Thursday, 5 March 2015

…the folly of UGE campaign’s slogans

…the folly of UGE campaign’s slogans

If the inscriptions on majority of Udom  Emmanuel’s campaign billboards, stickers and posters are mirror to the mindset of the candidate, one could wager, and strongly so, that either the embattled Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate is a devout coupon player, or his supporters are heavy gamblers.

Campaign posters of a contender, ought to capture one central positioning statement or if you would, a theme that should rivetingly resonate on the minds of the electorates and consequently move them to acting in line with the intent of the originator of such message – massively vote for such an aspirant. 

It should, in a nutshell, showcase the manifesto, inert belief, the thought pattern of the candidate about the job he is angling for, and of course, depict his true personality in a way. 

Goals, objectives and the mission statements are usually embedded in campaign materials. It is common practice for experienced political office holders to employ the services of professionals to assist in task of crafting the messages in their posters, billboards, stickers among others. This they do for chiefly two reasons; first, to offer a professional stamp to the messages they are sending out and Second, due to the demanding nature of the job of some of these politicians. 

Anyone who makes even a cursory appraisal of most of the PDP campaign materials in the state is wont to hold the firm position that the PDP gubernatorial candidate, Mr. Udom Emmanuel was only pushed out to the public domain unprepared. 

To wit, if a visitor where to come into Akwa Ibom state and the premise in which he could base his choice of all the people that have aspired to govern Akwa Ibom state, is on campaign materials, chances are that Udom Emmanuel will not even make the acceptability list of such a visitor. This is because, Udom Emmanuel campaign materials has no message. All one gets is just a picture and some badly cobbled bland words that do not make sense.
For instance, Obong Nsima Ekere in his billboards inscribed, ‘Together, we prosper’ ‘From Good to great’. This literary means that, if an eligible voter votes for him, he will in turn, move the state from good to great, and also ensure that everybody prosper. A lot of people can relate to these visionary themes. Such slogans portray wisdom, if I must add.

Barr. Ekpenyong Ntekim, carved, ‘Together, we can’ as his campaign motto, Obong Umana Okon Umana (UOU) before he left PDP to APC, identified his campaign mantra as ‘Umbrella of Unity’. Other aspirants wrote, ‘let the transformation continue’ et al. A critique of all these aforementioned slogans show that they all have powerful central messages that have the capability of tilting the support of the electorates to the favour of the candidate touting these messages.

Sadly, this can never be said of Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, his campaign tags, most times, leaves electorates, more confused. I was shocked, when I saw a large Billboard, along Oron Road, by four lane, with bold inscription ‘UDOM ABRE 31/31’. Chei! Folks, this is a coded language for coupon players, which tell them that, they are ‘31 draws’ in a league- Australian or England. It is very disappointing, to say the least, for anyone to drag such a slimy, and pretend slogan into a decisive game that will determine what becomes of the collective destiny of over 4 million Akwa Ibom indigenes. This slogan speaks volume to thinkers. Whoever, brought such coded language into politics, is indirectly informing the populace that, Udom will gamble with the destinies of the electorates. 

The little I have heard about the game of coupon is that it is one of the unpredictable means of trying to accumulate wealth. Stories abound of people who have become paupers as a result of their devotion to the economic game of coupon. And why is this so? 

Those who are diehards of coupon will tell you that it is even easier for a cock to lay egg than for a ‘game’ (list of numbers given to you on which you stake your money on) given to you with ‘prophetic’ or sorceric assurances to translate to winning. For the game of coupon, the default programming of the mindset of enthusiasts is “Never expect anything good out of your stake until you see the list of draws” 

Udom abre 31/31 is coupon slang, nothing more, nothing less. I wouldn’t know, if Udom is a coupon player, but, the bible says that, out of the abundance of heart, the mouth speaketh. English adage states, ‘Two cannot work together unless they both agree’. Therefore, if Udom is not a gambler, why should, his supporters, inscribe such mantra in his campaign billboards? This is a question, clergies are asking God for divine unction to answer.

