Regardless of the political divides and people’s differences in the build-up to every election, the electorates are usually driven by the common desire to have a government they can identify with, and by extension, one that largely reflects the wishes of the majority. Amidst all the political hullabaloo, the legion of devise followers share a common trait – the hidden desire to have a leadership they can truly be proud of in public and in the closet, because after all the noise and public stunts, citizens feel more fulfilled when they hear a tiny voice their head tell them, “Yes, you’re on the right side”.
The 2023 governorship election of Akwa Ibom State, in many ways, will be a referendum on honesty and people’s resoluteness. First, the faith of political parties in democratic principles will be tested. For instance, as a political party that is sailing through the storm, the election will be a threat to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and its control of the state. So, if the party hopes to survive whatever is coming in 2023, it must opt for a selection process that will minimize its internal crisis before, during and after the primary elections. Recall that the party’s victory in 2015 came through a strategic deployment of “federal might” while the 2019 was largely the result of the people’s might. Ahead of 2023, the PDP cannot afford to lose both. This means that while the party is hoping for an upset at the federal level, it must ensure that the forthcoming primary elections in the state are fair and transparent enough that people will go home either satisfied with the outcome or aggrieved but genuinely open to reconciliation.
Secondly, the election will be a test to the electorates on different dimensions. It’s not a coincidence that the PDP’s slogan is “Power to the People”. In fact, the slogan was meant for a time like this. A time when people will come to the realisation that the party is only a platform while they (the people) truly own the power. Ahead of the primary elections, stakeholders, elders, delegates and other party faithful who collectively form the party structure will have to prioritise the interest of the party in their decisions and actions. From the conduct of the primary elections to their choice of candidates, members of the PDP will show how much they are committed to the survival of the party after the general elections.
On another dimension, the election will throw the challenge of honesty at the young people who have been clamouring for a young person as governor and more youth inclusion in governance. As those who bear the brunt of the electioneering, the young people will have to walk the talk with regards to their interest. Uduak Ikafia, Director of Communications, Amazing Grace Campaign Organisation, shares this sentiment in her recent press release. “As we push towards our GOAL in 2023, we are assured that Akwa Ibom people will reiterate their stand on demanding a leadership that is characterised by experience, youthfulness, acceptability, accessibility, and accountability”.
As far as the 2023 governorship election is concerned, the PDP (as a platform and a collection of people) has only one GOAL – to fly a young, popular, experienced and acceptable candidate.
One AKWA IBOM. One FUTURE. One GOAL.