Nseobong Okon-Ekong writes that the recent obsequies of the father of Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State may have set the stage for a new season of friendly relations between political groups
All roads led to Uyo, capital of Akwa Ibom State last Saturday as the remains of the Late Elder Gabriel Emmanuel Nkanang, father of Akwa Ibom Governor, Udom Emmanuel were committed to mother earth. Expectedlly, it provided the much needed opportunity to build bridges during that rare moment when Nigerians of diverse political, cultural, traditional, corporate and religious divides came together and created a great optics of what Nigeria is capable of becoming: togetherness, unity in diversity, love beyond ancient animosities and parochial attachments, brotherhood that is pure and untainted, religious tolerance that can be exhilarating.
Imagine the Emir of Kano, His Highness Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, walking into the venue while the presiding pastor was preaching the gospel, and he sat down and listened to the preaching.
There was the immediate past Senate President, Bukola Saraki with his successor, Dr. Ahmad Lawan exchanging pleasantries and laughing and cracking jokes, former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo and Goodluck Jonathan with his wife, Mama Patience, Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, captains of commerce and industry-Jim Ovia, Central Bank Governor, Godwin Emefiele, Managing Director of Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe, Governors on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) led by Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) and Ekiti State Governor , Kayoide Fayemi, Governor Godwin Obaseki; of Edo State, Governor Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, Governir Sani Bello of Niger State, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State and Governor Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State.
The funeral of Pa Nkanang was recorded as the first public outing of Governor Duoye Diri of Bayelsa State who was sworn-in as governor the previous day.
A long list of former governors were also at the event to commiserate with Emmanuel. They include former governors, Peter Obi, Boni Haruna, Gabriel Suswan, Ayo Fayose, Rabiu Kwankwanso, Ibrahim Dankwambo, Sule Lamido, James Ibori, Attahiru Bafarawa, Donald Duke and Obong Victor Attah among others.
The gathering in Uyo may have pointed at the coming alignment and realignment in politics, especially with the recent de deregistration of ‘non-performing political parties. There is a possibility of the major actors in the 18 political parties recognised by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), taking the initiative to forge new working relationship that may further reduce the number of vibrant political parties in the country.
The prevailing rumours of the disintegration of the APC and a possible change of name of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were thick in the air in Uyo, with the strong contention that a good number of the existing political parties that may want to work with the PDP have made a compelling case for a name change.
In Uyo, Pa Nkanang’s funeral allowed like-minds to deliberate the progress of Nigeria. This was made possible by the charitable disposition of Governor Emmanuel and his ability to see things through the prism of national unity, as opposed to blind partisanship.