Stolen Mandate is a new catchphrase across the length and breadth of Nigeria. Not surprising though, the term is ingrained in our national political sub culture where opponents hardly congratulate the Victor in every election.
In the aftermath of the Akwa Ibom State Governorship race, Mr Stolen Mandate has showed up. The ‘Stolen Mandate’ chorus is on a free fall as the Governorship Candidate’s of the Young Progressives Party, YPP and the All Progressives Congress, APC, Senator Bassey Albert and Mr Akan Udofia, have respectively declared a search for the so-called ‘Stolen Mandate’.
Recall that, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Pastor Umo Eno, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, who polled 354, 348, winner of the 18 March Governorship election.
The YPP candidate, Senator Albert, came second with 136, 262 votes, while Mr Udofia of the APC came third after polling 129, 602 votes. It was a landslide victory for Umo Eno. Even if one adds the vote of the duo who came behind him, Pastor Umo Eno would still win.
It is funny therefore that the two political party’s are challenging the outcome of what was apparently the most keenly contested, peaceful, credible, free and fair Governorship polls in the history of Akwa Ibom State.
Speaking through the State Chairman of YPP, Apostle Nnyeneime Andy, Senator Albert rejected the results and claimed victory. He tasked his supporters to remain calm with assurance that he will reclaim the ‘Stolen Mandate’ in Court.
On his part, Akan Udofia of the APC in a Press Conference followed suit. He swore he will equally reclaim his ‘Stolen Mandate’ in Court. For the unschooled, misinformed and vulnerable, there’s this silly joke making the rounds that, when Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu is sworn in as President, he will manipulate the Court’s to strip the rightful winner, Pastor Umo Eno of victory and decorate his party’s candidate with the Governorship stool.
This is indeed a laughable turn of events. Those who believe this arrant nonsense are embarking on another round of a wild goose Chase. For God’s sake, where and how was the mandate stolen? Who gave them the mandate? Did they even campaign across the nook’s and crannies of the State as Pastor Umo Eno did? How can you pass an exam on a subject you did not attend classes?
The YPP and APC should reflect on the hard truth that with their shortcomings in this election cycle, they could never have been a different outcome. YPP’s Senator Albert was encumbered by the conviction from the Uyo Federal High Court. Although he appealed his unfortunate sentencing, he was hamstrung and couldn’t campaign effectively. Sometimes, he resorted to addressing campaigns virtually and the vibe wasn’t connecting. That indictment severely undermined and dehydrated the campaign of the YPP.
Akan Udofia’s situation was worse. Four days to the Governorship polls, he was still unsure of his candidacy. He was locked in a bitter war with Senator Ita Enang as the ticket of the APC was under legal contention. When he was eventually cleared, it was too late to campaign freely and effectively. The electorate barely knew him and weren’t wholly aware he would be on the ballot.
Another issue was the controversy of a speculated collaboration between YPP and APC for the Governorship Poll. Unsure they could win the PDP candidate, Senator Albert and Mr Udofia were reported to be mulling over a possible merger. Then rumours and counter rumours spread that one had stepped down for the other. In the end, none did for the other further complicating their statuses on the ballot.
We therefore find the purported claims to Stolen Mandate, misplaced and a joke taken too far. The safe thing for the defeated candidates and Party’s to do is to get back to the drawing table and press their reset button following a post mortem of why they failed.
For those day dreaming that Senator Tinubu will order the Court’s or manipulate them to award the APC Governorship candidate, Mr Akan Udofia victory, when he becomes President, they’re welcome to suffer a nightmare that will soon stare them in the face.
The sensible thing has happened though and is giving us Joy. The overwhelming majority of the good people and residents of Akwa Ibom State have since rallied around Pastor Umo Eno in anticipation of Happy Hours from the ARISE Agenda.
Don’t be deceived, Akwa Ibom electorate have spoken in clear, unequivocal terms with their votes. The YPP and APC camps know it not minding their evasive pretence. Pastor Umo Eno is here and the Golden Era beckons.