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Goodbye Coach, Farewell Akpabio

  • Written by  PAULINUS NTA, Uyo
  • No comment
Goodbye Coach, Farewell Akpabio

When a footballer scores a goal, he introduces electricity into the air. He jumps up and punches the air.  He greets the spectators and sometimes, according to his faith, makes a sign of the holy cross. His colleagues will hug him and slap his back. They will pull his hair in celebration of the goal. It's a goal, it's a goal!!

Members of the opposing team will fume, curse and pass the blame to the strikers, to the defenders.  Even the spectators will be divided in their reactions to the goal. The side that supports the winning team will be electrocuted by the voltage of joy, while the losers will drift into murmurs.

Election, to some extent, is like football. When a candidate wins, his political party or supporters, depending on whether it is a party system or not, will eulogize and sometimes, immortalize him. They will sing odes to him. They will congratulate and felicitate him and when he climbs the throne, they genuflect and call him the best and embarrass him with ecclesiastical adorations. They will pour encomiums and lavish praises on “the king”, but when he leaves the throne, some of his best friends would, depending on interest, become his worst enemies.

Maybe, Godswill Akpabio was not the best governor of Akwa Ibom state, but he was the most celebrated chief executive since the creation of the state in 1987.

When he won the election and succeeded Obong Victor Attah in 2007, Akpabio introduced electricity into the air. The new governor enjoyed celestial ovations, chiefly because he was a youthful governor and of course, he turned a battalion of youths into men.

In appreciation of their support and contributions to his supporters, he involved them in governance, entrusted them with sensitive and juicy state portfolios, even when most of them were not ripe for some offices, the boys became men. He changed the complexion of governance.

 Again, in 2011, Akpabio introduced electricity into the air, when he grabbed a ticket to the government house for a second term and the same men increased the pitch of their songs, the songs of praise to high heavens, from radio jingles, newspaper advertorials and an embarrassing miasma of billboards, describing him as God's gift to the state, uncommon transformer and his wife, they called her the mother Theresa of not just Akwa Ibom, but of black Africa.

A leader is not successful until he produces a successor. Therefore, when in 2015, after his two terms as the governor of the state, Akpabio was not only seen as a successful leader, but an uncommon political genius when, against all odds, he  stepped on sensitive toes and installed a successor and also grabbed the senatorial seat for Ikot Ekpene senatorial district at a stretch.

In the football pitch, the ovations of a striker begins to dwindle when he loses expected goals. In the same vein, Akpabio's ovation began to fade when he defected to the APC, leaving his successor in the middle of the river.

Akpabio's first stumbling dance was staged when his disciples, save for a negligible few, refused to follow him to the sleepy town of Ukana, the same Ukana that almost became the political Jerusalem in Akwa Ibom state, but preferred to swim and sink in that black river of Awa, the country home of Udom Emmanuel.

The 2019 electioneering campaign rallies and fireworks added an apostolic momentum to the diminishing tempo of Akpabioism. However, the most catastrophic stroke of ill-fortune struck when the distinguished senator, like William Shakespeare's Macbeth, kissed the ground, not before young Macduff, but before  Christopher  Ekpenyong.

While many analysts believe Akpabio is lost in the labyrinth of political misadventure, others say he would be embarking on a journey of political perdition if he heads to challenge his colossal defeat.

Apart from internal forces, others hold the belief that the fall of Akpabio may have also been teleguided by some external aggression, particularly within the south-south geopolitical zone. According to this group, the office of the senate presidency might be zoned to the south – south and the loquacious senator, by body language and pronouncements, was eyeing the throne, a development that did not go well in some quarters, among the south- south geo political zone.

It is therefore believed that senators from other states of the region, who also nursed the ''black and deep'' desire of becoming the number three citizen of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, must have facilitated his defeat to pave way for their smooth ride to the senate presidency.

Another school of thought, who view his fall from a rather spiritual, than political perspective, maintain that  Akpabio's unexpected summersault is a  punitive measure from God,  to prove to him that there is the God factor in politics.

They based their argument on the notion that Akpabio challenged the entire state and even the supremacy of God, when he lambasted  Udom for changing his electioneering campaign slogan from, “let Godswill be done again, to “only God”

According to this group, Akpabio had earlier handed the slogan to Udom to acknowledge his sole role in the emergence of the governor. By so doing, pundits saw the act as inordinate allocation of glory to himself and a brazen sacrilege against the sovereignty of God.

Therefore when the unexpected happened penultimate Saturday, this group hurriedly concluded that it was a manifestation of the ''Only God factor''.

However, from whatever angle we look, as a state governor, Akpabio scored remarkable points in roads and other physical infrastructure. He electrified the aura of Akwa Ibom in the comity of states. He also stepped up the free and compulsory education, from junior secondary, where the Attah administration stopped, to the senior secondary level. Akpabio popularized Akwa Ibom with a romantic slogan, ''Akwa Ibom Ado Okay'', which boosted the collective ego of the people. Ikot Ekpene senatorial district and indeed Akwa Ibom people will miss Senator Godswill Obot Akpabio, the political coach and teacher in Akwa Ibom.

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