AKPABIO, ASSAM, RUSSIA AND PUNISHMENTS
Last week, as one with a great interest in learning from our leaders, I was drawn to an interview in some local newspapers, not that I like reading interviews, but more because there was something about either the title of the interview or the interviewee, or even both.
One point I make quite clear is that I may not be a direct beneficiary of Governor Akpabio's administration, but I cannot deny my insatiable love for him.
I am not below five, neither am I a pregnant woman nor am I elderly.
That therefore rules me out of Governor Akpabio's free health policy.
I have not benefited from his frequent benefits to civil servants, doctors, teachers, and other public servants, because I am not his servant nor am I a servant to anyone.
As a matter of fact, I am a boss, and I am proud of my big electronic shop along Ekpene Ukpa road in Etinan.
In fact the only time I saw the governor from afar was last year when he waved at us during his commissioning of the roads network he constructed in Etinan such as Adaha Enai, Stadium road, Edidem Umoette road, among others; a rare gesture that has restored Etinan as a major town in the state.
Some time ago, about three years to the end of the tenure of Chief Victor Attah, this same name took the center stage in what has been the greatest individual media attack on the then governor.
Figures, accusations, counter accusations and names calling rented the pages of national newspapers and magazines as Governor Attah made a desperate attempt to redeem an image that Chief Assam Ekanem Assam only tainted effortlessly.
As one of the few senior advocates of Nigeria from this part of the country, it is not surprising that the man from Eket has been so entrusted with various degrees of responsibilities and he has apparently not been found wanting.
From the little we heard from him, no further proof was needed to show that Assam is indeed a worthy ambassador, at least so it was thought.
It was that interview from Assam Assam which was published in several newspapers, an interview that really shocked more than it surprised me.
The shock was not because the elder statesman berated Governor Akpabio's achievements, for that is what we read every day by those on the other side of the political divide.
The shock was in the assertion that Akpabio sent him to Russia as a punishment.
Although the learned gentleman has not told us what offence he committed to warrant such a punishment, I can't help wondering if Jonathan has so forgotten his responsibilities that Governors now appoint people and post them to countries of their choices as ambassadors.
If that is the case, is Ambassador Assam saying that Akpabio also appointed and posted others like Chief Ojo Maduekwe, Lady Bianca Ojukwu as ambassadors? If actually Bianca and others were posted by Akpabio or his fellow Governors as ambassadors, are they also serving punishments? Is Assam Assam Akwa Ibom's ambassador to Russia or Assam's definition of punishments far differs from my primary knowledge of the subject, but since it is coming from a learned fellow, I have no hesitation agreeing with him.
Now the big question that keeps raging in my mind is, why is Akpabio punishing his senior colleague this much? Does he not have recourse to seniority again? Why is the NBA keeping quiet while one of their senior members is punished this much by another colleague of theirs by name Governor Akpabio, where is the spirit of comradeship? Why has Chief Assam not reported this assault to the international court at Hague, but prefers the newspapers? A closer look at the interview shows that Akpabio usurped the power of the President and posted Chief Assam to Russia to get him far from his people and thereby make him lose touch.
If this explanation by Assam is true, then it presents us with the kind of chastisements that this Governor is fond of giving to his people - uncommon punishment.
A renowned advocate that discovers that he was being punished, yet decides to submit himself to the punishment, leaves a lot of vulnerable ones like us in a dilemma of confusion.
Was Assam forced to the Senate Chambers and the security agencies for clearance or he paid his way to Abuja and begged (lobbied) to be cleared so he could embark on this punishment? There is a popular French black footballer who plays for AC Milan FC, and one can easily remember the inscription on his inner shirt anytime he pulls up his jersey 'why always me', and for our learned senior brother we ask, why is he always punished by Akpabio? First he was punished with the position of Special Adviser on legal matters, and while the man was pleading to be salvaged from such punitive measure, Akpabio slammed a 'salt to injury' by penalizing him with the position of Attoney General and Commissioner for Justice.
As if that was not enough, the Ede Urua born legal luminary was chastised with the position of Nigeria's Ambassador to Russia.
I have been wondering Assam wakes up each morning and laments all day on the streets of Moscow, or he does attend to diplomatic issues with diplomats who are there in the true sense of it and not as punishments? Assam is not the only person that is on the receiving end of Akpabio's punishments.
Everyone is aware that he has punished the people of his state with more projects than they have witnessed in their entire lifetime, and he is also renowned with punishing the unemployed with several mouthwatering empowerment programmes, just as he punishes the children by chasing them to school free of charge.
As I join several others to sympathize with the unfortunate Assam Assam(SAN), I will appeal to Governor Akpabio to forgive Chief Assam of whatever he may have done wrong by terminating the punishment he is passing through in Russia, and to fill the vacuum, I present myself- Akpabio please punish me instead.
I am ready for Russia.
Written By Bassey Ubokudom