Some commentators are criticizing today’s public march and solidarity rally by some women in Akwa Ibom State to demand justice for Iniubong Umoren. I commend the ordinary citizens and members of civil society groups who took part in it.
But I do not think it was proper for the rally to be hijacked, sponsored or led by politically exposed persons.
What do you expect when politicians and serving government officials lead or actively promote a rally in a State like Akwa Ibom where partisan politics is a preoccupation for many people?
They wanted to control the protest and the messaging so that aggrieved citizens will not have a platform to express their grievances about the alarming rate of unemployment in Akwa Ibom State and the worsening insecurity among other issues of poor governance.
I saw a video of the governor’s wife praying and speaking ferociously while addressing the protesters as if she does not know that her husband is the one overseeing the stealing and gross mismanagement of public funds which has resulted in mass unemployment, thereby making job seekers like Iniubong vulnerable to murderers, rapists and psychopaths.
The First Lady should use her energy to plead with her husband to change his ways and look into the worsening unemployment rate in Akwa Ibom State. Why get angry outside when the main problem is living with you at home?
I do not understand why it is always difficult for citizens in Akwa Ibom to organize themselves and demand responsible leadership and justice for victims like Iniubong Umoren without having to depend on political contractors who do not care about the ‘ordinary people’.
How many people in government or with political influence in Akwa Ibom State have genuine love and care for the less privileged and oppressed citizens? Less than 5%.
Why can’t Civil Society Organizations organize a rally or solidarity march or whatever civil action independently?
Why should the Commissioner for Women Affairs and other female political office holders and female politicians be the ones leading this all important rally?
Except you understand the nature of primitive and petty politics that is played in Akwa Ibom, you may not appreciate what I am saying.
Those entrusted with public funds, resources and the responsibility to create jobs and empower vulnerable citizens should not be the ones to lead a rally like this.
We want to see appropriate actions and responsible leadership. They cannot be leading the people astray and at the same time “protesting” against the consequences of their own misrule. Most of them only care about themselves, their immediate families and political cronies.
Because this particular case has received national attention, they have turned into overnight activists, carrying placards with one hand and partisan loyalty on the other hand.
They exploited a rally that was meant to advocate for justice to praise the governor. The same governor Udom Emmanuel who could not personally visit with bereaved family to console them, but is resting with his faithful poverty distribution walking stick without iota of empathy for the downtrodden and the common people.
As I write this, the Akwa Ibom State University that suspended a student indefinitely for allegedly insulting the governor on social media is on strike and locked due to the failure by the same governor to pay workers in the university. Will this not contribute to insecurity?
Since he became the governor, how many institutional safeguards has he put in place to prevent and address a rise in rape, murder and other violent crimes in Akwa Ibom State? Where are the CCTV cameras that governor Udom Emmanuel claimed he spent millions of Naira to acquire in 2019?
How many women and youths in Akwa Ibom State have been trained since 2015 on skill acquisition and empowered with grants or interest free loans?
What has Udom Emmanuel and his Commissioner for Women Affairs done to improve the welfare of the girl child and the aged in Akwa Ibom State?
How many women have been taken out of poverty since 2015 based on the policies of the current governor?
Has the shameful unemployment rate in Akwa Ibom not gotten worse since Udom Emmanuel became the governor?
We should not allow politicians and people who only care about politics and elections to use the very tragic death of Iniobong Umoren to score cheap political points.
I am writing this with a heavy heart.
I know I will be attacked, hated and misconstrued by some people for writing this, but history will vindicate the just.
If citizens want to protest peacefully, then let the protest be led strictly by citizens and credible members of the civil society, not by political jobbers.