Akpabio and flakes of ingratitude, By Jackson Udom

Posted by News Express | 29 August 2016 | 2,732 times

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Adamu is an indigene of Campordi in Republic of Togo. For him and his siblings, growing up was not a bed of roses. However, through dint of hard work, perseverance, and divine intervention, Adamu fought his way through to prominence.

The challenges, no doubt, acted as the catalyst which propelled him into vowing that, if he would ever become a ‘somebody’ in life, those conditions and situations that stood between him and success in life would be tackled head-long, so that those coming after him would not be bugged down with such difficult conditions in future.

In the later part of his life, Adamu found himself in position of authority. And, true to his promise, he ensured that those obstacles were addressed. He ensured that his people lacked nothing good in the area of education, which he believed was the bedrock for their future emancipation and development. His efforts saw a renewed consciousness, self-recovery among his people, and gradually, they began to find their voices in the comity of states.

 In contrast, while all his selfless efforts towards making his people relevant and recognised in the scheme of things were being lauded and applauded by none indigenes and those who never benefitted from his large-heart and humanitarian gestures, direct beneficiaries of his benevolence became the ones who took up arms and called for his head Like the biblical shout of Hosanna today, crucify him tomorrow, Adamu was vilified, persecuted, condemned, abused, insulted, criminalised and, even, wished dead by the very people whom he strove to better their lives when he had the opportunity.

However, some genuine elders of the community rose in stout condemnation of the actions of the few narrow-minded but vocal minority, pointing out to them the possible outcomes of their selfish, retrogressive and parochial agenda, while other elders supported the agenda. The elders argued that wanting to pull Adamu down was like destroying the protector and defender of the community, saying: “If you all succeed in pulling our only voice down, who will fight for our rights and speak for us on the day of needs and persecution?”

The foregoing scenario aptly captures the current ordeal of the former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio. Akpabio left office as governor over a year ago. And this is one fact his traducers have failed to realise. They still don't believe the Ukana-born politician had since moved up the political ladder, as the representative of the people of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District at the national Assembly, Abuja. Yet, they won't remove their legs from the hate pedal. Apart from wishing that he falls, they raised their satanic wish-list by wanting him or his wife dead, as if they are God. Akpabio governed Akwa Ibom State from 2007 to 2015 and during his period, it is there to be seen that he transformed the state from a pedestrian one, to investors’ haven and tourism destination through the provision of world-class and enduring infrastructure. A feat which he dubbed – and it later became known nationally and internationally - as ‘Uncommon Transformation.’

These landmark achievements earned him several awards from the academia, the media, corporate organisations, traditional institutions and even beyond the shores of the country. The Akpabio era witnessed a renaissance in the area of infrastructure, human capital development, a new consciousness and awareness among the people, which before his assumption of office, was lacking. He brought the state into the world map through his life-changing programmes, such as free and compulsory education from primary to secondary levels; free medical care for the aged, children and pregnant women. His wife, Mrs Unoma Akpabio, handled the women angle, through her welfare package for abandoned children, the destitute and widows, among other vulnerable citizens resident in the state.

The period between 2007 and 2015 can best be described as the golden moment of the state. The houseboys/girls syndrome - which the indigenes of the state were known for both locally and internationally - was exterminated by the Akpabio-led administration, through the introduction of free and compulsory education.

One need not mention the five star Hotel in Ikot Ekpene, the world-class Olympic-size stadium, the Ibom Power Plant, Ibom International Airport, the Gas Pipeline, the e-library, a world-class referral hospital, and several dualised federal and state roads with concentric flyovers, as some of the numerous projects executed by the former governor.

In spite of these landmark achievements, Akpabio's traducers, particularly those who have vowed not to see anything good about him, believe they could achieve their hate and jaundiced agenda by striving to elevate propaganda, cheap blackmail, complete falsehood and lies to the level of truth and rational consciousness. They have, however, forgotten to learn or imbibe the biblical story of David and his being the person after God’s heart, despite his condemnation by his friends and foes.

As a mortal, Akpabio cannot be said to be a saint, and that is why he is human, though most of his accusers claim to be saints and infallible. But let it be known that he served his people to the best of his ability. And rather than be vilified, simply because some of the actions he took while in office did not go down well with the few, Akpabio should rather be commended and encouraged.

Akpabio is not the only former governor in Nigeria and will definitely not be the last. So, why are his people out to pull him down, especially those who once sang his praise, dined and wined with him and benefitted one way or the other from his administration?

Few weeks ago, national newspapers hit the news-stands with screaming headlines, “FG Set To Probe Ex-Govs Saraki, Ladoja, Akpabio, Others”. The following day, no media organization, both on-line or conventional, made mention of the story, especially in the South-west, which host most of the very serious-minded media houses. But that was never the case in Akwa Ibom State. The story was feasted over and over again by registered and unregistered news outfits owned by indigenes, for close to a week through re-angling, just to satisfy their paymaster. Most of the rag-tag publications - which are only good for the loo - even tried to find Akpabio guilty, and sentenced him to death, over alleged corruption.

But they had forgotten that even while the Wikileaks was busy exposing the alleged corrupt activities of public office holders all over the world, what it could only leak concerning Akwa Ibom State under Akpabio was that: “Akwa Ibom State under Governor Godswill Akpabio is a state that should be watched because of the plan by the governor to unleash unprecedented development on the state.” I know they won't remember, because it praised Akpabio. If it had gone the other way, one is sure they would have made a mountain out of it. Or, maybe, Akpabio paid Wikileaks for the expo on his plan then for the state.

But today, Akpabio is a corrupt person that must be brought down all costs. Like the biblical prophet that is without honour except in his home town, Akpabio is well-loved, cherished, honoured and highly-respected by Nigerians. His acceptance cuts across political, religious and ethnic divides. Non-Akwa Ibom people are often at a loss, when they see the kind of opposition - albeit, from the vocal minority, who have access to the media - being targeted at Akpabio, whom they often pray to have as a leader, because of his achievements in the past and what, as Senate Minority Leader, he has been able to do to stabilise the Senate for the All Progressives Congress (APC) government.

Akpabio and his numerous travails, while in and out of office as the governor of Akwa Ibom State, reminds me of the statement in my dialect that says: Wot Uko, tua usen nnaneyin, which literally means “destroy your pillar and defender, and weep on the day of afflictions.”

•Jackson Udom is Special Assistant on Media to Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio (shown in photo).

Source: News Express

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