By Wole Arisekola
What will we not hear from our effusively childish modern politicians? Recently, one of the youthful governors in the South-South region of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Governor Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom, was so proud of his achievements as the first son of the state to fly a private jet to his state from Lagos. According to his submission, “those who came back to Akwa Ibom State through night bus and the ones who came back through chartered flight, are they the same?” If Nigeria is a country where people reward achievements, I think Mr. Emmanuel deserves one or is it not an achievement to fly a private jet to see one’s parents in a mud house? Is it not an achievement to fly a private jet to where you had no single building before you became governor?
This is one of the hazards of promoting individuals beyond their intellectual capacity.
Most renowned politicians started their lives as no-bodies. I am sure Chief Awolowo did not fly a private jet to Ibadan when he became Premier of the Western Region neither did the Sardauna of Sokoto nor Dr. Azikwe. It is so disheartening that our politicians have brought governance to this level. Mr. Emmanuel does not know the difference between the politics of elites and that of the masses. In his own opinion, he has no business with the masses, as long as he continues to fly in his private jet. My mother taught me a popular Yoruba adage that says, “ọmọ ti a ko tọ́ ni yo gbe ile ti a kọ́ ta,” meaning that a child that we do not bring up well, will eventually sell the house we build at a giveaway price. That is the irony of what the AkwaIbomites are passing through in the Land of Promise state, where their Governor sees himself as an elite Governor, he turned governance to that of the elite by the elite for the elite. Whenever he wakes up in the Government House and remembers that he flew a private jet to the Land of Promise, he is pleased and his ego is satisfied. That, to him, is an achievement. He sees himself as someone who is more fortunate than the man who came to Akwa Ibom in a night bus. He doesn’t have any contact with the masses of his state. He is running his government on the air. His achievements are also in the air. What an irony of an empty headed leader!
But His Excellency has forgotten that the road to his village was constructed by a man who came in a night bus. The bridge that leads to his father’s house was constructed by a night bus man. The airport where he landed his chartered private jet was commissioned by the night bus man.
The person he describes as a night bus man is a friend of the masses, a grass root politician, who eats and dines with the masses because he belongs to them. He is not like a private jet passenger who doesn’t have feelings for the poor because he doesn’t belong to them.
Meanwhile, the gods are not to blame; this is where we have found ourselves in this country where we always elect people who have no connection with the masses. They don’t feel the pains, we are going through. They don’t know the prices of yam, garri and plantain in the market. They import their food through their private jets.
It is not the fault of the good people of Akwa Ibom people, but their political leaders who offended the conditions of succession in Acts of the Apostles 1:21-22. That was the real intoxication, that produce the politically novice lagos banker who is not among the boys that were raised to become men by Godswill Akpabio school of retail politics .There is always a price to pay for what we do. Sometimes it comes in a way and from a source we never expected.
But if Emmanuel is upset at his gold medal award “Governor do nothing,” he should not take out his frustrations on Senator Godswill Akpabio. He should face the umpire who gave him the award, the ex-Governor of Akwa Ibom State, His Excellency, Obong Victor Attah.
Akpabio, who rode to Akwa Ibom State in a night bus is however unique. He is such a different man. He has little but gives so much to his people. He is not in the state because of the elite and private jet passengers, but on a mission to transform his people into private jet owners and not passengers.
Akpabio’s life reminds me of Ernesto “Che” Guevara, the young Argentinean doctor who fought all over Latin America for the liberation of his people without much consideration for his personal gain or safety.
He is such a committed man that he will never think of working against his people. His life is all about the welfare of people of Akwa Ibom. His mantra is always, “I am an Akwa Ibom man first and then a Nigerian citizen.”
Like the scripture says, ”many are the tribulations of the righteous but the Lord delivers him from them all.” The good Lord will surely deliver Akpabio from the unwarranted insults from people who denied being beneficiaries of his goodness and indeed joined detractors and political opponents to malign, castigate, denigrate, and condemn him. Amin.
Wole Arisekola is a Lagos-based journalist