By Jackson Udom
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 to prominence.
The challenges no doubt, were catalysts which made him vow that, if he would ever become ‘somebody’ in life, those conditions and situations that stood in the way of his success in life would be tackled head long so that those coming after them will 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 the future emancipation and development of his people. His efforts saw a renewed consciousness, self-recovery among his people and gradually, they began to find their voices in the comity of states.
Strangely, while all his selfless efforts towards making his people relevant and recognized in the scheme of things were being applauded by non- indigenes and those who never benefited from his large heartedness and humanitarian gestures, direct beneficiaries of his benevolence became the ones who took up the gauntlet and called for his head. Like the Biblical shout of Hosanna today, crucify him tomorrow, Adamu was vilified, persecuted, condemned, abused, insulted, criminalized and even wished dead by the very people whose lives he strove to better when he had the opportunity.
But some genuine elders of the community rose in stout condemnation of the actions of these very few narrow-minded, but vocal minority, pointing out to them the possible outcomes of their selfish, retrogressive and parochial agenda, while other elders supported them.
The elders argued that wanting 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 above scenario aptly captures the current ordeal of the former governor of Akwa Ibom State and Senate Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio.
Akpabio left office as governor over a year ago and this is one fact his traducers have failed to realize. 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 in Abuja, and yet, they won’t remove their feet from the hate pedal. Apart from wishing that he falls, they upped 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 tenure, it is there to be seen that he transformed the state from a rural to an investors haven and destination through the provision of world class and enduring infrastructure, an effort, which later became known nationally and internationally as the “uncommon transformation”.
These landmark achievements earned him several awards from the academia, the media, corporate organizations, 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 tenure was lacking.
He brought the state into the world map through his life-changing programmes like free and compulsory education from primary to secondary levels, free medical care for the aged, children and pregnant women, while his wife, Mrs Unoma Akpabio handled the women angle through her welfare package for abandoned children, the destitute and widows among other vulnerable citizens of the state.
The period between 2007 and 2015 can best be described as the golden age of the state. The houseboys/housegirls toga of the indigenes of the state was changed by the Akpabio-led administration, through the introduction of the free and compulsory education.
One needs 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 dualized federal and state roads with concentric flyovers among numerous other 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 satiate their hate and jaundiced agenda by striving to elevate propaganda, cheap blackmail, falsehood and lies to the level of truth and rational consciousness.
They have however, forgotten to learn or imbibe the Biblical story of David 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, 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 a 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 benefited one way or the other from his administration?
Few weeks ago, national newspapers hit the news stands with screaming headlines like FG SET TO PROBE EX-GOVS Saraki, Ladoja, Akpabio, others. The following day, no media organization both online or hardcopy made mention of the story, especially in the southwest which hosts most of the very serious-minded media houses.
But that was never the case in Akwa Ibom State. The story was feasted on by registered and unregistered news outfits owned by indigenes for close to a week through re-angling just to satisfy their paymasters. Most of the rag-tag publications which are only good for the lavatory even tried, found Akpabio guilty and sentenced him to death over alleged corruption.
But they forgot that even while Wikileaks was busy exposing the alleged corrupt activities of public office holders allover the world, what it could only leak concerning Akwa Ibom State under Godswill 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 may be 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 at all costs. Like the biblical prophet that is without honour in his home town, Akpabio is 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, all be it, 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 stabilize the Senate for the APC- led 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 Wot Uko, tua usen nnaneyin meaning “destroy your pillar and defender, and weep on the day of afflictions”.
● Udom is Special Assistant on Media to the Senate Minority Leader.