Being A Press Statement issued by Obong Victor B. Attah on Tuesday 27th October 2015 at a press briefing in Daaty Hotel, Uyo]
Early in the life of the last government of Barr. Godswill Obot Akpabio, CON, when a most uncommon fraud in the name of TROPICANA was being foisted on our beloved state and its people, I was moved to express my candid opinion on that project by way of advice in a letter to the governor. The response to this was an avalanche of paid advertorials in various newspapers by various groups and individuals some of whom, I had thought would know better. The question that they all asked was “What does Obong Attah want?”
I did not shy away from answering the question. I had said to those who asked “when I find what I want I will show it to you”. Indeed today, eight locust years later, with unfortunately, three trillion naira down the drain, I can say that there is light at the end of the tunnel. What I had always wanted is beginning to come into focus.
Today I am inviting, not only those who had asked the question, but every Akwa Ibom person to come and witness the triumph of truth over falsehood; of right over wrong; of integrity over impunity; of morality over immorality; the triumph of good over evil.
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.
A Wakeup Call
Let me right away thank those who recently organized a wakeup call for Akwa Ibom under the banner of “dakkada.” It is a very timely call. In the buildup of the campaign which is ongoing, the organizers reminded us of a number of very apt philosophical statements. One such statement was that “men are prisoners of their mindset”. How true! How very true!
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.
How true indeed that evil can only thrive when good people decide to do nothing. However Psalm 125 at verse 3 assures that “The wicked will not always rule over the land of the righteous; if they did, the righteous themselves might do evil”.
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!
Today we proudly celebrate Aniekeme Alphonsus, our Commonwealth youth champion and winner of several sports medals; we celebrate Vincent Enyeama, one of Nigerian’s greatest goalkeepers ever, a proud son of Akwa Ibom state; not forgetting, of course Ufot Etuk who pulled himself up by the shoe string to distinguish himself academically in far away Japan. The question we must ask is, would the story not have been different, would Aniekeme not have been stripped of her medals if she had cheated or acquired them by any dubious means; rather than honour, would they not have brought disgrace and odium to our state if they had indulged in any form of impunity?
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.
The tribunal has given us a new chance, a golden chance for “moral transformation and spiritual rebirth”. So Akwa Ibom edemme (wake up) dakkada (stand up) and vow that never again must we tolerate such evil in our land. 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.
Is Obong Attah still in PDP?
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 at 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.
Indeed I made several utterances and I stand by all of them including those ones for which I was, from time to time, accused of anti party activities. The tragedy for the PDP is to now blame its failure on such utterances rather than its perilous refusal to heed the warnings they conveyed.
Who does not know that you only conduct an election to fill a vacancy. But the PDP would start by announcing that there is no vacancy. Then it would offer “automatic tickets” to a set of people. When pressure mounts, it would switch the same automatic tickets to another set of people. What manner of democracy!! Yet the name of the party remains the Peoples Democratic Party. Can the National Publicity Secretary of the PDP, as an eminent member of the National Working Committee that he is, point to anything in the constitution of the PDP that suggests that it is the wife of an incumbent governor that should nominate or designate her husband’s successor, and having been so nominated, that the party should put its full weight behind the incumbent governor to impose the nominee on the state as his successor? To bounce back as Olisa Metuh claims it will, the PDP must stop looking for who to blame and reorder its ways along the aims and ideals of its founding fathers of which I am one.
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Let nobody take this to mean that I want to remain in the PDP or therefore jump to the opposite conclusion that I am going over to APC or any other party for that matter. In my interview which was reported at pages 58 and 59 in the Saturday Vanguard of September 5, 2015, I had made the point that on November 20 this year, I will, God sparing life till then, mark 77 years of life on earth. So I have become an elder statesman. I named other elder statesmen I know who have served and continue to serve this country in very eminent positions without carrying any party card.
Besides I had always insisted that I was a committed professional in politics and not a professional or career politician. So I can formally state that I have quit partisan politics to play the role of an elder statesman and to continue to serve this country with love, strength, and faith with integrity to the best of my ability.
I thank you gentlemen for listening to me.
God bless a redeemed Akwa Abasi Ibom State
God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria
(Obong) Victor B. Attah
Former Governor of Akwa Ibom State