The beauty of naming a child or answering to names is that both serve the purpose of either sending messages, intention or identifying one from another. It is a universal culture, which unites the world. In the western world, even domestic pets are named, depending on the owner’s affection. In Nigeria, some names easily translate into English. Yoruba name of Anu means Mercy while Ireti also translates to Hope, such as in Hope (Uzodinma). Hence, for this piece, the focus is on Godswill, which in Yoruba easily means B’Oluwatife. It will, therefore, emerge that current events surrounding the Niger Delta minister are God’s will or, better still, the will of God.
The tales take us to the beginning when and where Senator Godswill Akpabio was born. He could have been born a female and in any other part of the country but, according to God’s will or the will of God, if you like, he was born a bouncing baby boy. It is not clear if his parents preferred a particular gender but, once he was born, the parent conceded or appreciated that the baby boy was God’s will and so named him Godswill. Note the difference in his name and the parent’s appreciation of God. Growing up, according to the will of God, the young boy developed interest in politics. And, lest we forget, in line with the will of God (another explanation of God’s will), Akpabio was born into the major ethnic group in Akwa Ibom. In the developed world, that might not be significant. But, in Africa and especially Nigeria, such birth into a majority ethnic group might be of potential political value, never mind the possible superior intellect of other minority ethnic groups. Such solid advantage was God’s will to put Akpabio in the position to inherit the state’s richest prize, the governorship. And that was all due to the will of God (or God’swill, for short). Indeed, with the now established pattern of virtually handpicking successors, outgoing Akwa Ibom State governor in 2007 preferred another candidate to succeed him. Did gentleman Obong Attah try to attain that goal? Whether he did or not, it was the will of God that Godswill Akpabio, taking advantage of his overwhelming Ibibio ethnic numbers, would succeed as the new governor. And, boy, it was remarkably the will of God that for the next eight years till 2015 Godswill Akpabio would throw his weight about intimidatingly to contain opposition or rivalry from all quarters, including his predecessor, Obong Attah, who kept to himself till now.
It was also God’s will that Akpabio would have a smooth drive through Akwa Ibom State for eight consecutive years. It also looked impossible that ruling PDPtenure would end. Accordingly, only the will of God ended PDP’s federal administration in 2015. Preparatory to that disaster, it was also God’s will that Akpabio would come cap in hand, begging to join APC, the new ruling party, moreso as his overconfidenc to get his party re-elected appeared to be misplaced
As results of the 2015 elections commenced filtering in, it appeared Nigeria was going to be thrown into electoral/constitutional crisis but it was God’s will that outgoing President Goodluck Jonathan saved the day with his unprecedented statesmanship gesture in conceding defeat with a telephone call congratulating his opponent, Muhammadu Buhari. If the newly-elected ruling APC presumed it was going to have its way in the election of Senate President and House of Representatives Speaker, it was the will of God that Godswill Akpabio would spearhead an unholy alliance of dissident APC senators and their disgruntled PDP colleagues to undermine APC’s choices for Senate President and House Speaker.
From that political provocation, it was not the will of God that the culprits in the National Assembly would know peace. Not surprisingly, and, depending on their roles in the drama, the culprits came under pressure with inevitable unpleasant consequences in the offing. It, therefore, became God’s will for intensified carpet-crossing from PDP to APC, in itself a political corruption of trading off people’s mandate for self-serving purposes with total abandon. God’s will, therefore, compelled Akpabio to quit PDP for APC.
It was also God’s will that, eventually, the electorate would pass judgment on the performance of their members in the National Assembly. In his new party, the APC, ebullient Godswill Akpabio clearly assumed that he would deliver his Akwa Ibom, if not the entire South South, for President Buhari in the 2019 elections. Apparently, that was not God’s will. Elections came and, according to the will of God, President Buhari, even as incumbent, once again lost Akwa Ibom in the presidential and National Assembly elections. Also, as God willed, Akpabio himself was devastated as he lost his senatorial seat. That was in a way B’Oluwatife, to serve as lesson against political prostitution.
Some four months later, as President Buhari released his list of ministers for his second term, God’s will once again came to life as Akpabio’s name emerged. More remarkably, it was accordingly God’s will that Akpabio would abandon his election petition. In addition, God’s will was on display as Akpabio was allotted the Niger Delta ministry. Whatever was inherent in that appointment was not clear but, with the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) goldmine under his control, God’s will made him one of the most powerful ministers.
Within months, God intensified His will on Godswill Akpabio as the minister commenced issuing instructions to the female acting managing director of NDDC, Ms. Joi Nunieh. What those instructions were or whether the lady should have compromised her gender, as she claimed, was not clear as they both unleashed damaging accusations against each other. That must have been the will of God as the financial aspect of the mutual accusations compelled a National Assembly probe on if, why, how, who and when billions of naira disappeared from NDDC.
It must have been God’s will to expose the debilitating financial crimes at NDDC. Under a barrage of very hostile questions, from National Assembly probe panel, Godswill Akpabio had his back to the wall as he desperately fought back as he exposed everything that most of the contracts through which billions of naira disappeared were awarded to members of the National Assembly.
Some members of the probe panel dared Akpabio to name National Assembly members who were paid for multi-billion naira contracts at NDDC and yet failed to execute the contracts. The demand was surely two-pronged, (a) The moral of presumed full-time National Assembly members engaging in business and (b) The crime of collecting payment for contracts not executed. Akpabio initially tried to take the bullet for his former colleagues by claiming he misspoke, a voluntary effort, which, as God willed, merely inflamed the row. Femi Gbajabiamila, rightly or wrongly, played to the gallery by insisting Akpabio must name the dishonourable members within 48 hours or he (Akpabio) would be prosecuted for purportedly bringing National Assembly into disrepute.
At that stage, it was God’s will that Akpabio should reveal all he knew and he did. By the time he named those Gbajabiamila dared him to, Godswill Akpabio, according to God’s will, shut up everybody. At least for now, there is complete lull on all sides.