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By Osondu Ahirika
Finally, the All Progressives Congress, APC, in Akwa Ibom State, have unwittingly admitted the obvious. The State Publicity Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Comrade Barrister Ini Ememobong has become their Achilles heel.
Suffocating under the unsparing constricting grip of the Publicity Secretariat’s political activism, the APC have cried out in frustration. As our elders say, when a child is crying and pointing in a particular direction, his tormentor is located there.
Speaking through the auspices of APC Youths of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District, the APC have fingered Ememobong as their ‘Tormentor in Chief.’ It’s that serious. Unlike the proverbial boy who was crying wolf when there was none, these youths have clearly defined their wolf.
According to them, Ememobong has overstepped his bounds by raining ‘abuses’ and using hard-boiled Press Statements to address the former Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio. In the said Press Conference, which is obviously, the hand of Esau but the voice of Jacob, Ini Ememobong’s name became a major refrain. Truth is, it’s not Akpabio’s woes that troubles them, but PDP ‘s resurgent Publicity Secretariat power base.
I’m shocked that, the APC cannot seperate Ini Ememobong the individual from the Ini Ememobong, who is just a mouthpiece of the PDP. I recall that, Engr. Ita Awak, who currently works as a Director of Air Worthiness in the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, served as the State APC Publicity Secretary before his current station.
Whilst Ita Awak served, he was a thorn in the flesh of the PDP. From several Press releases to roaming to Radio Station’s, he whipped the PDP’s butt mercilessly and was totally uncensored in rebuking the Leader of the PDP in the State, His Exellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel, even needlessly so.
Nobody cursed, threatened or attacked him. He was doing his job to de-market PDP and promote his party, the APC. He did a good job of it, like Alhaji Lai Mohammed did at the centre and even described President Jonathan as a ‘kindergarten President’, labelling him clueless.
All the PDP did, was to self interrogate and find a fitting response. Newton’s Laws of Physics came to play and Ini Ememobong, who was the Special Assistant on Political Affairs to Governor Emmanuel was the answer.
He changed the equation when his first official comment was the unforgettable, ‘we will not wrestle with pigs.’ He had served notice that it would not be business as usual for the APC, which was habitually obesse with propaganda and furious firepower. Unfortunately for the APC, their reaction to Ememobong’s battle cry in challenging Engr. Awak to a public debate on issues of governance was tame, if not outrightly unfortunate. Awak quit the job for the NCAA without heeding the bait and Barrister Edet Bassey came on board.
His tenure, with all due respect, was a disaster for his Party as Ememobong towered above him in all ramifications. Even the current State Publicity Secretary of the APC in Akwa Ibom State is domesticated. We hardly know his name or see him come through. The APC faithful even took to Social media recently to tear him down as incompetent. Should we also blame Comrade Ememobong for that?
Yet, we still have some ‘attack dogs’ in the APC whose role is to abuse Governor Emmanuel. Derogatory terms like ‘Awa gufnor’, ‘Lagos Returnee’, ‘Stooge’ warts and all, have been used by to hound the governor. Our famed hypocrisy never bothers to question the propriety or decency of these Party goons insulting the governor so brazenly. But Ini is being crucified for doing less than a quarter of what they have done and are still doing .
I understand their pain. Those who left the PDP to the APC in Akwa Ibom State in particular, and Nigeria in general, made PDP very irritable, repellent and ugly. Ini Ememobong made the party beautiful by sheer creativity in articulating the vision of Governor Emmanuel and re-branding the Party. It was a holistic approach in appraisal and strategy.
PDP Akwa Ibom State Chapter became the trailblazer in having it’s own Radio programmes including, The Umbrella and Umbrella Business Quest, which Broadcasts on Comfort 90. 5 FM Uyo on Saturdays by 10:10am and Thursdays by 9pm respectively. The programme also airs on Passion FM 94.5 Uyo and Inspiration FM 105.9 Uyo by 7:30pm on Saturday’s and Sunday’s respectively. On Thursdays by 5pm, the PDP radio show goes on air on AKBC Radio 90.5 FM.
So far, more than fifteen million in Prize monies have been won and doled out to participants in the Umbrella Business Ouest to start off entrepreneurial dreams. So many youths and women have benefited from the vocational training scheme of The Umbrella Empowerment Quest, yet another social welfarist platform created by the PDP Publicity Secretariat to touch lives positively.
Beyond these, the PDP Publicity Secretariat under Ememobong’s watch has maximized the awesome and infinite power of the social media to beam live streaming of her activities and maintaining active online updates to countless people across the globe. The constant interface with the people has become an intimate social intercourse which millions are now addicted to and can’t extricate their affinity from. It’s the cumulative result of the power of preparation, vision and innovation in office. Why should the APC blame him?
