Wed. Apr 24th, 2019

Not To Bury Nor Exhume Akpabio ~By Otobong Sampson

Everything about him comes with a bang! It happens with a sudden striking effect. His burst into public office; his ascension to power; his administration; his minority leadership in Nigeria’s senate; his defection to the All Progressive Congress; his fall. The last is arguably the loudest. There’s nothing about him that’s not uncommon. Not necessarily spectacular.

Nobody can really doubt Godswill Akpabio’s greatness. Nobody would be willing to argue his fall, either. That he will rise again is a boast that should be expressed with conservative optimism. That he won’t, is a desire that should be ventilated with heedful certainty. One thing is sure; he will never be regarded in awe, anymore. The deconstruction of phenomenon Akpabio has begun – too abrupt – than hitherto thought. His demystification has been achieved. Whether it is complete, time shall speak. But at the moment, even Mr. Akpabio would be doubting his ability to reinvent himself.

A few may sympathize his fall yet many are feasting over it. At the twilight of his administration as Akwa Ibom governor and having just been handed an unchallenged pass to the senate as ‘reward’, I had remarked at a hotel in Lagos to a prominent politician from Annangland: “You guys will be having a life-senator from Annangland. I hope you are ready?!”
My host returned a wry smile and intermittent chuckles for an answer. It was blind of anyone not to see the former governor do at least three straight terms of four years each in the senate. Abak 5 could wait and wait, and wait…until Godswill’s political retirement, voluntarily inspired and not compelled. I admit I was wrong but not naive. That was the level of veneration many of us across Nigeria had inaccurately elevated the outgoing senator to. A somewhat spurious pinnacle constructed by him for apparent purposes.

In his recent ‘treatise’, THE LIES AND LIARS OF THE ELECTION, Mr. Akpabio offered a confusing identity of the ‘new’ him – appearing through his words as a man who is compulsorily learning the lessons of humbleness without being willing to descend his rostrum of ego.

His piece failed to rile emotions against those he accused. If it has won for him any sympathies, it is ineffective and not noticeable. To play the pity card like he has done is unproductive. Politics is war by other means. It is played like Russian roulette, a gun to the head. To preserve his relevance in politics after his defection to the APC, the senator fired every dangerous shot he could, boastfully and gleefully, at whoever he felt was his obstacle. Instances are almost innumerable.

On events and issues, he made declarations that gods would be unspeaking on and sounded God-like proclamations too. There’s an Igbo adage that says: “when a god becomes too arrogant, it is reminded by the people that it was carved from a wood”.

Akpabio should quit singing like a canary. It blurs his portrait in whatever place of honour it still hangs. Now is the time to speak less and more of less. It is no time for peacockish swank. Reflective thinking and retrospection will heal the deep cuts inflicted on his amour-propre.

Yet, to ignore him would be unwise. For he is a man who never allows the chance to extract his pound of flesh slip by. With current events, he will be seeking more than just a slice of flesh. The ex-governor will be demanding drums of blood.

He is a smart schemer, disapprovingly shrewd and sometimes, pleasantly ruthless. Those warring against him must beware – even in truce. His proficiency in the art of seduction make him, still, pretty dangerous even as a conquered man. His brand of politics is unabashedly Machiavellian and he believes politics is the art of the possible.

Records show the man is gifted in maneuvering his way through the web of complexities. But how he will pull himself out of the current quicksand, everyone is waiting. Well versed in shenanigans, with a gentleman, he is a gentleman with a half; and with a cozener, he is always a cozener and a half.
Uncouth in speech, embarrassingly flippant with many awful gaffes, Godswill Akpabio has been dimmed in his resplendence and flamboyance and forced to step aside. A leader without ideology. A commander without commitment. But no doubt, a politician who has had his glowing moments in the sun.

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