Politics of Truth in the Akpabio /Udom Matrix
By Udo Silas
Truth, as the timeworn cliché goes is bitter. Even though not edible, the metaphor conveys an aroma that stings the palate of our consciences. That may be why Othman Dan Fodio said that ‘Conscience is an open wound only truth can heal’.
Stoked somewhere in the syntax and semantics of truth; from the musings of Fodio to the reality of our worldly existence is the scarcity of truth even as it is efficacious for our spiritual and mundane upliftment.
Truth hides even when it is known. Susan Sontag, the Jewish American literary critic, theorist, novelist and filmmaker offers an interesting take to this line of thought. “The truth, she says “ is always something that is told, not something that is known. If there were no speaking or writing, there would be no truth about anything. There would only be what is”.
That may be why Godwill Akpabio chose to say the truth, in his now viral statement supposedly at an interaction with youths of his senatorial district.
“All is not well; don’t allow people to tell you that all is well. All is not well. You have mentioned a hotel in Ikot Ekpene. If it is allowed to rust, is that a good thing? What of the road from Uyo to Ikot Ekpene? At least one lane should have been completed.
“Let me ask; for the 2018 budget, what is the percentage for Ikot Ekpene senatorial district? I don’t have any aspiration to control a state. I had finished my two terms and left. So, my job is to tell the truth; because if at this age I am not telling the truth, automatically, I am not leading you well” Akpabio said.
Akpabio knows the truth. We the people know the truth. But he still needed to say the truth.
But there is always a motive to truth. Why did Akpabio seek to tell this truth about all not being well? Why at this time?
I had expected the Udom team, notably the press release friendly Ekerete Udoh, who has consistently warned ‘agent provocateurs’ against stoking ‘imaginary’ differences between his boss and the minority leader to quickly say something. But he has remained quiet. And that is very strange. But I digress.
It appears Akpabio has been pushed to the wall. If he sounds frustrated, that should be understood. He sacrificed his time-tested political associates and catapulted an unknown quantity.
He bore the angst and waded the storm for a man who never existed in the political calculus of our consciousness. Akpabio burnt the bridges of trust, scorned the company he built over time and took the gambit only he can tell in his strivings to make an unknown his successor. He was the teacher. Udom was the student.
Many have opined the divine in the making of Udom. That may be so. But there is always a human element in the workings of the supernatural. Without an Akpabio, there never would have been a Udom. Perhaps it is this truth that gnaws at Akpabio’s embers. Perhaps it is this pain that stalks his strut.
Some would say it is nemesis. Didn’t Akpabio nullify and indeed probe Victor Attah’s Science Park Project? But Attah did not walk the valley for Akpabio. Attah did not gift his shadow as glue to Akpabio’s emergence. So every sinew in Akpabio’s persona has every right to be angry.
But the politics of Akpabio’s anger is much the same as the truth he speaks. He knows that the upcoming election in the state would be as much a referendum on him as much as it would be a judgment of his so-called prodigy. He was tactful to channel his criticism within the geography of his senatorial district.
But Akpabio knows the Akwa Ibom people would not be that generous. Akpabio knows the Akwa Ibom people would also want to know about other signature projects like the Tropicana and the Specialist hospital.
Udom has said somewhere that he wants to run the Specialist hospital the way a business is supposed to be run. Outside the fact of that statement being an indictment on Akpabio’s understanding of Business school practical, what other message is Udom sending to the Akwa Ibom people?
Akpabio knows the people care less about the continuation of such projects like the spirit filled annual carol night. Akpabio knows the pretense to piety is but a call to his (Akpabio’s) ego. Akpabio knows that the substance of governance is beyond spiritual hahaha garbed as halleluiah loving.
There is a dilemma here. Akpabio knows he is in a cull de sac. What really can he do? He must support the monster he has created. So he must play the politics of both the now and the tomorrow. If he speaks the truth now, then he has an alibi if tomorrow fails.
Surely tomorrow is pregnant. He has confessed ‘we are in opposition, we don’t have government, we don’t have Police, we don’t have INEC’. Udom fixing projects in Ikot ekpene senatorial district does not necessarily translate to electoral victory in the forthcoming elections. But it puts Akpabio in good stead amongst his people. Even at that, it surely does not answer questions of Akpabio’s other legacy projects.
Either way it is a win-win situation for Akpabio.
Forget the solidarity visit paid by Ikot Ekpene senatorial district elders the day after Akpabio spoke his truth. That is the politics.
The optics does not represent the truth. If for anything, it re-enforces the obvious discord. Akpabio has already hit the nail on the head. All is not well, he said. Not some. Not a few. But all.
There may be more that he has not said. But what he has said would suffice for now. It is clear the gloves are off. Suddenly Udom’s henchmen are visiting and robbing Akpabio’s back.
Thanks to Akpabio, Akwa Ibom people now know that ingratitude is not the exclusive preserve of the wicked. It also resides in the gait of the clergy and the chosen.
Can we trust a man who seemingly repays evil for good? Is there truth in a man who callously disregards the well being of his benefactor? Can we believe in a man whose words profess mutual harmony but whose actions speak disdain?
We had always known that someday the truth shall out. May the year 2018 be a referendum for truth. Nothing but the truth.