By Edet Okpo

On Monday March 14, 2022, like many other Journalists and media practitioners in the State, I was at the Ibom Hall Grounds for the grand finale of the 2022 edition of International Women’s Day celebrations. The event was characteristically well organized, colourful and hugely successful.

Our women were resplendent in their colourful uniforms and eye catching attires. Most of us who attended the event were impressed with the high sense of organization and decorum observed by the women as well as the level of exemplary leadership demonstrated by the First Lady, Her Excellency, Dr (Mrs) Martha Udom Emmanuel, the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Welfare, Dr Ini Adiakpan and other government officials who were involved in the hosting of the event.

The Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel who himself was physically present at the event was effusive with commendations for his wife and the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Welfare,Dr. Ini Adiakpan who put together such a successful event. He was obviously motivated by the exhilarating atmosphere enacted by the women when he charged them to sustain the spirit of solidarity and take more active roles in politics and governance.

It is against this background that one wonders where certain social media users and a section of the Press sympathetic to some of the governorship aspirants got their concocted stories about what transpired at the event from. That we are in an election season doesn’t mean we should completely throw decency overboard in an attempt to impress the insignificant few who aren’t on the same page with the Governor and his administration.

Contrary to the lies published by these political merchants and media hirelings, there was no quarrel, let alone fisticuffs between the Hon. Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Welfare , Dr. Ini Adiakpan and her colleague, the Commissioner for Agriculture, Dr. Glory Edet. At no point in the course of the event, was the colourful scenery of a march past, undertaken by the beautifully adorned Akwa Ibom women drawn from the thirty one Local Government Areas of the State disrupted by any event or incident. A minor issue involving women mobilized by the wife of the Executive Chairman, Ini Local Government Council, Mrs Edith Adaisim and a group of women from the same Local Government Area who obviously attended the event at the instance of Dr Glory Edet was quickly settled by the intervention of the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Welfare, Dr Ini Adiakpan. The issue wasn’t even serious or loud enough to attract the attention of the Governor or his wife. At no point throughout the event was Dr Glory Edet barred from her seat among dignitaries by security agents as reported by these peddlers of falsehood and propaganda.

Of course, reporters from reputable national newspapers, State based radio and television stations were there to also cover the event. If anything untoward happened, they would have reported same. Dr Glory Edet enjoys a most robust personal and working relationship with Her Excellency, Mrs Martha Udom Emmanuel and her family prior to the emergence of Governor Udom Emmanuel’s administration.

It is even illogical to suggest that Dr Glory Edet, a woman who had enjoyed a very cordial relationship to the extent of being recommended and nominated by the First Lady into the State Executive Council is engaged in any form of rivalry with her benefactor. From all indications, the Commissioner holds the First Lady in high esteem and has never insulted her publicly.

It is sad that supposed gentlemen can attempt to drag our women, especially the gentle and peace loving First Lady, Her Excellency, Dr.( Mrs) Martha Udom Emmanuel in the mud for political reasons. I don’t see how denigrating, disparaging and demeaning these wives and mothers will help their sponsors win the forthcoming governorship election.

Anyone with an iota of sense would know the kind of drama reported by these merchants of lies and political propagandists could never have occurred in the presence of the Governor. It’s even curious they haven’t mentioned the Governor’s presence or his reaction to the purported shouting march and exchange of blows involving two top officials of his administration. They failed to mention that it was an event which was also attended by the Deputy Governor, Mr Moses Ekpo, Speaker of the State House of Assembly, represented by the Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon.( Princess) Felicia Bassey and the entire structure of the State government.

A certain Facebook user called Soundcraft Owo OBA went particularly low by describing Dr Glory Edet as a side chick. He also made certain vulgar, demeaning and primitive comments about the woman, using vernacular. I hope he knows there are legal remedies and sanctions for defamation. And if those he has so callously maligned decide to approach the law court to seek remedies against him, he will carry his cross as an individual without the direct involvement of the big masquerade whose desperate political tune he’s dancing to.

I challenge these purveyors of lies and blackmail to post videos,audio or pictures depicting a squabble to establish the authenticity of their sensational reportage. Moreso, the First Lady sat through the event and left with other women when the event came to an end. Videos, posted on social media don’t portray her in anyway as someone who felt embarrassed, angry or worried at any point in the course of the event.

So, I make bold to declare those reports politically motivated propaganda, unconscionable concoctions and tissues of lies peddled by infantile agents of desperate governorship and House of Representatives aspirants. Unfortunately, falsehoods don’t win elections. Let them engage Akwa Ibom people on what they can do if elected into office(s), rather than continue their well known craft of mud bath.

Edet Okpo, a Media and Image Management Consultant writes from Uyo,Akwa Ibom State.

Wisdom Bassey

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