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Akpabio’s uncommon situation



Akpabio’s uncommon situation

Ambition drives you on, ability certainly helps, but the fickle finger of fate and luck are great things. – Fergus Henderson


A Rwandan community worker helping to combat HIV/AIDs through education and counselling, Bangambiki Habyarimana was asked about politics and he said “in politics, what you see is what you get”. What is going on in our polity today is by all standard bizarre, but that is what we are seeing and getting as well.


The minority leader in the Senate, Godswill Akpabio resigns, dumps his party and schemes to be installed through any means as the Senate President as a ruling party member. Strange isn’t it? Is Akpabio clinically insane? There is no evidence to support it, is he politically sane? What is going on around him does not also support his sanity but like Davy Crockett wrote: “It is quite possible that someone is insane and they think they have a chance. Not insane in the clinical sense, but they may have such a strong political ambition that they blind themselves to reality.”



It’s perhaps also the reason an English politician Alan Clark had to say long ago that “there are no true friends in politics. We are all sharks circulating, and waiting, for traces of blood to appear in the water.” Friendships and family relationship appear too precious to throw away for transient reasons, but that exactly is what politicians do. They throw away hard earned friendship and embrace interests hiding under the cover that there is no permanent friend in politics but permanent interests.


Everything points to the fact that in our polity principles are found at the back seat, what takes the front roll is self-preservation. Anybody desiring to look for principles among Nigerian politicians should ask the man who go a-fishing in the desert if he was able to catch any fish.


As you read this, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is romancing with its new lover, PDP’s minority leader in the Senate and an uncommon PDP governor of Akwa Ibom State for eight years, Godswill Akpabio to record an uncommon defection into the party.


The ruling party thought they needed this to alleviate the effect of high profile mass defections from their fold, 15 senators including the Senate President, three state governors and their assembly members and 37 members of the House of Representatives, a serving ambassador and the party’s spokesman and a member of the party’s National Working Committee (NWC) of the party, the deputy governor of Kano State and still counting.


Why should a seasoned politician of Senator Akpabio’s standing want to go against the tide? Why has he chosen opposite direction movement at this time in his political career? The official reason for Akpabio’s defection is the disagreement with his successor, Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State, but we have since realized that there are other undercurrents that border on survival and ambition.


As Senator Akpabio carries microphone to shout APC-change holding broom in one hand, his heart certainly would be bleeding because this cannot be what he really desired. The gods of Akwa Ibom politics would be watching and smiling knowing the battle he went through to be governor and to be able to install his successor and now with his eyes wide open walking into the den of those who used every available means to destroy him.


On the surface it looks as if APC has caught a big fish ahead of 2019, but truth is that a prosecutor who converts an armed robber into a prosecution witness with a view to freeing him and getting his other suspect entangled has actually not solved any problem to the society. If it is true that Senator Akpabio is acting under duress and being blackmailed, political watchers are wondering how the situation would help the ruling party in their anti-corruption crusade.


There are so many reasons why Godswill Akpabio would be a sad man today, what is ensuing is probably not God’s will in his life nor is it really his own will. As a result, what he needs is pity not attack.


History is a witness that this type of political movement marks the downward journey to political oblivion of the characters involved and this is not going to be an exception. It’s always curious when a man decides to walk in opposite direction when he watches all others including his long standing associates going the other way, just know that there may be more to it than meets the eye.


Perhaps the most intriguing in the all Akpabio saga is the way the APC is treating him like a Tom boy. The Presidency now speaks for him. Presidential Assistant on Prosecution and Asset Recovery, Okio Obono-Obla, was the first to announce the defection for him. Put one and two together you will find out why he is the one to have the privilege information. He may have been around when the final blackmail agreement was arranged and concluded.


Then came Senator Ita Enag, National Assembly person for the President. And now an arranged meeting with the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osibajo, at the Villa at a time his party was holding National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting for which he was a strategic member and had excused himself that he was traveling abroad. Aso Villa suddenly turned out to be abroad.


After that, they still took him to report himself to the Bourdilion strong man in Lagos where they arranged some photo show. To further prove to him that he is perhaps a political captive who is not in control of his itinerary, he was again sent to London to see the ‘King’ himself. The photographer ensured that the images he sent out and made viral were the one portraying the once ebullient politician as a subdued man, captured in a battle and brought before the Commander.


Again he returned to report back to Bourdilion for final strategy. In all these scheming, the APC in Akwa Ibom were watching just like the rest of Nigerians. Not even Akpabio’s fiercest political enemy in Akwa Ibom State, Senator John Akpan Udoedehe was briefed of the development but he still welcomed it knowing that his great opponent has now been surmounted. Recall that Senator Udoedehe was charged for murder by Akpabio’s administration a fallout of the gubernatorial battle of the duo but he was discharged by the court.


In 2019, Udoedehe is still in the race possibly to fly APC flag and Akpabio is expected to lead APC campaign telling Akwa Ibomite to jettison PDP and embrace APC, to throw away Governor Udom for APC candidate. Understandably, the PDP is feeling hurt and betrayed not that Akpabio’s exit will affect their electoral fortunes in Akwa Íbom but because the party had bent backward much for him. As a fresh Senator the party broke the ranking rules and installed him as the minority leader just to give his status a meaning in the red chamber.



Even when he brought the issue of strained relationship with his governor, the party leadership reportedly still arm-twisted the governor to do everything to satisfy him and he did. It is for this type of great betrayal that made American novelist Caleb Carr to say that: “You want to believe that there’s one relationship in life that’s beyond betrayal. A relationship that’s beyond that kind of hurt. And there isn’t.”


And in truth no relationship is beyond betrayal otherwise Judas Iscariot who was not just made an apostle by Jesus but was entrusted with the finances of his ministry on earth should have been the last person to betray him. Senator Akpabio’s case is one proof that demonstrates the desperation of the ruling APC that it wants to hang on to power beyond 2019.


But unknown to them this incidence has done a deadly blow to the anti-corruption fight of the administration and put Akpabio in the most dangerous aspect of his political career, making him an agent of division not just nationally but back home where his action is establishing a divide between the Ibibios and the Anangs, a development that is rubbishing his eloquent and laudable record that made him an uncommon politician. But what we see now is an uncommon man in an uncommon situation. God help our democracy.

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