Barr Imo E. Akpan, Mmek-Abasi Akpabio, Michael Mathew, Gideon Ekere, Ani Michael who have shown unwavering commitments to the party by always speaking out on major issues, others seem not to exist at all. Even the party EXCO is not helping matters. One wonders whether the party has Publicity Secretariat at all.
The elders of the party are not equally are not helping matters as they appear to work at cross purposes. No synergy or harmonization. No coordination and mobilization of followers. Imagine at a time where people look up to their leaders for help, no such thing comes. Christmas and Easter came, nobody heard of any package to help the party faithfuls (apart from the one Sen Udoedehe did). The national leadership of the party is not also helping.
Now the entire country is hit by the ravaging effects of Covid 19, political leaders have gone to help their party men and women with palliatives and personal protective equipments. Such is not heard from the APC camp. With this kind of treatment, how do they intend to sustain the members loyalty and keep the party intact? Hunger and starvation is no respecter of persons or party platform.
In no distant time, the race for local government election in the state will kick start. How will the party do now that the house is in disarray? Shall it continue like this and later continue in the blame game? Is it not time to put the house in other? Is it that the elders in the party are only interested in state and national elections and take for granted the local government election? Or have they lost hope completely with the state electoral commission?
The party should know that the role of an opposition party goes beyond contesting elections. Equally important is the fact that opposition parties exist to check the excesses of the ruling party, contribute in major policy decisions, set agenda through constructive criticisms and help broaden the political space. The party should borrow a leaf from how PDP is doing at the center.
APC as a party really needs to sit up and reconsider its position as the main opposition party in the state. Check those issues that are working against the strength of the party. The earlier those issues are addressed, the better for the party.
E. A. Ikpatt Esq, Public Affairs Analyst.