OPINION: When the news filtered into town late Thursday last week that Dr. Sunday Mbang, the octogenarian prelate emeritus of the Methodist Church of Nigeria, was in the company of Mr Godswill Obot Akpabio and Mr Udom Gabriel Emmanuel and others who visited our former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, at his Ota Farm in Abeokuta, I could not help but wonder what could have lately been amiss to compel the de facto “Sole Administrator” of our ruthlessly gangraped Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Godswill Obot Akpabio, to be scurrying around the country, with his protégé, Udom Emmanuel, in toe, paying visit to national political, traditional and spiritual leaders.
What did arouse my curiosity and healthy suspicion was Mr. Godswill Akpabio’s apparent behavioral somersault, his frenzic readiness to pay deserved obeisance and give appropriate respect to elderly and active political leaders. To me, this sudden about face was made all the more queer because Godswill Akpabio spent a large part of his tenure as governor to invest energy in and squander a handsome chunk of state resources to inveigh against, insult and diminish the national relevance of such Akwa Ibom State iconic elders and political leaders as Obong Victor Attah, the illustrious political leader of the Ibibio race whom he flatly dismissed as “a local champion,” Atuekong Don Etiebet, an illustrious Annang leader, late Dr. Ime Umana, Otuekong Sunny Jackson and a galaxy of others, all of whom he disparaged and roundly branded as “expired political elders.”
What is, therefore, responsible for this new found respect for external or non Akwa Ibom political “elders?”
Why is it that Mr. Akpabio’s current strategic political maneuverings and visitations are not to the elders or chieftains of his Peoples Democratic Party, the PDP, but are specifically targeted at the elder leaders of the All Progressives Congress, APC, the political party now controlling the reins of power at the centre and/or a carefully selected national leaders that are perceived or presumed by him to have some degree of influence in the newly crystallising national leadership? Does it not strongly hint us of the true character of Mr. Godswill Obot Akpabio that as one who was the former Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum, he has not been publicly seen around Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan since the ex – President courageously accepted his overwhelming defeat and congratulated General Mohammadu Buhari as the winner of the Presidential election of March 28, 2015? Indeed, I found it particularly instructive that Mr. Godswill Akpabio, who once said that our former President was the best thing that has ever happened to Nigeria since independence, was conspicuously absent at Dr. Goodluck Jonathan’s Thanksgiving Service held at Otueke in Bayelsa State on May 31, 2015.
We know that Godswill Akpabio has gone to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, former Vice President and chieftain of APC; he has gone to Senator Ahmed Tinubu, national leader of APC; he succeeded in forging an alliance with and substantially contributed to the emergence of Mr. Bukola Saraki of the APC as the President of the 8th Sebate; he has also paid unscheduled visits to President Mohammadu Buhari, whom he said a few months back did not have the basic and requisite educational credentials to preside over Nigeria.
Against the foregoing, the question begging for explanation is what could be the driving impetus back of these choreographed visitations? Is it for the existential and self preservative purpose of ensuring national political relevance by cunningly realigning with the emergent national power block or is it out of a castrating and morbid fear of being made to lawfully confront the dare consequences of myriad of the fiscal rascalities and heinous actions committed during his 8-year regime? And more specifically, why this latest move that entailed the dragging of our old and frail Papa Mbang all the way to Ota?
There is no doubt in my mind that Mr. Godswill Akpabio is desperately scavenging for ways and means to mitigate and effectively contain the avalanche of a broad spectrum political opprobrium and deep social discontent that his naive and untamed megalomania has unfortunately precipitated in Akwa Ibom State particularly and that is also reverberating within some major power loops in Abuja. The first time Mr. Akpabio got himself in nearly same quagmire at the national level, he ran to Chief Obasanjo to help repair the damage he had masterminded with the scandalous enthronement of Mr. David Jang of Plateau State, who scored only 16 votes, as the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum. It was this Akpabio’s rascally impunity that jarred the sensibilities of many governors and provoked the righteous revolt of Mr. Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State, who had 19 votes, thus resulting in the calamitous crisis that irreparably fragmented the PDP, culminating inexorably in the woeful defeat of the party at the national elections.
