Akpabio: The game changer strikes gold

Posted by Aniekan Umanah, | 8 December 2012 | 5,264 times

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According to William Shakespeare, “Some are born great, some achieve greatness and some have greatness thrust upon them.” These are three different routes that lead to the same station, the pinnacle. Those who are born great merely inherit greatness, those who achieve it, sweat for it and those who find it nestling in their arms as they step out of bed acquire it through luck or accident. It is therefore logical to say that if these three different forms of greatness were university degrees, the greatness that is achieved is like a degree where the owner actually passed through the academic drill and is rewarded with it; others are honorary. As Governor Godswill Obot Akpabio attains the golden age, a pristine look at his life reveals a man who, who by a dint of hard work, steered by fate, plucked the fruit of greatness by himself.

As the joyful wind of the trappings of a golden age rages, it filters into the ears of the world that Akpabio’s story is a compelling tragicomedy. The man who has become the flower of the crowd today was, 50 years ago, like an ordinary grass; he had no name. It is God’s will that the grass that was trampled upon yesterday has become a generational flower, it now has a name. He has become a rose scenting and decorating the world through uncommon leadership. His life is indeed, a trajectory. At 50, Governor Akpabio has proven that he represents God’s hands stretched out to save the world. How did it begin?

The Akpabio story is simply a script from Heaven. God’s hand is in Godswill’s life. Or what else can one say of the life of a man who is from a renowned family of the Great Akpabios but whom fate made to taste the other side of life. God actually prepared him for tomorrow. Therefore, by the circumstances of the death of his father, destiny made a warrior out of him. He defeated the agony of the death of his father and emerged a bright star among his peers. He crushed all obstacles and threats to his education; strangulated fear and clothed his life with upbeat as a courageous warrior.

That courage in a warrior also came alive in his days as a telecom guru, where he also fought and won many battles, thus propelling his organisation to the rung of a beautiful bride in the telecom industry. An unrepentant warrior, victory songs never cease in his mouth. He sang yet another when he defeated over 57 other aspirants that contested with him in the PDP (Peoples Democratic Party) primaries that heralded the 2007 governorship election. The beauty of it is that most of these former contestants who saw the victor in him later joined to hum the victory song, as he justified the mandate he got from 4 million Akwa Ibom people. Always on his winning knees thanking God, Governor Akpabio usually attributes his many victories to God, his wife and the good people of Akwa Ibom.

A game changer, when he came on board, he made good his promises that the lives of his people would never remain the same; he defeated injustice; he stood on the way of illiteracy; massacred poverty in the midst of plenty; deleted diseases; and paralysed infrastructural decay, among other battles he has won. Today, the people are victorious; it is the blaring of uncommon transformation from one part of the state to the other, and Akwa Ibom has become a model state in Nigeria, a global discovery as a destination to be. Thanks to Akpabio’s vigour and his theory of positive anger.

Of course, it was Gamal Abdel Nasser, late President of Egypt, who once said, “There is a role wandering aimlessly in search of a hero. This role is beckoning to us – to move, take up its lines, to put on its costume and give it life.” Akpabio’s contribution to humanity through leadership and governance, using Akwa Ibom State, where he has been a Governor for more than five years now, is as if Nasser was addressing him. In his growing up, Akpabio cruised on the rough lane of life. He broke the kernel of his fate with bare hands. In fact, one can safely say that if childhood existed, poverty of circumstance stole Akpabio’s; and that was for a purpose – he was going through the school of bravery. Today, he has used development-oriented leadership to ensure that what he saw yesterday as a child, no other child of Akwa Ibom – nay Nigeria – should see.

The man on the golden dais is a self-made man who rose from the obscurity of a humdrum existence of as a fatherless child to the pedestal of national and world prominence. But his didn’t come as a happenstance. It wasn’t like a little nice parcel that he found on his table with a nice blue ribbon tied round it. It wasn’t delivered to him on a platter of gold; he knew the meaning of hard work. He toiled relentlessly, assiduously and tirelessly to become what he is today. Like Abraham Lincoln, Akpabio believes that if God gave us two hands and only one mouth, there is no reason why man should starve. That is the engine that has propelled his life to the rarefied orbit. In furtherance of this belief, he exerts himself everyday of his life for the accomplishment of higher ideals. For him, work is as comfortable as sport. In fact, for him work is sport.

When he won the governorship position of the state, it was beyond his forest of posters and his lush vegetation of rhetoric; he stood out as the signpost of hope for the people – a hope that has since been realised. As a Governor, Chief Akpabio has injected life into governance. He has given generously, his time, his talent and his education, to the building of a new Akwa Ibom; he has achieved an outsized vision, he has achieved greatness.

He has brought into governance a rewarding range of experience garnered over many years of vigorous, unwavering commitment. Blessed with abundance of humour, wit and wisdom, Akpabio lacks the inclination for pettiness or the inclination for discrimination on the basis of tribe or religion or class or social station or such other mundane impediments that put a wedge between one man and another. He knows the meaning of loyalty – loyalty to principle, loyalty to friendship, loyalty to his people. He is not the kind of man who will vote one way in a committee session and vote another way at the general assembly for he is consistent in his principles. He is courageous, generous and gregarious, and humanity is his constituency. His simplicity radiates, and his leadership shines bold and bright and breaks the society’s suffocating conspiracy of the night of illiteracy, poverty, disease and hunger.

He is a scholar, a lawyer, a statesman, corporate practitioner and a little of a politician. He is married to his friend and wife, Ekaete Unoma; both of whom share the same passion. Their marriage is blessed with children. At 50, he still posses the handsome freshness of a man half that age. Ageless “beauty”, still looking 25. But he has joined the big league. This is a life of greatness, greatness achieved through hard work and commitment. He has struck gold, he has clocked the golden age with all the trappings of self-won greatness, but not on a platter of gold. Congratulations, man of the people.

•Photo: Governor Akpabio.

*Umanah is the Commissioner for Information, Akwa Ibom State. He contributed this piece from Uyo.

Source: News Express

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