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Friday, August 31, 2018

Udom Emmanuel, Akpabio and managing The Revelations.

By Osondu Ahirika 

On June 2, 2007, few days after he was sworn in as Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Chief Dr Godswill Obot Akpabio, 7while receiving a report from the Transition Committee dropped a bomb. He announced that, his predecessor, who he served as Commissioner for about 7 years, Obong (Arc.) Victor Attah, left behind an empty treasury and over N40 billion debt for the new administration. 

That revelation, despite later attempts to rephrase it, sparked a war that has not ended till date between both leaders, and, to some extent, their associates. The cold War and hot peace that defined the relationship between them, largely feeds from that flippant moment. The business of government was undressed before a public with itching ears. Akwa Ibom, unqualifiably, lost so much, as a consequence of the rivalry of both Attah and Akpabio, for eight years. That indiscretion did not help anyone.

Let's visit Kano State, where the incumbent governor, Abdullahi Ganduje is locked in a bitter battle with his erstwhile godfather and predecessor, Alhaji Rabiu Kwankwaso. After assuming office, his Deputy, who headed the Transition Committee accused Kwankwanso of having left, not only an empty Treasury, but additional liability of N379 billion.

Every other day, there is fear of what might be, a deadly fracas of unimaginable proportion, between sympathizers of the Ganduje administration and members of the Kwankwansiyah Movement, as Kwankwanso's massive political structure is called, in Kano. The State has not known real peace ever since, that public derobing of Kwankwanso was made. 

Folks', a woman's dignity lies in her private part. Any woman that demands honour must guard her privacy with utmost jealousy and keep it inviolable, and free from assault, by randy suitors. That is approximately what Government is, anywhere in the world. 

Government is like the 'Ekpo(Masquerade) society. The secrecy of the cult, known only to initiates, is what gives the Ekpo, both its dread and fascination, in the estimation of the people. In Ibibio culture, the, 'Nsibidi', is the secret sign language understood only by members. The uninitiated is left diminished and confounded, when confronted to decode or unravel the 'Nsibidi' bait. Government is in like manner, reverred by the people, when it's dignity is covered. 

This is reason, some documents in government are marked as classified. Information in such documents, must not, by any means, be made open to public privy or scrutiny. Understandably, anytime, any Government declassifies a file, the political heat that follows cannot be mistaken. 

Ever wondered why oath of secrecy is administered to certain categories of Government officials? It is because, that is what gives government its mystique. Even the Freedom of Information Bill, has not been sufficient enough, to strip government bare of her many secrets. Indeed, Goverment, rather than undress herself in public, will invoke the doctrine of State security, to neutralize any irresistible pressure to open the pandora box. 

This is where I disagree, with those who aver that, Governor Udom Emmanuel should be crucified for not exposing his predecessor, immediate past Senate Minority Leader, Chief Akpabio's perceived malfeasance in office, once he took over. In my opinion, he acted in good judgment and conscience not to do so. 

First, it is an unpardonable act to bite the fingers that feed you, moreso, without provocation. Akpabio fought hard and gave his all, to ensure Governor Emmanuel, emerged his preferred successor in office. It would be an indefensible error in judgment for Udom Emmanuel to have turned against him. 

Secondly, Udom Emmanuel was an integral part of the Akpabio administration, having served as Secretary to Government in the last near two years. How idly disgusting it would have sounded, to start condemning the administration once he took over. Don't mind the hypocrisy of persons who held top positions in the PDP government for 16 years, who defect and begin to shout that, PDP is a corrupt party. A principled man who has integrity won't be that stupid. 

Again, Chief Akpabio was his mentor, and only broke the rule book, when, he elected to transmute into a Tormentor. Whereas, Udom Emmanuel knew that, Government is a continuum, and that, his, is technically an extension of the Akpabio administration in a political relay race, he did the expected - to zip up and not let governments be left pants down. 

Problem is, when Akpabio, whether playing to the gallery, or suffering a slip of logorrhoea, made that infamous, 'All is not well in Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District' statement, he inexcusably set-up the Government, on an irretrievable naked dance. 

Akpabio had unwittingly set the alarm bells buzzing, and Governor Udom Emmanuel was left with little or no room for maneuver. Only a right of response will do, especially, since Akpabio accused him of deliberate abandonment of his Legacy Projects, including, the Tropicana Entertainment center, Four Points by Sheraton, Uyo - Ikot Ekpene Road dualization the Ibom Specialist Hospital. 

Folks', believe me if you will, opening the Can of worms on these projects, can set Akwa Ibom State on fire. So, it is better, to err on the side of caution and let sleeping dogs lie. Describing Udom Emmanuel as 'Cowardly' in his measured revelations on the Four Points by Sheraton, with a threat, to spill the beans, on all the other issues, is being very unkind to him. I call on Governor Emmanuel not to be distracted or provoked into stripping Government naked. Let there be peace. 

I recall the story of a woman who at the point of childbirth, was facing certain death, as she, going by Ibibio tradition called 'Ekpo Nka Owo', must confess and mention all the men she committed adultery with or die. She mentioned three men and could not mention the last partner in crime. When pressured to mention the person, she elected rather to die. Thus, the Ibibios say, 'utu ke nsiak akpan ama mmi, mfit aya nwo essien', translated, 'rather than reveal the identity of my secret lover, I submit to the bier. 

Imagine the shock that will greet us, if a revelation on the abandoned NDDC, Federal, State and Local projects becomes public knowledge. The skeletons in the cupboard of Government, even private companies, organizations, institutions, mosques and churches are scary, and it will do the society a lot of good to manage them out of public spectacle. 

Folks', Governor Emmanuel knows his onions, let him be. Now that he has been provoked to threaten convoking a world Press Conference to open the books of the past, I beg Senator Akpabio not to allow Push turn to Shove. 

I rest my case.

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