"If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything."
---Mark Twain(1835 - 1910)
No doubt, the incumbent Governor of Akwa ibom state, Mr Godswill Obot Akpabio is a controversial political figure. He has been in the public discuss lately for issues ranging from His "benevolent" car gift to a popular Musician to publicly confessing to "rigging" an election to favor one (un)distinguished Senator Aloysuis Etuk; who is currently representing Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District.
Mr Akpabio made the reckless "confession" when a delegation of the National Good Governance Tour(GGT) led my the Information Minister, Mr Labaran Maku visited the state on March 9 2013.
During the ever controversial GGT which recently led to the slamming of two Million Naira fine on the popular Liberty Radio FM Kaduna, for airing a phone call from someone who objected to the planned visit of the Minister of Information to the state. The caller suggested that the governor of Kaduna State spend the N150 million it cost to host the Minister’s so-called Good Governance Tour on more meaningful things.
As is always the case, during the GGT Mr Maku and His host; Mr Akpabio had to prove to Nigerians the essence of the shambles. When Mr Akpabio was confronted with a question of criminal negligence of the people of Ini and Ikono, especially in the area of roads, schools and other public infrastructure.
He responded thus:
"The people of Ikono and Ini (Local Government Areas) from 1960 have never produced a Senator.
"I used my own hand to strike out the name of the person who has won before, and I said it is important for me to give that region a Senator in 2007, and I produced Senator Aloysius Etuk for you; that's where he comes from."
As a learned fellow who was once a Director, Corporate Affairs/Legal Services of EMIS Telecoms and a political heavyweight; Mr Akpabio was never expected to make such 'confessions' on record.
He probably understood or was hinted on the legal and moral implications of His 'goodwill', then, He sort to 'clean up the mess' by saying:
"So, I must say that I thank all of you, including the members of the National Assembly led by Senator Aloysius Etuk. And when I said that I made Aloy(sius Etok) to become a senator in 2007, I need to explain it so that you don't think that I wrote his name and he became a senator.
"During the primaries of the PDP, we zoned the Senate seat to his federal constituency. And from the federal constituency, he came first in the primaries. That happened in the PDP. So we said since he was the first among the people who came from his federal constituency for the primaries, then he must be the one to become the senator."
As expected, the "I was misunderstood" wand was readily available for Mr Akpabio to use.
During an exclusive interview with Channels TV breakfast progamme; Sunrise Daily, Mr Akpabio stated: “I was misunderstood.”
“What happened was, we had a political meeting before the primaries where the list of people were given to me-possible candidates for the Senate in my senatorial district. And I struck off the name of the person that was recommended to me and I said no that, I will prefer another person because the senatorial seat should be zoned to the minority local government.”
Then He explains further:
“It was a political conglomeration where we converge and discuss the affair of who should contest the Senate within the rank and file of an in-house arrangement before the primaries.”
"we were trying to decide who we should vote for and what area we should vote.”“And somebody needs to know, this was not a general elction, not even a primary. It was not even an election we were talking about.”
The father of 'uncommon Transformation' even went further to state: “Nigerians do not like to hear the truth”What TRUTH was Mr Akpabio referring to? It is common knowledge that the electoral system in this country is fraught with irregularities; where someone plays god over the electorates in His/Her political domain.
But what Nigerians considered insulting was the fact that He had the effrontery to tell Nigerians and Akwa Ibomites in particular that He "struck off" the name of a popular candidate and single-handedly "produced" Aloysius Etuk.
As usual, a coin will always have two sides, hence, it is left to the reader
to decide whether or not Mr Akpabio committed a crime against God and humanity by foisting Mr Aloysius Etuk on us. But I am firmly of the opinion that what Mr Akpabio did was absolutely wrong because His action was against the will of His people. Denying a candidate the chance to run for re-election simply because you think you know what is best for the people, against their will is not democratic.
So, here is the puzzle: what was the actual reason(s) behind Mr Akpabio's action? Was it out of love for the minority in the constituency that led to the installment of Mr Etuk; or was Akpabio afraid of the popular candidate? Was He afraid that the popular candidate would grow stronger if allowed to remain in power?
Mr Akpabio, who is currently the chairman of the People's Democratic Party(PDP) Governors' Forum has been in a war of words with Mr Rotimi Amaechi, the Governor of Rivers state and the current chairman of the Nigeria Governors' Forum(NGF).Mr Akpabio claimed that Mr Amaechi tried to "reinstall" himself as chairman of the NGF.What I actually find funny but confusing is the fact that Mr Akpabio has failed to learn from history the most fundamental law: what goes around, comes around.What's good for the goose is good for the gander. Is this simple idiom too complex for Mr Akpabio to understand?
If Mr Akpabio felt He knew what was best for the whole Akwa Ibomites, what makes Him question the ability of Mr Amaechi to determine the collective destiny of the 36 (mis)Governors?
Surely, there is a God in heaven who directs/determines the fate of men! Making sure they reap what they have sown.The Akpabio-Etuk saga once again brought to the fore what people referred to as 'constructive corruption'.
In the Nigerian context, constructive corruption is a situation where a known corrupt public official loots the treasury, performs some of the social contracts between himself and the electorates and share some portion of the loot to the army of His praise singers.
These praise singers whom He have "affected their lives positively" will be willing to defend Him irrespective of His actions.
They will be fast to admit that "He is corrupt, but He is working".
But is there any such thing as constructive corruption? Stealing from the majority to please and silence the minority who may challenge you is far from being 'constructive' as the future effect is highly precarious.
Enter the myopic ethnic/tribal jinglist. These set of individuals neither benefited directly from the looting public officials nor have a direct access to them. But they desperately need to defend His actions because "he is our own."
They are quick to remind you that you are not an Akwa Ibomite, that they hail from Akwa Ibom and are satisfied with the status quo ; hence, you are asked why taking pills for someone else's headache? Finally, you will be asked to go fix your state first before commenting on issues concerning Akwa Ibom.
Both Akpabio and Etuk are not just local politicians, the former is the current chairman of the People's Democratic Party(PDP) Governors' Forum while the later is in addition to be being a serving senator, currently the Chairman, Senate Committee on Establishment and Public Service.
Hence, Nigerians should be concerned about their actions and utterances.According to Martin Luther King Jr, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
Earlier this week, Mr Akpabio named Aloysius Etuk as his campaign manager for the 2015 senatorial election while Mr Bamangar Tukur, the Chairman of the PDP told us that He got Presidential order to win 32 states come 2015.
The party's Board of Trustees Chairman, Chief Tony Anenih reaffirmed the mandate by saying: "We will do what we know how to do best" to sweep the polls.
So, here is the disturbing trend, Mr Aloysuis Ekuk will do anything to repay his godfather for making Him a senator come 2015, Mr Akpabio who is a specialist in the act of "producing" political office holders, the Chairman of the People's Democratic Party(PDP) Governors' Forum and a close pal of Mr Jonathan will bring His expertise to work and ensure that they do what they knows how to do best - strike out the names of the popular candidates in the 2015 general elections.
But surely, there is a God who determines the fate of men!
Article written by Mazi Joe