Truth be told, the APC fold in Akwa Ibom State will give an arm to have Ini Ememobong yanked off their back. He is their Achilles heel, I repeat.
For those who do not know, Achilles, according to Greek legend, at birth, was dipped into River Styx to make him invincible to all wounds.
Every part of his body which the water touched was safe from any wound in battle(our people will call it ‘Akpup’ or ‘odeshi’). Albeit, water did not touch Achilles heel, whereon, Thetis held him, to dip him in the River. That heel became his vulnerable spot.
According to legend, he won all battles, including the proverbial Trojan War. Achilles however met his Waterloo, when Paris shot an arrow which caught him on his heel, his only vulnerable spot and that’s how he was demystified and he died.
The APC was a mega Party believed to be invincible in her onslaught to capture all State’s in Nigeria. The boast of Federal might in the last General elections made that reputation more formidable. Did this intimidate the PDP? No! Ini Ememobong remained their undoing on the Party to Party turf.
He held fort for his Party and diminished the rage of the APC. Indeed, he mopped up most of her advocates to, dump and reject the APC and believe in the PDP. Ini Ememobong continues to spread the possibility of redeeming more persons from APC to his party. Remember, this political power play between both Parties is a war without bullets.
I know many folks want to heed Ememobong’s enchantment and charisma on the job to rejoin the PDP. Many of them have wondered if they can trust him. Let me end this piece by telling a true life war story.
It was in 1967. Viet Cong soldiers were surrendering in their numbers. Those who surrendered were marched away, placed in custody and briefly interrogated. Their body language and facial expressions smacked of humiliation and shame.
A marine, Paul Stanley had an encounter with a frightened, helpless and badly wounded soldier who had surrendered physically, but perhaps, not mentally or emotionally. He was shot in his Achilles tendon rendering him immobile.
The badly wounded soldier who was losing much blood and needed quick rescue however kicked and threw muds, muttering curses at the approaching American Marines. When others wanted to finish him off, Stanley pitied the Viet Cong combatant who was barely 17 or 18 years old.
Stanley acted wisely.. He unbuckled his pistol belt and hand grenades so the rattled boy soldier doesn’t get to grab them. Then, speaking gently, he moved towards the boy who stared fearfully. Stanley knelt down, slid his arms under him and picked him up, and dashed towards a waiting helicopter. The boy began to cry and held Stanley very tightly as the helicopter took off.
As the flight commenced, the lad clung to Stanley’s leg. Having never been airborne, he was panicky as the aircraft gained altitude. It was Stanley’s reassuring smile that calmed his tensed nerves. After a short while, the boy loosened his grip.
He was getting relaxed, resting his weary body and head on Stanley’s broad chest. The fear and the resistance evaporated. He finally surrendered emotionally and mentally. He believed now that Stanley would do his best for him, and he did.
The Viet Cong soldier survived and grew to raise a family in Arkansas, USA and lived happily with Paul Stanley as his adopted foster father and relative in that Nation of opportunity whose umbrella is wide enough to accommodate and give succour to the distressed wayfarer.
Ini Ememobong is the archetypal Paul Stanley. For every battle weary APC folk who looks to political redemptive therapy, Ememobong is unbuckled to help out. Don’t mind the fiery darts of the Press releases. Beneath that official rump lies a meek soul filled with compassionate empathy.
Like the Viet Cong soldier, hear Endiong John’s attestation to my thesis. In a recent post on his facebook page, Endiong John wrote :
“The best Decision of the year 2018 was the decision to support Deacon Udom Emmanuel.
I was in a Dilemma for a very long time but Comr. Ini Ememobong sat me on a stool and spoke sense to me. That morning, Morgan Ekanem and I decided on our way out of Lagos Street that if we can’t support Udom Emmanuel for any other reason in the world, that we will support him because it’s what Timi wants.
Today, I’m on a medical vacation in my house and I made time to go through my gallery to discover this video that I and Pius Christie made six weeks to elections and I’m still wondering how a course I reluctantly came to support became such a high level conviction as expressed in one of these videos.
As someone currently enjoying the privilege of first-hand access to the legacies of Deacon Udom Emmanuel, I can say that no decision could have been better and I thank Timi for patiently guiding me through the biggest decisions of the year 2018.
Udom is Right and it was right to support Udom. Thank you to everyone who got to support Udom Emmanuel because of me, Christie and Akpabio David especially for the purpose of the moments reminded by these short clips and pictures.
An exciting future awaits every Akwa Ibomites as a reward for awarding 8Years to His Excellency, Deacon Udom Emmanuel.
Did I make any sense? I rest my case.