This is my story and I can only begin the telling with asking the following questions:
Why are all the major and front line politicians – who congregated as leaders and movers of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for not less than 15 years from the beginning of the 4th Nigerian Republic in 1999, enjoying various juicy political portfolios on behalf of the party at various stages, and who, as defectors from the PDP at various times from about 4years ago, joined the All Progressive Congress (APC) – in and from Akwa Ibom State afraid of Senator (Dr) John James Akpanudoedehe? It is absolutely clear that they are afraid of him and the common people rightly know about this.
Why are these politicians always unnecessarily building despicable confederate alliances against the very distinguished senator and erstwhile minister of the federal republic each time he aspires to govern Akwa Ibom State? Is it about anything they seriously intend to protect for themselves because they have been constantly in government?
This essay could only start well with the above questions. This is an eye witness account of political happenings in Akwa Ibom State, so it can only make sense if those who are reading this now know something about this witness:
I convened the All Progressive Congress Patriots Grouping in Akwa Ibom State as a platform upon which I can fulfill the “Change begins with me” mandate of the present federal administration, to contribute to the sociopolitical development and advancement of my people in my home State, Akwa Ibom, the coinage, which means the “Ultimate Totality”, and derives from the characteristics of the Almighty God, AkwaAbasi IbomEnyong.
So my mission is about ensuring that a part of our Lord’s prayer, having to do with our collective responsibility: “THY WILL BE DONE ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN…give us THIS DAY our daily bread…” is executed on earth (in Nigeria and in Akwa Ibom State) daily, as a divine mandate. In executing God’s will around me, I must not be afraid of men who can kill the body, but must rather fear him who can quench the fiery darts of my enemies.
“Thy will be done on earth (in Nigeria, and in Akwa Ibom State this day) as it is in heaven” is the mission in my heart. I can tell you that Senator Godswill Akpabio understands this application of God’s will very well, sometimes attempting to use his own name to abuse it. I watched him severally leading worship sessions for Jesus in Carols at the Uyo Township Stadium on television, singing with world class worship artistes, so I expect him to know God in this understanding.
It is for this reason that I am destined to tell the truth in my walk with Jesus in the politics of this country and that of my state – Akwa Ibom. Many have died in different and diverse political struggles and many will still die. It is God that saves his own to the very end, and I have believed that it possible not to die (John 11:26). So I am grateful to God for my life, but here on earth, I have a duty to carry my cross and follow Jesus. This contribution is my story following the politics of Akwa Ibom State so far.
First, I must confess that as a “returnee”, as my very own relatives called me when I returned to live among them, machinating against my progress, living in Akwa Ibom State has been another level of schooling for me, and by this I miss my brothers in the north so so much: they are all loving people. I returned to Akwa Ibom State to find out that the people I believed so much in when I was growing up, some of who even shared my bed with me in my father’s house for so many years, were strange men and women, especially because my father had died before I returned, and he died from the poison they administered on him. The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not (suffer) want.
I later understood how my living among them fueled their insecurities and discontentment, painting themselves unnecessarily as a bunch of wicked people. They even robbed me of the traditional stool for which my father was successor immediate and I am his Chief Mourner, because they see me as an “Aboki”. This was from the fear of who they know me to be: a bold and courageous man. And I insist that I have the same rights as they all have if our rule of law is just and fair to all. I am insisting that our rule of law in the entire Akwa Ibom State MUST be just. For me to live (therefore) is Christ and to die is gain – this is my confession.
Things that happen in other States of the federation happen though as they were, but what happens in Akwa Ibom State is stranger to me than they were in the over 32 States that I have traversed in Nigeria. Let me limit this discuss to my participations in the politics of Akwa Ibom State because I am endangered living in Akwa Ibom State and doing what I know best to do – service delivery.
Having observed that I was idle in my hometown (to which I returned in order not to owe God my mother’s life should anything happen to her), and this was at the time when the Akwa Ibom State government scheduled the last local government election that took place in December 2017, my cousin, the son of my late senior aunt called my attention to the activities in the processes that led to that election. He is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He told me plainly “bros, do not just sit in, come out and join us in this political process. I know you will make a quicker advance than me in this game, but please do not forget me when things turn better”.
That was how he led and introduced me to a section of the PDP in my ward. This set of PDP members were assembled to challenge the status quo, and I felt happy to join them. They had a very laudable reason to fight the status quo because the member of the LGA transition committee they helped up from the ward politically got up there and contracted strange friends. So they totally rejected him as their leader during that election.
