AKS election 2019: Tension as Udom, Nsima present Manifesto
By Saviour Udoh
The political pot has been spilling its contents in Akwa Ibom State as political parties and their candidates presents their manifestos and flag-off their campaigns ahead of the governorship polls slated for Saturday, March 2. It has been a blistering consultations and politicking from the very blast of the whistle. The tempo of campaign/manifestos has stretched political ties to the boundary. Many have fallen, some have been batreyed and hope lost, yet many live in fear of the coming moment – March 2, the decision day.
Although the election has about 16 political parties participating, the campaign stage is dominated by Nigeria’s two leading parties, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC). It is, therefore, expected to be a straight fight between the Udom Emmanuel-led PDP and the APC candidate, Nsima Ekere.
Both parties are staking so much on the election. As has been observed by many political watchers, when the hurly burly is done, the loser will be losing all.
Leaders of both political parties have underscored the strategic importance of the Akwa Ibom election. At a rallies the leaders of both political parties are boasting on how to defeat their opponent and are deploying all available arsenals to prosecute the “battle” for the state Government house.
Besides the normal campaigns of promises, the gladiators have resorted to outright blackmail and character assassination in order to paint their opponent really black. The allegations and counter-allegations have been well balanced across the lines. Both sides have raised allegations of corruption, mismanagement of funds and cluelessness in governance. Both have slung allegations of plots to use government apparatus to rig the elections. Most appalling is the allegations of attempt to compromise officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission to rig election in favour of their opponents. These allegations and counter allegations underpin the anxiety and unbridled desperation with which both sides have approached the contest.
The corollary is the heightened hostilities across the battle lines, raising fears that the election itself would be marred by uncontrolled violence. This is drawing from the fact that electioneering activities in the last months with records of pockets of violence have already supplied casualties.
A tensed atmosphere is certain to be created when the two rival parties cross paths as the PDP and the APC are running roughshod over each other.