President Bola Tinubu (middle) flanked by Senator Ahmed Lawan, President of the 9th Senate and Senator Godswill Akpabio.
“Our present nightmare existence, noted as it is for its tragedies of hatred and disunity must give way to a new mode of life in which we will all live and work with one another in a spirit of love and unity for the common good of our people. It is felt that there is a crucial period in the history of every people when, like Lot’s wife, they have the choice of going forward with God or looking back and becoming petrified forever. Our immediate past consists of dissensions and error, and perpetual retrospective glances at it will surely lead to our extinction” – Vincent Uwemedimo, Member, Ibibio State Union, in a letter to Dr. Egbert Udo Udoma, 14th February, 1961.
By Substance Udo-Nature
I recommend without pity that a coalition of high profile Nigerian Security agencies, FBI, and CIA immediately place Sen. Godswill Obot Akpabio under house arrest, until they shall have completed a thorough search of all his houses anywhere.
I suspect him to have under his bed a most sophisticated telescope and a million-eye hitec compass he secretly must have invented without proper documentation and licensing, which he uses to see far ahead his contemporaries and beyond the tall mountains of unseen times, such that he is always able to navigate his way through the tossing waves on the turbulent ocean of Nigerian politics to fine shores. I however plead that the instruments not be destroyed but trademarked as specimens of ingenuity and survivilism in political battles.
Everything falling in place, Senator Godswill Obot Akpabio stands a good chance of becoming the next President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the 10th Assembly.
On Wednesday, August 8, 2018, Akpabio was in the eye of the storm when he snubbed the PDP and defected to the APC. Pundits were quick to describe the step as a political summersault; equivalent of “digging his political grave”. Barr. Barrister Emmanuel Enoidem, then PDP National Legal Adviser, was one of such. In an interview in Vanguard, February 9, 2019, with the caption: “Under Pressure, Akpabio Was Desperate to Betray His PDP Legacy”, Enoidem, a political adventurist, said Akpabio “abandoned the role of opposition leadership in Nigeria and had no explanation to give for leaving PDP”.
Former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, who shamelessly sooner ate his own vomit in public on joining the APC, deployed innuendoes when he prayed: “May God guide my friend and brother Godswill Akpabio and may He open his eyes and cause him to appreciate the folly of his own actions and the very grave consequences of the monumental mistake he has made”.
Akpabio was unruffled. Speaking on “Roadmap 2019”, a political programme on Channels Television, he retorted: “There was need for me to take my people back to the centre… So, it was a personal decision, a generational decision, a futuristic decision”. Analysts said Akpabio’s defection boomeranged and played the spoiler in the crash of his dream for a consecutive second term in the Senate in 2019. But in his typical swag and prognosis, Akpabio dismissed it as “a temporary setback”.
Now that Akpabio has not only returned to the same Senate but is eyeing the loftiest crown, shall we say this is the present in the future he saw in the past, that made him took some unpopular decisions and did certain things without any apologies?
Reaching this point in his political odyssey can be no mean feat but conspires with Akpabio’s past to further confirm him as a man who saw tomorrow, a cat of many lives, a resilient politician of dynamic capacity, a diehard realist, and a chronic believer in possibilities. Because his sojourn has been an open book to writers like this writer, it would be no exaggeration to state that Akpabio has crossed many rivers and valleys, yet holding his dreams and convictions very tight to his chest.
Hence, in spite of sentiments or wishes, from any angle one mightn’t choose to look, Akpabio’s potential emergence as Senate President shall go beyond his personal attainment on the ladder of national politics. It will be a big score for the corporate identity of Akwa Ibom State in leadership discourse of the country. After all, he will still be carrying Akwa Ibom burden on his shoulders sitting on the Senate’s exclusive stool.
Why then should this be a thorn on the flesh of some Akwa Ibom persons? This query is necessitated by allegations that some persons from Akwa Ibom State were working relentlessly underground in conspiracy with outsiders to possibly thwart the possibility of Senator Godswill Akpabio’s ambition.
Although this cannot be altogether strange or surprising by historical reductivism, it’s pertinent to still ask, for what purpose may they be doing this? Are they themselves going to the Senate and in their cynical illusion more qualified than the man of the moment to whom history seductively beckons?
Revisionists still hold that the man who moved the uppercut motion for the terminal impeachment of late “Professor” Eyo Ita, Leader of Government and Business in the Eastern House of Assembly in 1953, who stood a chance to have become Premier of Eastern Region, was his own blood brother. That infamous fratricidal conspiracy subsequently led to the emergence of Michael Opara as Premier of Eastern Region, successor to Nnamdi Asikiwe, who purportedly bankrolled the palace coup.
If this history is too remote to matter, here is a fresh reference in contemporary times that continues to ridicule our collective psychology: When it became obvious that former President Muhammadu Buhari had pencilled Akpabio for appointment, a group that claimed affinity with the Akwa Ibom APC, the Ibom Integrity & Servant Leadership Culture Initiative, had immediately written a letter to the President, dated May 24, 2019, entitled: “Ministerial Appointment: Why Appointing Akpabio May Be Counter Productive”, wherein it advised the president:
“Be guided by the fact that…the people of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial zone, in their wisdom, considering what they know about their son, have instructively, openly rejected Akpabio as their representative at the federal level,” Then APC National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole; Secretary to Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha; and Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari were all copied.
Let’s now return to the lead question: What do those from Akwa Ibom purportedly seeking Akpabio’s failure in the race to the Senate Presidency really stand to gain, now or afterwards? Contrariwise, Akpabio’s co-contenders for the seat are receiving over-does of inspiration and prayers from stakeholders in their different States, irrespective of whatever old scores there were to settle?
While I cannot hurry to adorn Akpabio in a stainless gown and garlands of clean politics, being the Maradona he is in this matter, I do the work of a commentator and find protection in common brotherhood and the doctrine of necessity to impeach the motives of every faceless and known traitor and saboteur plotting against him in the present circumstances.
It is a sad commentary that, for the most ridiculous justifications, there is nothing except the good some Akwa Ibom politicians cannot do in their moments of madness and dementia. This cyclical repetition of the crab syndrome is what would make critics see Akwa Ibom “as an atomistic society constantly at war with itself”. This mischievous percentage of the Akwa Ibom body politic, the linear family, is what all should pray to lose, figuratively so, if Akpabio becomes Senate President.
A political climatologist; clairvoyant interpreter of political seasons who does not dwell on flashy failure to lose steam or eye in the future; charismatic in nature and pragmatic in strategy, an enigma predictably unpredictable – that’s the man – former commissioner, former governor, former minister, former senator, incumbent senator, Rt. Hon. Senator Godswill Obot Akpabio CON, who knows best when to steal the thunder and make banner headlines!