For Udom to have allowed such coupon slang to stroll into public domain, as his slogan, it speaks volume of his personality. How can a politician play 31/31? Is it like obodom or ntakrok? What inspired Udom to have accepted such slogan? Was the slogan imposed on him by the emperors? Was it as a result of the power of sekem? Did he examine the reaction of people towards such coupon coded language? These are unique questions Udom should have attempted before endorsing the hoisting of that billboard. 

You could affirm that, no one can be accepted by all, even Jesus Christ was not accepted by everybody that was why he said, that a prophet is not without respect, except in his home. So, this slogan is not about acceptability as gullible supporters claim, because, Udom cannot be accepted by all the thirty one local government areas. Even in his programmed governorship primary, he did not win in all the local Government areas, the Leader of Excellence, Rt. Hon. Okpolupm Etteh, won him in Ibeno with 25-15 margin. Thus, if one align such slogan with acceptability, it tantamount to fallacy of ad argumentum ignoranium. 

‘Udom is Right’ is another baseless slogan I have noticed in Udom’s campaign materials. It negates the reason why people should vote for Udom, rather, it draws suspicion, complexity, timidity and inferiority complex, which ought not to be so, especially in a democratic setting like ours. 

Logically, if Udom is right, then, every other people are wrong. So why vote for someone who will not listen to your advice and submissions simply because he is acclaimed to be right? On the other hand, can every right produces right result? What of God, a perfect creator, who produces such an imperfect world? Thus, this slogan, to me, is useless, because, it connotes that, if Udom is right, perpetually, he will not take any instructions from common men, who are extremely wrong, based on the connotative meaning of the inscription. Also, there is no guarantee, that any right attitude or thing will always produce the right result; a case study is God, who is religiously known as perfect being, but create an imperfect world laced with sickness, poverty and other vices.

I have observed that, this slogan, has only succeeded in making Udom Emmanuel feels like a divine being. Recently, he bragged that, his exit in the banking industry created a vacuum which no banker from Akwa Ibom and Cross River can fill. Sometimes ago, he boasted that, through his appointment as secretary to the state government, the state is already witnessing foreign presence in its economy. Bet me, very soon, if he emerges victorious at the incoming poll, he will swank that, he is the best governor the whole country has ever had. We are watching this ‘Supernatural being’, with supernatural talents and powers.

The cocky attitude of UGE, clearly shows that, peradventure, if he wins the April 14 governorship election, Akwa Ibom people will be subjected to a bi-polar kind of relationship with him. He won’t listen to advice, adhere to request, nor have a face-to-face discussion with us, simply because he is right. Also, our mode of interacting with him will be, through prayer, revelation, dream, vision and incantation, because, he is a supernatural being.    
There is one that they say, ‘UDOM DESERVES OUR MANDATE, EDIAN UBOK’. I want to believe that, the progenitor of this mantra, was carried away by the two afore-examined slogans, and thereafter submitted that, If Udom has played 31/31 in such a league, and he is also right, then, he should deserve their mandate. Period!

It appears a good refrain, but the reason(s) why Udom should deserve their mandate is not stated for one to examine, if truly he does. Rather than doing that, the group added ‘Edian Ubok’. You see, edian ubok, is ambiguous word in Ibibio Language, which becomes a call for people to pilfer, it also depict involvement, depending on the stressed syllable. Unfortunately, the owner of this billboard didn’t stress any syllable, thus, I became more confused. Whether the ‘additional slogan’- edian ubok, was a call to involve or pilfer.
There are several other coupon induced campaign slogans, such as; The Right Deal, The done deal, the sure bet, the 2015 bet, et al. I don’t intend to delve into such for want of space, but, psychologically, it is possible, that, these coupon vocabularies, now, UGE’s campaign slogan, towed the line of Udom Abre 31/31.

