Koko Dan, I met you physically for the first and only time in Jedy’s office in Abuja. We had a useful discussion. My frenemy, Ifere Paul, later publicized your very laudable feat of transforming a thatched hurt to a brand new 3 bedroom apartment in Obudu for an aged widow who couldn’t have children of her own. That caught the crust of my soul. I fell in love with you, though I knew quite well that one act of kindness cannot define a person’s values.
When you floated your campaign to represent our constituency, Obudu/Obanliku/Bekwara Federal Constituency, in the Green Chambers under the APC, Ifere again called me and told me how you wanted to train constituents on computer coding and how you meant well for the future of youths in our constituency. Yet, Ifere is not from our constituency. Me and you later had a discussion on this and kept it in view.
Frankly, my take away from these brief encounters, was that you are not only a considerate and compassionate person who is empathetic to the poor and aged, but that you are also youthful and futuristic in your ideas and will be an ideal rep.
Then came what started like a ruse and later became a viral election day video, criss-crossing several social media groups across the country with relish. The video showed stacks of cash displayed on the table and INEC officials allegedly compromised by Governor Ayade with huge sums of money funneled through the Chief of Staff, Martin Orim and SSA Governor’s office, Ken Aklah, and the so called officials were seen thumb printing ballot papers in Utugwang, Obudu LGA for PDP, while those perpetrating the crime were discussing a purported payment of advance and expectation of a balance.
My first contact with the video, even with my layman’s grasp, was suspicious. I couldn’t imagine that people perpetrating a criminal act will be building evidence against themselves in open camera. So I urged our editors to be patient and investigate the video because of our reputation. Some of your supporters flooded my inbox with allegations that CrossRiverWatch has been bought over by Ayade that is why we were slow with the video. We maintained our cool because I could see the blackmail.
My friends and colleagues in several national media organizations were looking for a credible source from Obudu to confirm the veracity of what they saw in the viral video. I came in handy because I am from there and I am a news man. I kept urging restraint. The DSS then arrested your associate, one Lucky and the theatre began to unfold. Facts started to come out that the video was concocted by you and your people to make it look like PDP had bribed INEC to rig you out.
By then, before an anxious nationwide TV audience waiting for Presidential election results at the national collation center in Abuja, Festus Keyamo SAN, referred to the video as evidence that his party, the APC was rigged out in Cross River north.
And then, you confirmed my fears with your public notice, which I will hereinafter refer to as “Confessional Statement or CS.” In your CS, you apologized for everything but refused to take the guilt. You found it more convenient to shift the blame on your “overzealous supporters” and still referred to yourself as a man of integrity. Integrity right?
I have read your confessional statement several times and each time I read it, I get more upset that you thought all of us are so stupidly overzealous, that we will clap for you for obviously orchestrating a criminal act and still coming out to look for who to blame.
We will return to that but in the main time, sections of the electoral law were breached in that video and I do hope that security agencies will do their job. There are prescribed penalties for deliberate and calculated criminal acts like these.
Some of the questions to ask include:
1. Who provided the stacks of cash that are on display in that video?
2. How did the suspects, some of who are at large, get access to and divert sensitive electoral materials like ballot papers and result sheets?
3. The property where this crime was perpetrated, did Koko Dan and/or his relation who owns it, authorize the use of the place?
4. Who is the youth corper in the video and how is he related to Koko Dan?
Koko, it is bad enough that you deliberately sat down, conspired and concocted a video with the intention to deceive and mislead we your constituents from Obudu/Obanliku/Bekwara in particular and Nigeria in general. It is worse that you still can’t accept the responsibility and feel the blame should be put on some imaginary overzealous supporters. It is even worst that you think that all of us are stupid and will clap for you.
If you had won, you would have become my rep. A rep who cheated to win. And those who cheat to win, will win to cheat. I am happy that you did not win and now wish you never do. But I am not God, who alone gives power so I have no control over that. But if younger politicians, who are coming into the arena anew are not willing to test different strategies but only able to re-enforce the existing malady, then the beautiful ones are not yet born.
Your apology to governor Ayade may have been taken but it cannot race after the length and breadth that the video has gone and the reference upon which it has been made.
This is one moment in which you failed yourself, your admirers, your supporters, your constituency, your political ambition and above all, you failed your God and the Christian faith you profess. Like Lincoln’s son, you should have remembered that it is always far more honorable to fail than to cheat. You should have learnt to gracefully lose, and enjoy winning when you do win.
And you know what?
It is only those who love you that can have the courage to tell you what I just did.
Agba Jalingo is the Editor-In-Chief of CrossRiverWatch and writes from Lagos State.
NB: Opinions expressed in this article are solely attributable to the author, Agba Jalingo and do not in anyway represent the opinion of CrossRiverWatch or any other organization the author works for/with.
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