THE signs are more ominous particularly with the official approach of always reacting to events.The mayhem that has laid parts of Akwa Ibom State to waste was preventable.
The questions would be: Why was it allowed to happen? Would it happen again? Where would it happen next?
Akwa Ibom testifies to the abdication of responsibilities on the part of security agencies. Ordinary people knew how volatile the State could be if the opposition was campaigning. The muscling of the opposition in States like Ebonyi and Oyo, where their campaigns are disrupted is nothing compared to tension that gladiators in Akwa Ibom State added to campaigns with their incendiary comments.
Where were the security agencies? Did they believe issuing public warnings to politicians, as the State Security Services has been doing recently, was all they had to do? Did intelligence reports indicate there would be no problems in Akwa Ibom?
As usual, they have resorted to the easy, lazy part _ arresting suspects after lives have been wasted and property destroyed. Government has awarded them the right to shoot at sight anyone suspected of causing trouble, a perfect recipe for more trouble.
What use are the accusations and counter accusations about who started the trouble? Are the security agencies willing to investigate the matter?
The facts can be unearthed, unless security agencies are unwilling to work. The Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, campaigned in Ikot Ekpene, the governor’s hometown. In a State with high intolerance of other positions, it was considered an insult for another party to have ventured into “another’s” territory.
However, it is possible to trace the routes ACN followed up to where the fights began. Was the campaign a ploy for the destruction witnessed in Uyo? Our assumption is that security agents in the ACN train would give a true account of the incidents.
On its part, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, point at the massive destruction as evidence that ACN used the campaign as cover to destroy government and property. These seem plausible, but a thorough investigation is necessary to arrive at the truth.
What stops enemies of the government – and they are many – from utilising the opportunity to vent their anger on government facilities and those of individuals who they think support the administration?
“Every person involved will be brought to book no matter the political connotation they want to read to it. This is no longer politics,” Governor Godswill Akpabio promised the day after. “You cannot destroy over 800 brand new cars, 500 motorcycles, kill people, this is outright criminality you cannot kill the very people you want to rule.
We have given order to shoot at sight anybody who wishes to cause more criminalities in the State.”
John Akpan Udoedehe, ACN gubernatorial candidate, has already been charged to court for treason though the ACN said the attack left 20 of its members dead, 50 wounded, and its vehicles and motorcycles damaged.
Akwa Ibom is the early warning of the poor security plans for the elections. The signs are more ominous particularly with the official approach of always reacting to events.