The biblical injunction in Galatians 6:7, which said, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap,” is an instructive advice and warning that cannot be ignored. It is a testimony to the supremacy of God, an insight into the law of karma, underlying the fact that people reap the benefit or punishment of their actions. Benefit or punishment may come instantly or take some time. But it would certainly come.
As the election programme in Nigeria comes to an end, the nation has seen this spiritual verse play out. Some topnotch politicians who attempted to play god have kissed the canvass in a way they never imagined. We saw it in Imo State. It happened in Kwara State. We saw it happen in Akwa Ibom State. It was the case in Ogun State. It underlines the fact that no man, no matter how rich, popular, connected or influential he may be, should consider himself as all-powerful and, therefore, dare the rest of the people. It would not work.
In Imo State, Okorocha called the bluff of everybody, in his bid to make his son-in-law his successor. In Kwara State, Senator Bukola Saraki ran a political dynasty, which he thought had become formidable and invincible and, as a result, he did not examine the mood of the people. In Akwa Ibom, Senator Godswill Akpabio took the people for granted, believing they would always follow him. And in Ogun State, Governor Ibikunle Amosun was so vehement and confident in his plan to have a particular person become his successor, without finding out what the people wanted. In these four instances, it was the case of Nza, the little bird, who got overfed and challenged his chi (God) to a wrestling contest, as Chinua Achebe wrote in Things Fall Apart.
Yes, Okorocha behaved as if he was the god of Imo politics. This is a man who came to power in 2011 owing to his transmogrification by people’s power. He came at a time when there was contrived anger against then Governor Ikedi Ohakim, caused by the “story” that the then governor’s aides flogged a Catholic priest, among other “sins.” The people were furious and swore that Ohakim would be voted out. The anti-Ohakim sentiment was so strong that his incumbency could not make a difference. The people aligned with Okorocha and Ohakim lost the election. It was a victory for the people.
In eight years, Okorocha forgot the history of his ascension to power. He forgot the people’s power. He looked at the people with such disdain that he felt they did not matter in his political fiefdom. He kicked out his first deputy governor, Jude Agbaso. He engineered the suspension of state lawmakers. He descended on his current deputy, Prince Eze Madumere. He fought chieftains of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Imo State. He confronted APC leadership at the national level. He left the popular side, which is the people’s side. Now, he has lost his investment as his son-in-law could not win the governorship election.
Okorocha, a man who would have been remembered for his charm and wit, at least, which brought about the “iberiberism” and “my people, my people” slogan, has fallen to grass in a most astonishing way. That the people jubilated, pulled down his billboards and statues as well as attempted to erase his vestige, on the day Hon Emeka Ihedioha was declared winner of Imo governorship election, shows how badly he lost.
Akpabio was a folk hero not only in Akwa Ibom but also in the South-South geopolitical zone. He had an infectious charm and was very likeable. His achievement as governor was a benchmark on which others were measured He came to power against all odds. He was not the choice of the governor then, Victor Attah. His emergence as governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and, eventually, governor, against Attah’s wish to have his son-in-law get it, was an upset. It was God’s will being done.
Incidentally, Akpabio blew his goodwill. For people in Akwa Ibom State, it was bad that Akpabio dumped the PDP and joined the APC at the time he did. It was worse that he, in justifying his exit from PDP, declared that the political party did not do anything in 16 years. This is a former governor elected on the platform of the PDP and who boasts of causing an “uncommon” transformation of his state, turning round to say the political party achieved nothing. He denied PDP. He discredited even his own achievements as a governor under PDP when he attacked the political party in his new romance with APC. It was like a man who professes Jesus Christ denying the Holy Ghost. It was an unforgiveable sin.
Akpabio lost the senatorial election and failed to deliver “90 per cent” votes of Akwa Ibom State to APC in the presidential election or to unseat Governor Udom Emmanuel, as he promised. I guess God wanted to caution him. He did not reckon with God and the people. He joined APC, but did he consult the people on this? Nobody should believe that the people would always align with him at all times, no matter what. A political superstar and an achiever, Akpabio, ended up being demystified because he tried to play god.
In Kwara State, the “o to ge” (it’s enough) movement caught up with Senate President Saraki. Some people may see what happened as an APC conspiracy. Yes and no. No, because before the elections, some Kwara people had said they had had enough of the Saraki political domination. The Kwara people had been taken to political parties too many times by the Sarakis, right from the days of Oloye Olusola Saraki. They have been in All People’s Party (APP), the PDP and APC, owing to the interests of the Saraki family. But there comes a time when people say enough is now enough.
Besides, Saraki is reaping what he sowed. The monster he and others created consumed him. Saraki, a smooth and fine young man, stood by the people when he resisted attempts by his father to have another of his children, Senator Gbemisola Saraki, take over from him as governor in 2011. It was a popular move, which assured the people that the young Saraki did not want Kwara to become an “Oloye Saraki State.” As a PDP member, Saraki ruled as governor for eight years and moved to the Senate. Everything was going well for him. He was to make a 360 degrees turn by dumping the PDP, in the coup that removed President Goodluck Jonathan from power. He joined APC. With his political mechination and those of other PDP conspirators, who also defected to APC, working with APC members, the presidency of Muhammadu Buhari became possible.
This year, Saraki dumped the APC and returned to the PDP. Obviously, the people could not fathom why this should be. The people’s rebellion, which is APC’s gain, has made Saraki a political orphan. He lost the senatorial election, just as his governorship candidate lost. Some would say it was a case of “o to ge.” I say nemesis caught up with our friend.
Amosun has seen that no one can be greater than everybody. Before now, he, perhaps, felt he could single-handed make a king. I watched his nauseating vehemence to have his preferred candidate as next governor of Ogun State. He dared everybody. Going by the way he went about his my-candidate-must-rule project, missiles were hurled at President Buhari and the leadership of the APC during a presidential rally in Abeokuta. Now, it is over. He could not have his way in the governorship election, although he is going to the Senate.
Taking all these together, one lesson the fall of Okorocha, Saraki, Akpabio and Amosun has thought is that nobody is god. People should not arrogate to themselves the power of God and the people. Power belongs to God and the people.