May 28, 2022
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Distortions From A Free Speech

By Emmanuel Ndon

Politicking has begun and the political jobbers have dusted up their tool kits ahead of 2023. They are already in Itu to test their strength in maneuverings, taring , name – dropping and blame game among other dangerous traits.

Blackmail is on their lips. It’s their stock in trade and their only survival mechanism. Is there any wonder then why Ursula Curtis described blackmail as “the age – old path to the land of milk and honey. The one sure way of being paid for doing nothing”?

Rt. Hon. Dr. Henry Archibong, member representing Itu /Ibiono federal constituency is their latest victim. Dr. Archibong was guest on a radio programme, Politics Today, last Thursday on Planet FM, where he bared his mind on national issues and local politics and, before the interview would end, the lawmaker was at the receiving end.

During the interview session, Dr. Archibong was confronted with allegations that he was “working hand -in- hand” with a particular gubernatorial aspirant “to make him governor” to which he gave his honest response that he had no such power to make anyone governor, and will always align with His Excellency, the governor, on who takes over from him.

Hardly did he leave the studio had the woe mongers already gone to town with a different narrative that the respected lawmaker had “disowned” the popular gubernatorial aspirant and was averse to a governor from Itu/Ibiono federal constituency.

From the audio of the interview, Dr. Archibong never disowned anybody neither did he at any point in the interview aver that ‘it is not compulsory for Itu /Ibiono federal constituency’ to produce the next governor of Akwa Ibom State as being peddled by the haters.

The distortions in the interview generated serious tension within the polity as I started to receive calls from prominent indigenes of the area, including , Prof Okon Ansa, former Deputy Vice Chancellor ( Administration) , University of Uyo, Obong Daniel Udo ( aka North South ), who serves as Technical Adviser to Senator, Uyo Senatorial District, Senator Bassey Albert Akpan, traditional rulers and other stakeholders, among others. My Council Chairman, Barr Etetim Onuk also discussed the issue with me in his office.

Distortions From A Free Speech

Distortions From A Free Speech

The calibre of people that called me and expressed concerns necessitated my drive to look for the unedited audio of the interview. After listening to it and sharing same with concerned citizens, I was compelled to respond. Beyond that, as an indigene of the area, who is concerned about improvements in political leadership, and having firsthand information about reactions to the interview, and how the Honourable member was being blackmailed and unjustly attacked , I feel obliged to lend my voice.

The whole gamut of governorship election is well beyond one person. From the zoning arrangement in the senatorial district (and then micro – zoning to federal constituency) to the party primaries where aspirants test their strength, to the general election where millions of eligible voters express their choice is more complex than placing a needless controversy on the doorstep of any individual.

And they have lost it completely there because other than bungling the interview, there was nothing infuriating about Henry’s responses. Those who are making a scapegoat of the lawmaker are not lovers of Itu /Ibiono, neither do they desire the governorship slot on the altar of fairness but because of selfish, pecuniary interests. In an attempt to betray someone, they have given themselves out as fair weather men who see everything good when it favours them, but condemn everything anytime it goes against their interests.

For the avoidance of doubt, it is better to reproduce excerpts of the interview here for the benefit of the general public and those who may have fallen for the antics of blackmail:

On whether NASS members fight the governor because he has not endorsed any of them for 2023?

Dr Henry’s response : “First of all, the governor has not come out to endorse anybody. In several places, I’ve heard him say he has not anointed anybody, that it is only God that will give him the direction on who becomes the next governor”.

On whether the governor’s successor will come from Itu /Ibiono federal constituency?

“We in Itu /Ibiono will graciously accept it if it comes, but then, we can only be praying that God should do His will. So we can not go out to rock the boat rather, we will support His Excellency to land well”, he responded.

On allegations that you are working hand – in – hand with Senator OBA to make him governor?

Hear him : “I will openly say to you here that, that is a lie. I am not working with anybody to make anybody governor. First of all, I don’t have that power, I will totally stand with His Excellency, Deacon Udom Emmanuel, to bring up the next governor”.

Dr. Henry also pointed out that desperation is not necessary in politics for it is only God that gives power. He believes that whoever that is going to be the next governor has already been anointed by God spiritually and is only waiting for the manifestation.

During the Radio interview, he stated that the governor enjoys 100 percent support from national assembly members and dismissed the existence of any rancour.

From his responses during the interview, it can be deduced that, Dr. Henry Archibong is not opposed to anybody’s ambition, let alone would he stand in the way of an Itu /Ibiono man becoming the governor. Politics should never be used as a tool for separation and disunity as has been been deployed by unscrupulous elements.

Distortions From A Free Speech

When we are clamouring for the top job, we were never going to achieve it fighting among ourselves rather with closed ranks and a deeper, harmonious and united front.

This pull – him – down that has been our lot over the years must stop if we are to achieve any meaningful progress. Findings have confirmed that Dr. Archibong enjoys good working relationship with everyone of his brother – colleagues in the national assembly and has remained focused on his legislative assignment and responsive to the mandate given to him by the people.

According to one of his constituents from Mbiabo, Prince Effiong Etim Effiong, ” Dr Henry Archibong has kept the momentum of quality representation from the start of his journey back in 2015″.

Blackmailers who profit from gossips and hate should find a better vocation .

Distortions From A Free Speech

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