Reporting on Mr. Godswill Akpabio’s first visit to him seeking assistance to ameliorate the gorging schism the precipitate crisis caused especially within the fold of the PDP Governors’ Forum, this is what Chief Olusegun Obasanjo wrote in pages 237-238 of volume 3 of his autobiography titled MY WATCH: “Only four days earlier, two governors from the Party – Ilyel Imoke of Cross River and Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta – and Godswill Akpabio from Akwa Ibom State, by himself, came to me in Abuja, pleading to me to intervene in the situation of the Governors’ Forum, particularly in the disagreement within the PDP governors…Akpabio said starkly in his frank and outspoken manner, ‘we have messed up and don’t leave us alone. For me, I don’t want to go to jail and my children are too young.’ I will report our meeting to the President. …”
It is my considered opinion that a serious psychoanalysis of the above confessional outpouring by Mr. Akpabio gives a glimpse into the primitive and primary self preservative impulse that is responsible for his latest visit to Chief Obasanjo. It would seem to me that it has dawned on Akpabio that he thoroughly “messed up” as the chief security officer of the state to allow a private army of armed militias to gore and terrorise Akwa Ibom people during the governorship and State House of Assembly elections; it is very clear to him now that he totally “messed up” in encouraging unscrupulous officers of INEC to so idiotically manipulate the governorship results such that 996,071 votes was recorded for his protégé, Mr Udom Emmanuel of the PDP, when the total number of accredited voters for that particular election was just 437,128. Could the fear of being prosecuted for election violence and the murder of some 30 Akwa Ibom men on election day by sponsored PDP thugs and the voiding of the election be one of the reasons for this visit, more so that the unexpected exit of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan from Aso Rock has removed the earlier protective canopy? Is this why Mr. Udom Emmanuel was in the entourage?
Conjecturing further, why did Mr. Godswill Obot Akpabio privately confess to Chief Obasanjo way back August 2013 “for me, I don’t want to go to jail?” What pang of conscience was responsible for this? What manner of atrocious and unlawful dealings did he initiate or engage in as governor to make him fearful that he and his cohorts will end in the gulag when the larceny is eventually discovered? When we factor into the mix the fact that Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the then Finance Minister of the PDP government, unchallengingly asserted that Mr. Godswill Akpabio, the then Chairman of their PDP Governors’ Forum, has rip-off Akwa Ibom people because his regime has spent less than 5 percent of the over 3 Trillion Naira it got in 8 years from the Federation Account on the obscenely hyperbolised “uncommon transformations,” can it be that the “Guardian of the Threshold” has whispered into Akpabio’s inner ears that the “Buhari Change” has gingered Nemesis who is coming to exact due retribution? Can it, therefore, be that the latest Obasanjo visit, in the company of the old priest Sunday Mbang who is an old time friend of the former President, was to plead intercession in order to stave off possible EFCC prosecution?
In Greek mythology, Nemesis was a Goddess known for her intolerance of hubris from both the high and low. This mythical being was thought to bring retribution to all evil doers. The worshippers of the Goddess Nemesis believed that she had the mandate to cosmically direct all human affairs in such a manner that those with undeserving fortunes, especially the kind that are products of inordinate greed and executed with imperial impunity, are brought to justice and thus ensure moral equilibrium in the universe. It is related that even the almighty God, Zeus, could not dare interfere with this “Mother of Karma” and dispenser of retributive justice. From all that we have come to know of him, it could very well be that our very influential OBJ would play the biblical role of Pontius Pilate by washing his hands off the matter and letting the now called “Senator” Godswill Obot Akpabio to reap in full measure whatever his actions as governor sowed.