Akpabio: When men wear dark goggles
By Osondu Ahirika
Make no mistake about this, I am a great fan of the Senate Minority Leader, Chief Dr Godswill Obot Akpabio CON. Albeit I’m not appeased by that admission, to be reconciled to his latest political volte face.
It’s the most extreme of ironies to see the once revered Apostle of fidelity, who frowned against what he tagged, ‘Tortoise politics’, relapse into acting the role.
It was at the itu/Ibiono Ibom Federal Constituency Tour, in the twilight of his administration in 2013, that then Governor Akpabio, in a damming denunciation, decried the role of a ‘Judas’, in his succession plan. His then Commissioner of Finance, Obong Bassey Albert, who was the prime suspect, was hard done trying to exonerate his image from that blemish. How come, Akpabio elects the indignation of that stigma, with his latest political backflip?
How did we get here? I can’t wait to see Akpabio demystify himself by waving a broom. Too many times, he blew so hot in oratorial flay, of how dirty the broom is. He charged his people to embrace the modern efficacy of vaccum cleaners instead of brooms, which he stressed, are used to sweep pit toilets. I want to see how he receives and flaunts that soiled ‘totem’ from the APC folks.
Seriously though, Let’s deconstruct the Akpabio odyssey.
I) The Genesis
Chief Akpabio is one man whose kernel is cracked by the gods. He has been favoured to have classmates, who have turned out to be great or strategically positioned in Nigeria. One of them is Alhaji Masa’udu Adamu Kazaure, the Executive Secretary, National Board for Technical Education (NBTE). He hails from Kazaure of Kazaure Local Government Area in Jigawa State. Kazaure is a blood relative of President Muhammadu Buhari. This is the man that brokered a relationship between Mr President and Senator Akpabio.
Earlier, as governor, Akpabio through the Kazaure connection had appointed HRH, Alhaji Najib Hussaini Adamu, Emir of Kazaure, the Pro-Chancellor of Akwa Ibom State University, Ikot Akpaden, Mkpat Enin Local Government Area.
Akpabio never believed President Goodluck Jonathan would lose the 2015 election to Buhari. It was the greatest blow to his political schemes. Having lost out, he began to work on Plan B, which is, warm his way into the corridors of Buhari’s inner circle. Up until now, that relationship has expanded to a cozy romance with the powerful boss of the Directorate of State Security, Alhaji Mamman Daura, who is Kazaure’s uncle and the erstwhile Acting Chairman of INEC, Mrs Amina Zakari, Kazaure’s aunt and all of them related to Buhari. In the current stanza of this game of thrones, Kazaure gladly became the bridge, the fruit which will be harvested by his impending defection.
2) Karma is 69
Is it payback time? Are the chickens coming home to roost? Shortly after being elected Senator in 2015, Governor Akpabio received an August visitor albeit shrouded in secrecy. A private jet flew in former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar and Akpabio was his host. The discussion was about the the Post Jonathan Era under incoming President Buhari. Part of the deals struck was the structure of the next Senate.
Akpabio was largely the game changer who cobbled together the Senator Bukola Saraki Presidency. It has proven to be effective in containing the foretold excesses of a Buhari led executive. But, after such brilliant sagacity as the main actor behind the scenes in the Senate’s power coalition, Akpabio has ditched his allies, just when all their constructions crystallized and Senator Saraki and Co defected. Did he just play Judas? No! Absolutely a no! No!
Back in 2013, Saraki spearheaded the contraption that busted Akpabio’s sail as then pioneer Chairman of the PDP Governor’s Forum and Man Friday of President Jonathan’s camp and second term project.
On November 26, 2013, Saraki encouraged his political godson and Kwara Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed to defect, alongside four other Governor’s from the PDP club under Akpabio’s watch to APC.
Later, he led 10 other Senators to dump the PDP for APC, while 37 members of the Federal House of Representatives also jumped ship in the gale of defections that crippled the PDP armada leading to it crushing defeat in the 2015 General elections.
Saraki is now going to have a taste of his vinegar, as Akpabio steals the thunder from him and his political cruise. Kazaure has done the yeoman’s job and the perfect time to have Akpabio on the other side is now.
On the other hand, Akpabio never gave his predecessor and former boss a breathing space for the eight years he reigned. Strange to the immutable precepts of retributive justice, Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel has kept faith with Akpabio, even against the most serious breaches of protocol, infractions and subtle provocations. But karma has a way of making us pawns of its wheel of justice. So Akpabio has fired the first shot. He is the one that has declared war in peacetime. What comes as a backlash will avenge for the humiliation and tears of Obong Attah.
3) History repeating itself?
When Dr Clement Isong, an Ibibio son of Onna extraction was governor of erstwhile Cross River State, then Senate President, Dr Joseph Wayas, worked with some Ibibio fifth columnists and other minority tribes to undermine and eventually prevent Dr Isong from winning a second term. It led to the maxim of describing the Ibibios as an ineffective majority. Is Dr Akpabio from the minority Annang tribe, fashioning a similar dalliance, to upstage the majority Ibibio son again? Is it true that Akpabio is annoyed that Ibibios are taking charge in Udom’s government to the detriment of his people? I, however, won’t like to play that ethnic card.