In my ward, against the status quo, we chose an aspirant to support for that election as a Councillor. And we made sure we pooled every member of the PDP in our ward to vote against the desires of those in government, in order to deliver our aspirant. That evening, our aspirant emerged the councillorship candidate of the PDP in my ward. That the Chairmanship nomination of the party was quickly redrafted to hold in Uyo instead of allowing it take place in our LGA showed how the status quo was forced into panic mode in my LGA. It was a successful popular revolt against the status quo.
Our delegates, forced to Uyo for the Chairmanship nomination – I chose to present myself as an observer during these processes and not as a PDP member because I was not yet a member of the party – returned to announce the loss of our Chairmanship aspirant and the setting aside of our victory at the Councillorship nomination, allegedly instigated by the State Governor, my response to this assault on democracy was that I do not care what happened in Uyo but I think we can protest the setting aside of our candidate by selling our structure to the APC to fill our candidate as their candidate and test the will of the State Governor.
I was clearly asked to forget it. And up till now, the aspirant we supported has not deemed it fit to return to address us. For me, trying the PDP became a very big mistake for me – I met people who find contentment with the status quo but I wanted more for my change mandate. So I returned to my house again, feeling very sad that a governor can hand pick his hangers on to disenfranchise the people he should govern under the rule of law, and steal away from them the mandate they willing gave in a democratic balloting. I returned to my cousin and said goodbye to the PDP. He only responded “na so we dey see am ooo, bros!”
A kinsman of mine who had followed my contributions during that PDP outing accosted me one day. He is a diehard member of the APC. He led me into the main stream APC led at that time by Dr Ahmadu Attai, the State Chairman under John Oyegun. I was introduced to the APC in my ward, and was made an elder at the ward level at once, with a recommendation for me to represent my ward at the LGA chapter of the party – I appreciated the acceptance I enjoyed among them.
I participated in the last LGA elections in Akwa Ibom State as a member of the APC, having fulfilled my financial obligations, and acted as the ward agent of the party. Although that election was a sham, the participation of the mainstream APC in that election was not for the purpose of that election, I discovered that it was to pool sharable resources from the sponsors of the party. The present clamour by these men for the governorship endorsement, not his aspiration ooo, of Obong Nsima Ekere, is a debt they owe him for illegitimately stealing from him in TGE name of party funding. They want him to be governor because he funds the party in the State. That is laughable. And I pray he wakes up from his gubernatorial dream.
Again, I found myself among people who appeared well fed but unfortunately have the passion for always been hungry and never attaining contentment. Their politics starts and ends with what is immediately available, and this is sad. Their political programs are geared towards constant spending of money and taking all the balance from the bloated budget home. Their biggest error of judgment is in their bloated self importance, making them exclusive when benefits are available for disbursement to party men and women. They are leaders who dish party benefits as personal gifts to take the vulnerable captive. I felt suffocated among these people and craved for “the breath of fresh air”.
After a while, upon retiring home again, my APC kinsman invited me again to meet with the faction labelled as “Real APC”. Here was the congregation of diehard grassroots opposition elements in my hometown, who have not touched anything that is PDP but who have found dedicated and acceptable leadership in Senator (Dr) John James Akpanudoedehe. By the time I finished listening to the story of this distinguished Nigerian, I decided to give him a watch too.
Pitching my political tent with this icon of the opposition struggle in Akwa Ibom State, and a fore runner of the APC in Nigeria encouraged me to convene like minded “returnees” to Akwa Ibom State from across Nigeria, and draw their attention to the politics of Akwa Ibom State, under the umbrella of the APC Patriots Grouping, as a platform for expressing ourselves politically through channels availed us by well intent members of the party who are sympathetic to our cause as “returnees” to the State, suffering indigenous hate, in order to feed our access to the social media as a means of our security before the whole world, as a pivotal step to inject our contributions to the sociopolitical order, to change the incumbent rascality at the different levels of governance in the State of Akwa Ibom. We are stakeholders too.
Unlike my past political alliances with the PDP and the mainstream APC in my locality, alliances in which I felt subdued and unwanted, my meeting with these humble and vulnerable men and women who would rather push me up, trusting that I can represent them, has helped me to grow so quickly in my desire to contribute to the next governance dispensation in the State. I say this again: God is raising men and women who will rather see themselves as stewards of the most high God in Nigeria. It must turn out well for Nigeria and Nigerians, in Jesus name, Amen.
I met with Senator (Dr) Akpanudoedehe face to face during the elective party congresses held between May and June 2018. He had called out all the electoral agents for candidates under his watch, who were contesting for party offices in various wards and chapters, to Uyo to monitor distribution and movement of men and materials to the different localities where congresses will hold. We were ready for an elective congress to elect ward officers. Rather than produce materials for the congress, the members of the State Caucus came up with what they called “harmonization and consensus”.
