Senator Akpabio’s uncommon gloating on Governor Udom

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Akpabio uncommon gloating on Udom

Akpabio has uncountable reasons to rejoice in the choice of his successor but his continual gloating on how Emmanuel was discovered enlivens suspicion that he was driven wholly by self interest and that he is disappointed since Emmanuel has proved that qualities of a robot are not running in his veins.

Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio, may not be listed among the world great orators. But anyone that ever listens to him could hardly dispute his having a distinct gift of the gap. Combining this talent with a sizable dose of charisma he often gets through with his audience, including his critics.

In his extempore speeches lack of intellectual and fiery depth is garnished with heartwarming and laughter-tickling humour. Nothing in his antecedent portrays him as being a populist but cashing in on poverty-induced beggarly masses he launches himself to the hearts of many with grandiloquent and enlightened self-interest large-heartedness.

He savours this attributes of his, allowing it to get into his head, causing him to be on overdrive most times, resulting in plundering some inherent finesse qualities of his and damaging interest of causes he purportedly meant to achieve. He created phrase or bring them from obscured position on the pages of dictionaries and then turn them into catch-phrases or clichés overnight. In his second term as governor of Akwa Ibom State, he borrowed a leaf from then President Goodluck Jonathan’s transformation programme. He nicknamed his “uncommon transformation” and succeeded in taking a shine off that of Jonathan.

One of the comments he has been mentioning repeatedly even with juvenile self-adoration revolves around how he brought his successor, Governor Udom Emmanuel, from Lagos to join politics. He was at it again on February 18, 2017 at the investiture of Emmanuel as the patron of Ati Annang, a socio-cultural organization. With his characteristic verbosity, he took the audience through monotonous trip of how he brought Emmanuel from boardroom politics in Zenith Bank in Lagos to partisan politics in Akwa Ibom State.

In apparent show of displeasure to Emmanuel’s friendly-and-no-enemy disposition, he complained of how those that shrugged out with the governor at the last general election have since sheath their sword with the governor, while still holding him and his wife, Unoma, at daggers drawn.
In an event packaged for Emmanuel’s glorification, that comment appears to many as targeting at demeaning and casting aspersion on his successor.

In truth, the emergence of Emmanuel as governor of Akwa Ibom in 2015 was not uncommon even though it happened under the watch of the architect of “uncommon transformation”, it was only following the trend of Lagos based professionals becoming governor on returning to their state of origin.

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So far, there is no denying the point that those returning from Lagos to preside over the affairs of either Akwa Ibom or Cross River have had unique marks on the sand of time. Politicians that came back from Lagos always appear more ready to utilize advantages of national and international platforms offered them in Lagos for optimum exploration in their native land.

Clement Isong, who was the first civilian governor of Cross River State joined politics after retiring and returning home from Lagos, where he was governor of Central Bank of Nigeria for eight years. Decidedly, he remains the most profiled person among the list of governors in both the present day Cross River and Akwa Ibom States.

Isong was sent packing from office in democratic convoluted political conspiracy mounted by what was dubbed “Lagos Group”, spearheaded by the triumvirate of then Senate President Joseph Wayas, Senator Victor Akan and Senator Donald Dick Etiebet. Isong’s successor, Donald Etiebet, also returned from Lagos, where he served as one term senator in the second republic.

The first civilian governor of Akwa Ibom, Akpan Isemin, was executive director with Avery Nigeria Limited, a leading supplier of electronic and mechanical weighing equipments in Lagos before returning to his native State, where he participated in politics and become the governor of the state on the platform of NRC.

In 1999, Victor Attah, who emerged the second civilian governor of the state came from Lagos, where he had had engaging career in architectural industry, which he once served as the national president of Nigerian Institute of Architects. In the build up to 1999 governorship election, he was treated as an alien by home based Akwa Ibomites, including his Ibibio kinsmen. But having got anointed oil from Chief Don Etiebet, who, as one of the founding fathers of the PDP, had the yam and the knife in his hand, Attah was handed the party’s ticket with ease through consensus and he went ahead to win the general election, governing the state for two terms of eight years.