Before I ventured into this write-up, I put a call across to my colleague in then Federal Polytechnic Oko, Comrade Emmanuel Appolos, who is now, with the PDP governorship candidate in Abia State, Okezie Ikpeazu PHD. I observed from our conversation that their slogans are more educative, inspiring and compromising. Do you know that, they adopt Igbo based slogan, just to make the natives have a sense of belonging? Their English campaign tags, such as ‘Together we can’, ‘Unity and Progress’, ‘For the greatness of Abians’ have reverberated to a larger extent and has created indelible marks in the heart of electorates. Other PDP candidates across the country are also trying in this direction, exception of Udom, who leaves electorates muddled and withdrawn.

In majority of the local government areas Udom has visited during the just concluded rallies, I watched with dismay, that, he did not make any tangible promise. In Oruk Anam, he drew a clutched desperately to his status as in-law in the local government, which left me wondering if that was a campaign promise. In Onna, he did not make any promises, he only cajoled the crowd and left. Maybe he knew that Bishop Samuel Akpan was in charge. In Essien Udim, Unoma Akpabio misfired, In Nsit Ibom, Idongesit Nkanga was booed among other campaign misfortunes that marred the trail.

As a result of this, his even more confused online supporters had no other option, than to litter the cyberspace with pictures of rented people at the rally accompanied with bland and pedestrian messages  as the ‘strength’ of Udom Gabriel Emmanuel. And I ask, ‘Will all the people in the rented crowd vote for Udom Emmanuel?

To be candid, Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, from his credentials has the wherewithal to contest. Yes, I give it to him in that direction. My grievance with him is that, his modus operandi in the political circle doesn’t depict someone that has the interest of the people at heart. How can he leave a local government without making a candid and realizable promise and expect votes from such electorates? 

Udom, though, devoid of any political antecedent, tangible community development and youth empowerment, records shows that, he has clean academic record and up-to-date experience that can better the lot of the populace, if elected as the governor of this state.

The National and State leadership of Peoples Democratic Party, within its 15 years in existence, has performed creditably well in terms of telecommunication service, good roads, electricity, portable water, railway roads, human and infrastructural development, capacity building among other achievements. Such feats can only be attributed to the leadership of PDP, because they have piloted the affairs of this country and state. By extension, one may attribute those achievements as culture of PDP, and go ahead, to pronounce that, whoever, emerges under this platform, is bound to abide by the embedded tradition and culture of the party.

At the moment, research shows that, PDP gubernatorial candidate nationwide ranges between 35 and 60 years. Pundits believe that, such age is ripe for leadership positions as they will not suffer from senility.  These are some of the edges; PDP has over other political parties. 

At this level, I expected Udom gullible supporters to educate me on this line, or any other reasoning, that could lead to a logical conclusion. Unfortunately, they have diverted their interest to abusing GMB, UOU and snapping rented crowd. May God help us!

 I had expected to hear what we, the electorates, should expect, if Udom were to be elected as Governor.

I expected Udom and his handlers to educate me on how PDP intends to unite the people of Oro and Annang tribes who are gradually nurturing enmity due to abolition of tripod agreement.

I expected to hear, Udom’s position regarding G22. What will be the fate of other contenders, if he eventually wins? Akpabio integrated his co-contenders such as Obong Nsima Ekere in his government, and settled all others except Udoma Bob Ekarika, who refused to be settled. Will Udom abide by Winners take all syndromes? Or will he co-opt his fellow brothers, especially G22? I expected to be educated on these.  Instead of briefing me, Udom’s Supporters are busy, boasting, how Obong Paul Ekpo, Idongesit Nkanga and Senator Effiong Bob will be the next minister.

They are bragging how Udom’s wife will produce the next chairman and public office holders from Oruk Anam local government area, and how Mrs. Etim Okpoyo, will be the next SSG.

They are busy showcasing campaign slogans that lack the ingredients to convince me to surrender my vote for Udom. What is Udom abre 31/31? What is Udom is right? What is Udom deserves our mandates? 

All of these have only achieved one purpose – staying up as a banner for the world to see the emptiness and folly that is driving the candidate which some cabal is desperately trying to foist on over 4 million Akwa Ibom people!

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