Obong (Barr.) Godswill Obot Akpabio moved into Akwa Ibom state at about the year 2000. He served in three ministries as commissioner and later was to become governor in 2007. He served for eight years in that capacity and was again in 2015 elected Senator to represent his Senatorial District in the Senate.
His bid to return to the Senate in this 2019 is still a subject of litigation. As God will have it, today, he has been appointed a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by the President That’s the much I can say about His Excellency for the purpose of this piece.
Record will have it that while Godswill Akpabio served as Governor, I used to do a lot of criticism in reaction to some of his actions/policies (as governor). Up to even when he defected to APC, I remember that I did a piece to reminiscence what transpired between the late Clement Isong and Don Etiebet and his brother Late Donald in 1983 and later, Obong Attah and Don Etiebet again during the days of Abacha.
After the whole saga of defection which Obong Akpabio himself said it was a movement and not defection. I had a second thought that this Akpabio may not be wrong after all, because, if we consider our enormous contributions into the financial covers of this country, then it is only needful and proper for us to also have somebody who can be our eye in the ruling party. A whole lot of things were said as his reasons for defecting and I said whether those reasons are true or not, it is good for us to have somebody there.
We have seen many who were appointed commissioners like Obong Attah appointed him and today all you see and hear of them is just that name (former commissioner). We have seen many who have been governors and today all you hear and see of them is the name (former governor). Akpabio could have simply decided to be like any of them but, he has decided to do something different and it should be of interest to us. IBB, OBJ, Abdusalami, TY Danjuma Tinubu and several others left power many years ago and up till now we still worship them like we did when OBJ last came here. It should interest us that until we have such people here, we’ve not yet started.
God forbid that we will stay again for too long without a leader. God forbid that we continue with the type of hatred I have been seeing and reading against our people and leaders.
My people, there is something in this Akpabio which we have to watch out. That is because the man Godswill Akpabio has shown the resilience of a leader and all we need to do is to stand behind him and project him. Akpabio has shown that if politics is worth playing then, it is worth playing well. I had thought that having not been able to bring anything to the table, Mr President will have no interest in him. With this appointment, it means that with or without election Akpabio has something special that endears him to the President while we are still abusing him back home for leaving his former party.
As Governor, It did not take too long for him to develop the boys in this state. In fact, two out of the present three senators from Akwa Ibom were his commissioners. Nearly all the current members of the House of Reps were either his PA or SA or serving at the local government during his time. Except for one or two of the current commissioners in Akwa Ibom State, the rest are all his boys. Whether we like it or not, the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly is still largely made of Akpabio boys. In fact, I make bold to say that Mr. Udom Emmanuel is still working with Akpabio boys and after five years, he is yet to increase or develop new ones to add.
Like Bob Marley would refer to Marcus Garvey as a Buffalo Soldier in the heart of Americans. Outsiders know and believed that Akpabio is an Akwa Ibomite and that apart from loving his people , he has done greatly for them. Whether that is true or not depends on how we project him. The truth is that even where you don’t love him, you cannot forget him. He may not be an angel, he may have made his mistakes. You may not like the way he talks but, that’s his way of talking. Even with all that, Godswill Akpabio has the interest of his people. Godswill has the strength to get what he wants. As we speak, that My Learned Senior has a towering image in this country and its now left for us to believe in that and push him.
Let me say this, right now and with our support, Akpabio has taken himself to the limelight in national politics and for him to continue to be there, we need to fully support him at least to continue to be there to have an ear and sight of when meetings are held and from time to time mention the fact that there is a place called Akwa Ibom. Right now, if you know of any such leader you can mention him/her here.
Outside that, we have to bear in mind that there is no party politics in Nigeria. Every politician in Nigeria wants a platform to capture power not necessarily being in a political party. We must begin to be liberal with the way we play politics. What is happening in Abuja must interest us as major stakeholders. We must share ourselves into all groups. There is nothing wrong in Akpabio and others being in APC while some are also in PDP. That way we lessened the burden on the governor.
We should think of a state that participate fully in the affairs Nigeria. Where we have Ministers, Heads/Chairmen of Boards and parastatals, Ambassadors and others because we deserve it. Let’s not play ourselves out of what is going on in the country in the name of party loyalty and when in effect nobody is really interested in any political party.
I agree totally with the Akpabio style of politics which is the current style and also hope that more and more Akwa Ibom Politicians will begin to understand the politics of Nigeria and play accordingly for the benefit of all of us.
God Bless Akwa Ibom State.