“Loyalty is a rare thing to find, if you find it, hold on to it” proclaimed Mr. Umana Okon Umana, Former Secretary to Akwa Ibom State Government. L
“Loyalty is a rare thing to find, if you find it, hold on to it” proclaimed Mr. Umana Okon Umana, Former Secretary to Akwa Ibom State Government.
Loyalty, Politicians parrot it, but often times they don’t mean it. Politicians try to induce it, but often get their fingers burnt. Most seek it, but they don’t find it. Others crave for it, yet have no capacity to offer it. Loyalty is indeed rare, more so among Nigerian politicians and their impoverished followers.
Senator Godswill Akpabio is an archetype of a Nigerian politician. His knowledge and practice of the philosophy of Nigerian politics is simply legendary. He has this sneaky and sly approach to politics that is sometimes cold, yet his charisma often makes his political moves sublime. He is a text book in the study of Nigerian political Machiavellianism. He moves with the dexterity of a practiced striker; cunning, masterful dribbles and ruthless finishing that leaves opponents gasping for breath. He takes no hostages.
He is a political theater practitioner, a political comedian of sort. But that is his poisonous gift that puts enemies at ease, often deadly ease. Senator John Akpan Udoedehe, himself a maverick politician, once described him (Senator Akpabio), as being possessed of “Satanic humility”. But that is his tool, with which he disarms even the most careful opponent.
He knows no loyalty and never bothers to give any. He has loyalty in his heart, but that loyalty is only to himself and no other. He seeks elevation and he latches on others to have his push. Once up, loyalty dissolves and all the supporting hands are coldly discarded. His path to greatness is littered with fallen victims: Obong Victor Attah, Don Etiebet, Dr Ime Umanah, Mr. Umana Okon Umana, Senator John Akpan Udoedehe, Obong Nsima Ekere, Mr. Uffot Ekaette, among very many others, mark the trail of Akpabio’s political trajectory.
His political philosophy is well etched on the social aphorism of “No Paddy in the Jungle”. His every dealing is a deal. He believes in the all conquering power of money, so he buys “loyalty”. He pays and forswears loyalty and in that type of loyalty, there is neither depth nor Meeting of minds. It is loyalty that is a single lane and that is loyalty to Akpabio. Others are mere puns caught in a dispensable loyalty loop, firmly held by Akpabio.
Since the news of Akpabio’s defection to the All Progressives Congress APC, became a reality (His double dealing loyalists had dreaded the reality of his decamping from PDP), there had been a flurry of activities. Liters of ink have been spent on writing about what Akpabio has done or refused to do. My particular attention has reverted to the written and spoken reactions by people you could consider as diehard Akpabio followers and adherents of the Akpabio religion.
I thought that once the jungle matures, these adherents would pitch their tents with the Ono Owo Mkpo” of Akwa Ibom politics, the “Uko Akwa Ibom”, the “Lion of the tribe of Annang”, the “Emerging Tiger” of Akwa Ibom State and the “father of modern Akwa Ibom”, all endearing names reserved for the former governor, but no, vilification came-calling to fill the space; He has turned a villain, a betrayer, corrupt, power monger, and every other inconceivable epithet to once friends now turned enemies.
Fair weather writers, who earlier would spend quality ink, penning his praise, now spend barrels of ink attacking him. Some so brazen, so cowardly and so shamelessly falling over themselves to vilify a god they spent so much energy to create.
For the politicians, their reaction has been so predictable. Akpabio had boasted of turning many boys into men. Today, the boys turned men have turned their backs at their benefactor. Countless messages of solidarity have found their way into the current governor’s camp in this battle of godfather against his godson.
Akpabio’s boys are simply applying the principles handed over to them by their principal, who knows no paddy in the jungle. Some of them have proved that in this jungle, the only friendship is to one’s interest. In a state riotously raped by the financial holocaust of the Akpabio era, poverty is a whip constantly staring men in the face and a constant reminder that self interest remains the loyalty known to politicians. They now have a new master and so, they turn against their old master.
As politicians have gathered at Ikot Ekpene on 8th August 2018, more surprises await the political space in Akwa Ibom State. Men, shameless men who yesterday would swear undying loyalty to Gov. Udom Emmanuel will be seen ditching him. Some commissioners who had in the past run around the governor proving that they were his last men on the defence line have already started defending the governor with their feet, honourlessly running to the Akpabio camp.
It is indeed a jungle, and the inhabitants of that jungle have no compunction.