The quiet in Akwa Ibom became apparent as the whole state especially stakeholders in the state capital, Uyo appeared to be mute on the controversies before the election.
Even the usual crowd newspaper readers at the popular Newspaper stands at the ‘Plaza’ discussing and arguing about trending and controversial political issues/stories in both national and local tabloids disappeared for days after the failed convention.
The unusual quiet and low morale that enveloped the political atmosphere in the state is however viewed as a clear expression of anger and disappointment.
The disappointment, however, was not surprising as many supporters, and stakeholders of the PDP in the state were optimistic that the national convention would hold despite threats by Ali Modu Sheriff faction to stop it from holding the second time.
In fact Akwa Ibom state PDP stakeholders and statutory delegates as well as those who were supposed to contest certain national positions of the party had prepared very well ahead of that national convention.
The Commissioner for Commerce, Investment and Industry, Barr Emmanuel Enoidem resigned his appointment to contest the position of National Legal Adviser of the Party barely 24 hours to the date fixed for the convention.
Even few days to August 17, 2016, the South-South Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Bishop Etim Ante an indigene of the state was still confident that his party would hold a successful national convention contrary to speculations in some quarters.
Ante who spoke during an interview expressed high expectation that the Pro Jerry Gana led-reconciliation Committee would be successful in resolving the differences between the aggrieved Senator Ali Modu Sheriff and Senator Makarfi Caretaker Committee factions before the date of the national convention.
He equally held the strong belief that the decision of the party to zone the National Chairmanship position which has been the major contention in the party to the South West and the presidency to the north would have put an end to the lingering crisis.
In his words, “I am optimistic that the reconciliation committee led by Prof Jerry Gana which was set up by the BoT members of our party to reach out to both the Senator Ahmed Makarfi and Ali Modu Sheriff factions will be able to bring them together.
“And with the zoning of the presidency to the north and the National Chairmanship zoned to the South I don’t think that Sheriff will want to continue to hold onto the National Chairmanship position when the presidency is what the north has been yearning for.” The South-South image maker of the PDP even expressed doubt over the allegation that Modu Sheriff was working for the All Progressives Congress, APC to destabilize his party.
He reasoned that Sheriff as a human being was only aggrieved for not being allowed to continue as the National Chairman of the party even though he saw no reason for him to continue to feel aggrieved after having enjoyed the support of key stakeholders of the party before the party conventions to change their leadership at the different levels.
Ante, however, was quick to say that the peace accord put in place will determine whether the speculations about Sheriff secretly romancing with APC were true or not, stressing that nobody, not even the legal battle would stop the scheduled national convention.
“Senator Ali Modu Sheriff may be aggrieved as a human being; it is normal because he wanted to continue as the National Chairman of the party. And that is why the BoT of the party decided to set up a reconciliation committee to reach out to him and Senator Ahmed Makarfi, to bring the two factions together.
‘If he now decides to look the other way as being speculated we will know through the peace accord. But if Sheriff accepts to embrace the peace accord, then there will be no room for doubt. ‘’Whoever is for the party must show that loyalty to the party by agreeing to the reconciliation because what the party is seeking is unity, progress, and peace.
We are preparing, and we are all looking forward to a successful convention, and no human being or spirit can stop it” he had asserted.
Meanwhile, Uyo based legal practitioner who preferred his name not mentioned said he was not surprised over the failed PDP national convention failed. The controversial lawyer, who was reluctant to speak on the matter initially said, ‘’I never supported the idea of the PDP picking Sheriff who is a controversial figure initially.
And the things happening in the PDP now, especially the failed national convention has confirmed my fears.” Worried that with the lingering crisis in the PDP that the party may not be a strong opposition to the ruling APC government adding that formidable opposition is important in every democratic government.
“The opposition always serve as a watchdog, a formidable critic of any democratic government, and we all know the purpose of a watchdog, but in this case, there is the absence of formidable opposition.
The PDP which would have ordinarily served that purpose is having a crack, fragmentation in its leadership and the ruling party APC is capitalizing on the crack and even masterminding the crack”, he said.