Notting captures the absurdities of Nigerian politics and politicians more than last week’s defection of Senator Goodwill Akpabio from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP to the mainstream All Progressive Congress, APC.
When rumours of the defection first filtered out, the dominant view was that it was an impossibility, another tale from the endless rumour mill of the social media. Then events unfolded in quick succession, Godswill Akpabio, visited the Leader of the APC, Ahmed Bola Tinubu in his Abuja residence, while weary observers were trying to make meaning out of the visit to Tinubu, pictures surfaced barely two days later of his meeting with President Muhammadu Buhar, in his vacation home in London. The deal was done and Akpabio the face of the PDP’s 16 years “misrule” became the new bride of the APC.
While it must be conceded that it is within his rights to associate or disassociate with any political party, group or individual he so chooses, it’s however the absurdities surrounding the defection and the reasons offered by Akpabio for his defection and the attempt by the garrulous garrison commander of the APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole to rewrite recent history and whitewash Akpabio that I find disheartening and troubling.
That Akpabio can actually pitch his political tent with the APC, be received with accolades and commendation from his new bed fellows is a demonstration of how low politics in Nigerian has become. It amply demonstrates the kind of politics we play in Nigeria. one without honour, integrity, ideology or a binding philosophy. It is politics of perpetuation and perpetual self-interest, world without end amen!
Graciously Akpabio has offered his reasons for leaving the PDP.
At the Ikot Ekpene township stadium, he told the mammoth crowd that came to witness his defection that he decided to join APC because he recently, discovered that President Muhammadu Buhari, a man that has been in the saddle for over three years and the corridors of power before he was born, “is a man of integrity and a nationalist’’. Akpabio also said that he decided to join a party that would sweep away poverty and impunity. He said that he joined APC to help salvage the country, a feat he could not achieve as governor of the state for eight solid years, with unprecedented revenue running into trillions flowing into the state. He also want to join in the war to root out Boko Haram and other killer gangs running amok all over the country. “The country is at war and all the hands must be on deck to salvage the situation and not to aggravate it. “As keepers of national emergency, everyone should put heads together. I decided to join to emancipate the people and provide succour for the people.’’ He also said that the PDP has no vision and the leadership is replete with arrogance.
It is also worthy of note that Akpabio remarked that he wants to leave a united Nigeria for his 9 year old son. That he has only one son and some of you have many but he has only one son. It is but good that he brought his 9 years old child into the equation. Like many of us who have children, we no longer worry about ourselves we worry about the future of a country we are bequeathing to our children. Let him not deceive himself his young child today would be a man tommorow would he be proud of the decision of his father today? The time would come and he better be prepared to answer questions from his son on the decisions he takes today
Akpabio had also complained of the absence of a reward system in the PDP. Whatever that means can only be left to conjecture. However, the distinguished senator should be reminded that he had been a primary beneficiary of the distortion of the Senate rules. The rules with the connivance of his then party, the PDP were held in abeyance for him, then a first time Senator to become the Minority Leader, when the likes of James Manager representing Delta state South senatorial zone ought to have clinched the top position having been in the Senate for over 12 years.
James Manager was beaten to the position not because Akpabio had any value which he was bringing to the table but as a result of the financial firepower of the former governor, and the twisted reward system of the party where he once held sway and helped to nourish for 19 years. To hear Akpabio talking about the lack of a reward system in the PDP speaks volume of the contradictions of Nigerian politicians.
The absurdity of it all is that Akpabio as the poster boy of the PDP has also been one of its greatest beneficiaries. He was a Commissioner under the administration of Obong Victor Attah for eight years from where he rose to become the governor of Akwa Ibom for another eight years before becoming a Senator and Minority Leader in the last three years, all under the platform of the PDP, a party he now demonises.
He says he has come to liberate Akwa Ibom youths from years of PDP suffering and misrule. What a sardonic humour, who has held these youths down for the last 19 years if he now agrees that they have been held down?
Certainly Akpabio is an uncommon politician, but is he fooling the rest of us or just being a useful idiot of the APC?
What perhaps was most striking during the grand ceremony was the vive and theatrics of the chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole as he pranced and romp round the stage with characteristic energy.
His excitement knew no bound as he verbally pummelled the PDP’s 16 years of misrule in Akwa Ibom. Ironically, the poster boy of those years is the new face of change who now finds refuge in the APC family.
An old woman they say is uneasy when dry bones are mentioned in a parable. Akpabio, if there is any honour left in him should have been uneasy at the wit and sarcasm of Oshiomhole as he accused the PDP of robbing the people of Akwa Ibom during its 16 years in power.
Addressing Akwa Ibom people at the rally, Oshiomhole said: “I ask you, if a seasoned notorious armed robber who has been robbing you for 16 years; they tripled the robbery, they digitised the robbery… When you kick them out of office, they sponsor confusion here and there. But the people are saying no matter how you sponsor, we can see behind the facts.” Who are the robbers, the digital robbers and sponsors of confusion Oshiomhole was referring to here?
At some point during the rally one really felt sorry for Akpabio, luckily he covered his face with very dark glasses to cover his embarrassment all through the ceremony.
Oshiomhole was unrelenting in his acerbic and sardonic mockery of Akpabio in the name of celebration, “you have shown by example that there are indeed many distinguished senators who are actually distinguished in every sense of the word…somebody asked me what was I going to do in Akwa Ibom, and I said I was going to receive an uncommon defector”.
Indeed Akpabio has proven to be distinguished and an uncommon defector; however rather than assail our sensibility with the absurdities and contradictions that have become the hallmark of politics and politicians in Nigeria, he should allow us some peace and enjoy his defection in peace, because some of us know the real reason behind his new found love.
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