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About nine months to the end of Attah’s first term, Godswill Akpabio was offered a commissionership position, causing him to hurriedly pack his load from Lagos down to Akwa Ibom. He got the political job through instrumentation of Chief Fidelis Etim, a silent benefactor of Attah. Among Lagos returnees that governed Akwa Ibom, Akpabio had the lowest profile before coming into politics in the state.

He was struggling to make ends meet in Lagos. To get a job as Legal Officer at EMIS Telecoms Limited in Lagos he leveraged on Etiebet’s nephews – Aniekan Etiebet of Data Sciences and Samuel Akpan of Akrosamic – who facilitated him access to Etiebet, who with investment in the company secured Akpabio’s likely first paid job.

Attah did not only give him a free hand but planted him on a political nursery pot with potency for required political exposure and structures to ease his transplanting to the Hilltop Mansion. Akpabio’s administration was indeed the first direct beneficiary of Attah’s resource control fight and visionary master plan.

Granted that Akpabio had some altruistic reasons behind Emmanuel’s governorship adventure, one could readily identify some factors behind his going for the former Zenith Bank Executive Director. With sound and untainted career in the banking industry, Emmanuel’s competence and unquestionable tract record was unassailable. There was the belief that Emmanuel fits the bill in view of his global exposure, professionalism, leadership experience and content of character to manage exchequer of a state flowing with milk and honey to the satisfaction of indigenes and resident of the state.

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Also, following trend of power shift, albeit controversially, his coming from the Southern Senatorial District of the state enhanced his salability to sectional sentiment inclined public. His freshness in the political arena and gentlemanly quality launched him to the hearts of many as he was not known to have stepped on any toes.

Notwithstanding his broaden horizon and cosmopolitan outlook, Emmanuel’s refined village identity was attested to by many who identified with him in Lagos. In fact, outside his job and professional dealings, his social interaction was felt more in Qua Iboe Church, congregated largely by Akwa Ibomites. His community services in Lagos had direct and indirect touch on mostly names associated with Akwa Ibom. He had his childhood days in Ukanafun Local Government Area, where his father was residing in his career days as a teacher. He was educated through his pre and post primary education in the state. He married a wife from a royal family in Annang.

Those points factored spectacularly in the 2015 governorship election won by Emmanuel. He is the first elected governor in the state that even his political opponents still have friendly temperament with. The major issue raised against his candidature revolved around fear that he would not be himself but a proxy of Akpabio.

So far, Emmanuel has not lent credence to his critics on that score. Rather, he is exceptional in that he has not been seen antagonizing his predecessor(s) as it common in Nigeria. He rather proves a point that government is a continuum. In addition to coming up with trunk of projects amid glaring impecuniosities he has continued with projects initiated by the previous administrations including paying debts owed contractors yet without ever bothering to draw attention of the public to where the former government started and ended in terms of project funding. He has been silently but painfully servicing debt incurred by his predecessors.

Akpabio has uncountable reasons to rejoice in the choice of his successor but his continual gloating on how Emmanuel was discovered enlivens suspicion that he was driven wholly by self interest and that he is disappointed since Emmanuel has proved that qualities of a robot are not running in his veins.

Great minds do not dissipate energy in blowing trumpet of being benefactor of others only mean minds do, which is why great guys like Etiebet, Etim and Attah have not been belabouring their hearers on how they substantially enhanced emergence of successive governors of Akwa Ibom.

On account of his political trip from being the governor of Akwa Ibom to his current position of Senate Minority Leader of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Akpabio has meteorically moved from meanness to mightiness, he is therefore expected to throw his former self to the winds and clothe himself with garment befitting his present status.

It is also time he realised that his rhetoric on Emmanuel’s Lagos background has since lost rhythm and no longer danceable even among his fans just as it is also nauseating to the informed public.

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Nsikak Ekanem writes from nsikak4media@gmail.com.

 

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