Akpabio alone cannot give the Annangs a bad name. As at Press time, some critical stakeholders in his bloc have dissociated themselves from the move. Time will tell if he is on his own as a lone wolf on a hunt, which is unusual.
4) is the Great Akpabio family the owner of Akwa Ibom State?
The great Akpabio family are interwoven with the political evolution of Akwa Ibom State. The late patriarch of that clan, Chief Ibanga Akpabio the late Premier of the South East region seems to have fully reincarnated in Chief Godswill Akpabio. In nearly a decade, Akpabio has bestrode the political circus of the State like a colossus. He has been the unseen clearing house in the state. He has been the sole manipulator in chief of the political sweepstakes in the state. Finally, with all that has been allotted to the Akpabio family by a grateful Governor Emmanuel, will Akpabio manipulate himself out of relevance? I never knew a day will come, 8 out of every 10 Akwa Ibom person will celebrate that, the yoke of an Akpabio dynasty is about to be lifted from off their necks. Let me watch and see how Akpabio alone can direct the fortunes of the State as he reportedly schemes to impose his choice, as governor over the state to continue his dominion.
5) Who is on the Lords side
I hear my brother Edidiong Udobia rightly say, the biggest test of loyalty is about to confront the gamut of politicians across the State. Some are reportedly set to follow Akpabio to APC. Others have stuck to integrity and vowed to stand by Udom Emmanuel to the very end. We shall see who is Peter when the cock crows three times. But, it is time to know, who is on who’s side. The sheep will be separated for the wolves and it is better for both gladiators, Udom Emmanuel and Akpabio.
6) PDP’s gain or APCs loss?
On Saturday August 3rd, Engr Ita Awak speaking during a radio interview on Inspiration FM on the looming defection ofAkpabio to his party, APC, said,
“The fellow called Godswill Akpabio is a Trojan horse gift to APC. He is a disruptive character. Everywhere he goes to, he causes disruption.”
The APC family must brace up for the mercurial brand of Akpabio’s power Play. It will be truly disruptive.
But on the flip side, imagine from Ita Awak’s disdainful retort, what awaits His Excellency, Distinguished Senator, Chief Dr. Godswill Obot Akpabio CON, if eventually, his rumored defection to the APC happens.
I’m waiting to see how he struggles for relevance in the new party. I’m waiting to see how his erstwhile Deputy, Mr Nsima Ekere and Secretary to the State Government, Obong Umanah Okon Umanah will admit him. I’m waiting to see the reception he gets from Senator John James Akpan-Udoedeghe and Chief Don Etiebet. These folks will either have to cut him to size or he prunes their political talons.
I’m waiting to see how he will stomach this humiliating showdown against the man who is apprised to a winner-takes-it-all game. They are already making jest of a legend, unhorsing and undressing him even before the main event. Sad!
Does Akpabio see the future clearly. He retired many from politics, is it time for them to retire him? Before this bear hug unfurls it’s serpentine venom, Senator Akpabio should remember, those who joined APC earlier are coming back with empty stomach.
God forbid they succeed in castrating this great strategist! I know he is smarter than accepting this poisoned chalice.
No matter the alleged threats he is confronted with, he should be consoled, a living dog is better than a dead Lion.
7). Behind the dark goggles
According to William Shakespeare, you cannot read the mind’s construction on the face. But, if you ask psychologists, they will tell you a man’s eyes sometimes gives clues to the bitterness or warmth of his heart. So Julius Caeser looked upon the Visage of Cassius and said, ‘Cassius has a gaunt and hungry look, such men are dangerous’. He was absolutely right.
Watch politicians and rivals when they hug in public and avoid eye contact, it tells a story.
Sometimes, when the lens of the camera catches them eyeing their opponents, you will see the venom in their souls. To avoid that, people wear dark goggles. Folks, when you see your friend, boss or colleague in the work place begin to wear dark goggles when they are with you, you don’t need a soothsayer to tell you something is amiss. Senator Akpabio suddenly started wearing goggles in some public outings and today, I can see clearly
8).The Parable of the flutist
As I sign off on this rather long epistle, for which I apologize, let me remind Akpabio of the tale of the very versatile flutist who used to entertain the King. One day, he decided to play the hard-to-catch game and refused every entreaty to come and play for the King’s pleasure.
While he was headstrong, another little boy showed up and offered to play for the king. Alas, he was more talented in the art of making melody with the flute. He was quickly employed to replace the old.
Rather than weep on the loss of Akpabio, we have to move on. Let a new flutist emerge from the shadows and let a new melody commence. As the scripture says, Akpabio’s place in the orchestra of Governor Udom Emmanuel and the PDP, let another take.
Is the Akpabio legend about to bow to the force of political gravity, or is he, like the Phoenix about to reinvent himself and renew his mystique?