They all agreed among themselves that to avoid unnecessary tension in the State that should emanate from the elective congress, the lists of the executive committee members for the wards and local government chapters should be “harmonized”, whatever it meant to them. When we were deliberating on the outcome of this decision, I openly told Dr Akpanudoedehe that the decision he was forced to concede will not “favour” him in my LGA.
His response was very simple “don’t mind if it favours me or not, just go and do what we agreed should be done”. Today strange men are rejecting what they forced others into. The ones refutting the “2014 lists” today are the same people who led us to the lists in the first place. What kind of rascality is this? This is about the will of God on earth…why twist sequence, why hate straightforwardness?
Interestingly, when my engineer uncle heard I was working out in the APC together with “Team JJA”, he called me and told me to be careful. I asked why? He said the distinguished senator trades with the support of his followers. I heard him but told him that the story was a recurrent one and it sounds like old wives’ tales.
I told him that those he said were maimed, today, use their scars to show for following Dr Akpanudoedehe and they are still following him with bullet wounds on them. Yet, people who heard about the attack on the senator and his supporters in Ikot Ekpene in 2011 to all that ugly story, attempting to paint the picture that Dr Akpanudoedehe undertook his political campaign to Ikot Ekpene in order to have them killed for cash – there is a mental challenge in such reasonings, believe me.
Dr Akpanudoedehe has not abandoned the families of those who died following him to Ikot Ekpene. He has dedicated a foundation for them, and one of the reason he deserve red to be governor is to compensate for the sacrifices of the dead for the present success of the opposition struggle. Today, those who killed them are back with them. It shows how their blood, shed by the same men fusing around us has watered the growth of the opposition struggle in Akwa Ibom State. Today, we see a strong opposition Movement. Thanks to this distiguished Nigerian.
When an aspirant for one of the senatorial seats in the state was presented to him for his blessings, he was told “this one will not give you any headache when he is in the senate”. He cautioned, “do not make the mistake of thinking that I need people who will not give me headache, choose people who will serve you with the fear of God”. Senator (Dr) JJ Akpanudoedehe’s greatest weakness is his bluntness. He hits you with his words with a smile at the corners of his mouth. I have heard it that in politics you do not say everything. He is the most blackmailed and misunderstood politician in Akwa Ibom State.
Why would Senator Akpanudoedehe mind if Senator Akpabio met him after his defection from PDP seeking to negotiate his support for him (Senator Akpanudoedehe) and he (Senator Akpabio) left to support Dr Nsima Ekere because the former said his governorship ambition is not negotiable based on the need to compensate for the electoral robbery he suffered in 2011.
It is strongly rumoured that Dr Nsima Ekere has accepted to support Senator Akpabio’s reelection and the nomination of his Unoma as Deputy Governor. Senator Akpabio cannot accepted the reality that he has attended the pinnacle of political authority in our State, and he cannot return there again by any guise – if he failed with Udom, as he failed with Nsima, and all others he is presently teaming up with, he will also fail with his wife. He is now on a downward slide. It is just a natural phenomenon.
Let me cut this long story short: Senator (Dr) JJ Akpanudoedehe’s circle of supporters do need any bait from him to follow him. His followers willingly spend and are spent to follow him. His call has always been to whosoever will come. He will not hold you from leaving.
Whenever he is around, his gates are flung. The traffic into his Chapel Villa residence is like that of pilgrims to “holy” sites. He is humane, urbane, compassionate and a very simple man.
His stay on truth and righteousness is commendable. His policy direction on heath, education, housing, infrastructural development, economic expansion and occupation is laudable.
I hereby and hereto commend Senator John James Akpanudoedehe PhD to all Akwa Ibom people for “the governor we can trust” to permit the breath of fresh air in our State. Those who fear him are those who have ripped us off and they all know that should he become governor of Akwa Ibom State, they will all be in trouble. They are all married to Igbo women and they have annexed our lands and markets. What they try to resist is how what cannot happen in Onitsha should not happen in Uyo. Nevertheless, that is altogether in the figment of their blurred, warped and clouded imaginations.
So I call out all the supporters of Dr Akpanudoedehe to gather en mass together with our new converts to the party, to go all out on Saturday, 29 September 2018 and return him as the Gubernatorial Flag bearer of the APC for Akwa Ibom State. This is “EKEMINI”
Ini Akpan Morgan writes in from Uyo via “firstname.lastname@example.org“