“Don’t do violence in my name. Don’t be caught in any form of election crime in the name of supporting Onofiok Luke. I will disown you. It would have been a different thing if I didn’t tell you. You’ve heard from me now.
“I deny myself certain benefits and luxury or competition with my contemporaries because I need the money to be seen in my constituency, my constituents and Akwa Ibom people in general. I do that because I believe in the people and the strength of their power as electorates. If I believed in forceful or bought election, I would have been one of the richest politicians around by now”.
That was MP Onofiok Luke on October 25, 2018 while addressing beneficiaries of community projects he executed within his constituency. He was addressing a selection, yet passing a message, as strong as it was, to his constituents, and with emphasis (according to him) on the youths.
Someone once said it confuses him which generation Onofiok Luke belongs. The older or younger generation. I smiled because while I understood his confusion, I couldn’t figure how to make him understand the lot of stress it takes for the man to reflect different generations at the same time. Man spends quality time (enough to see “everything”) on social media, yet not an addict. Fate was gracious to man, leading him to the top early enough.
But rather than settle in the top class with the complacency that characterizes one who has arrived, man is still mindful of the younger generation and feels he must not act in a way that will close their chances. Put differently, if it may come out clearly, rather than yield to self-approbation and laxity like one at his stage of arrival, man in his acts appears still struggling like one downwardly far from his present stage.
In a saner clime, calling or cautioning against electoral violence should not make headlines, but with Nigeria in mind, the case is different. Hence, the sound of good impression when an average individual actor in the Nigerian polity exudes confidence that he has done fairly well to win the trust of the electorates, and so has no need joining the predominant practice of mobilizing all forces, legal and illegal to force the balloting in his favour.
So just like his recently expressed stance against the violent approach taken by Nigerian youths in seeking justice and reform, and at the same time, justifying their quest for a change in the positive, for Luke, the youths and electorates mean more than mere (volunteered or subjected) tools for use in the making of electoral ambitions and the success of same. He believes they should be part of governance after election as well as benefit fairly from the products of governance.
This explains why his style of preparation for the next election is by investing all his focus towards delivering in whatever mandate the previous election handed him. His focus stays on what governance can build for the next generation, rather than how much wealth the current political opportunity can provide him in preparation for the next election. For him, the next election will fix itself by presenting scales for characters and scorecards to be weighed. And when that happens, he is sure to come out confidently like a brilliant student who can predict his grades before the examiner’s publication.
Ubong Sampson (08021419939) writes from Ata Idung Minya, Mkpat Enin LGA.