By ETIM ETIM
If I may repeat it, let me say that I was the first person to publicly alert the public of the gaps in educational credentials of Mr. Umoh Enoh, the PDP governorship candidate in Akwa Ibom State. As soon as he was unveiled as the governor’s preferred aspirant late January, I got a call from a PDP chieftain who told me of Enoh’s problem. But the scandal of his alleged certificate forgery has been compounded by the clumsy manner with which his Team is managing it. Umoh Enoh is facing a classic PR nightmare exacerbated by the sheer unprofessionalism of his Team and he would be lucky to escape it.
In basic crisis management protocol, the rule of thumb in mitigating a crisis is to be honest and be seen to be honest in all your presentations. You must make all the exhibits that buttresses your position public and speak with candor to the public. In fact, any PR textbook teaches us that PR is all about ACTION. Not talking. In this case, Umoh Enoh should have published all his credentials, especially the authentic GEC certificate to prove his innocence, rather than parading persons who claim to be his classmates testifying that he was a student and a senior prefect.
Nobody is doubting that Mr Enoh attended Victory High School, Ikeja and St. Francis School in Eket. Rather, the accusation is that the certificate he sent to INEC and the grades therein are not a true reflection of the one the examination body issued to him. In other words, he is being accused of parading a doctored or forged certificate which is different from what WAEC has.
To prove this accusation wrong and dispel all the insinuations and rumours, Mr Enoh should just publish his GCE Certificate. He should stop asking old classmates to speak for him and tell us that he went to school. That’s bunkum! Just show us the damn certificate you claim to have and save yourself and family further embarrassment.
Another tacky and ill-advised action taken by the Umoh Enoh Team is constantly attacking Akan Okon for going to Court to challenge the alleged forgery. I am surprised that my very good friend and professional colleague, Anietie Usen, has joined the discredit-Akan Okon-bandwagon. They claim that because Akan scored only three votes in the PDP Governorship primary, he should not have gone to Court to challenge the forgery. Mr Umoh Enoh even wondered why Akan, who was his colleague in EXCO should be the one fighting him. Laughable. They are also accusing Akan of launching a smear campaign against Umoh Enoh. Attacking the person instead of providing evidence to counter the allegation is a classic case of incompetent and ineffective response mechanism. It happens all the time, but it never addresses the problem.
First, even if Akan had scored zero votes, he has the right to expose the forgery or any other fraudulent acts. Did Atiku Abubakar and PDP not go to court to challenge President Buhari’s alleged lack of certificate? Did a former Minister of Finance not resign from office when it was proven that she forged exemption NYSC certificate? Did a former Speaker of the House of Representative not resign from office when it was proven that he presented fake certificates?
So, Akan Okon is right in launching this campaign against Enoh’s alleged forgery. I commend him very well for his courage. The fact that both Akan Okon and Umoh Enoh were colleagues in EXCO cannot stop Akan from exposing any misdemeanor committed by Enoh or any of his colleagues. Umoh Enoh has an obligation to prove that he has not forged his certificate. He should not resort to whipping up sentiments.
Second, could this be a smear campaign? I don’t know. It might just be. But what the heck! Politics is full of smears, but the innocent always proves himself right and come out clean. Prof Yemi Osinbajo was accused of being a religious bigot; Umana Umana was accused of many things; Gov. Akpabio was accused of aiding kidnapping when he was governor; President Buhari was accused of parading NEPA Bill as certificate; Gov. Udom Emmanuel was accused of many things when he ran in 2015. The accusations have not dried up. Name any politician who has not suffered any smear campaign or been accused of anything. Even in the US, Hilary Clinton was dubbed ‘’Crooked Hilary’’ by Donald Trump. The US media still believes that she and her husband have been less than honest in the manner the Bill Clinton Foundation is being managed.
Umoh Enoh and his Media Team should therefore stop shedding tears and talking about smear campaign. He should show us the GCE Certificate he has and the grades he got. If he presents a genuine certificate, I can assure him that this scandal will evaporate in three days. But if he goes about defending himself in a rather circuitous way, he can be sure that his accusers will double down on their fight.