Akwa Ibom State Politics: The Clash of the Corrupt and the Evil
After the 2006-2007 general elections in Akwa Ibom State, Saviour Udo heard a knock on his door. When he opened it, he saw Godswill Akpabio standing with his hands inside the pockets of his trousers. Without even waiting to be asked, Akpabio stepped inside the house and told Saviour Udo his missions for visiting him. It was the beginning of a drama that would play silently for a little over six years. Now, God is bringing onto the open-place an evil game which was played in the dark; who says God is not patient?
During that election of 2006-2007, after all the voting materials were collated and counted, Saviour Udo had won the Senate seat to represent Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District in Abuja. A certificate of clearance was also issued to him by INEC. A further look at the result showed that Aloysius Etok came fourth in the number of votes counted; he lost the election. But as event played out, Saviour Udo never served in the Senate, instead, it was Aloysius Etok who showed up in Abuja as the Senator representing the people of Ikot Ekpene District under the PDP platform. Since then, no one bothered to ask why and how Aloysius Etok, who lost the election, ended up serving the people as a Senator, until now.
And what happened to Saviour Udo, who won the election and was issued a Certificate of Clearance?
Shortly before he entered the gubernatorial race of 2006-2007, Akpabio had resigned from the administration of Obong Attah, in which he served as a Commissioner. Despite serving as a Commissioner, Akpabio had a name-recognition problem to deal with, especially within the national structure of PDP. Those who supported his candidacy at the time knew that without the endorsement of President Obasanjo, his chances of becoming a governor would have been nil. If the election was fairly conducted, Godswill Akpabio would never have emerged as a governor because at that time no one knew him, except few in the administration of Obong Attah, in which he had served as a Commissioner.
When Akpabio was dragged before OBJ for endorsement, eye-witnesses said there was something about Akpabio that OBJ did not like and had to reluctantly give his endorsement after expressing caution and doubts regarding the personality and the character of Akpabio.
The endorsement by OBJ gave Akpabio the confidence he needed. As soon as he returned to Akwa Ibom, he immediately began to play the “governor,” even before elections were conducted. Confident that he would win, Akpabio engaged in all sorts of deals, including sweet-talking (he had no access to money at the time) Saviour Udo into giving up his hard-earned victory to Aloysius Etok. At first Saviour Udo hesitated. But after being promised Heaven and earth, including hell, though this was not mentioned at the time, he caved in to the pressure of Akpabio.
Upon being sworn in as a governor on May 29, 2007, and to fulfill his promise, Akpabio made Saviour Udo his Special Adviser, then a Commissioner, and finally a member in the House of Representative, while Aloysius showed up in Abuja as a Senator. Since then, Aloysius Etok and Saviour Udo have been regaling in the evil drum-beats of Godswill Akpabio----lying for him, even when they knew he was wrong, and defending him over matters as horrible as framing up innocent indigenes of the state and the loss of lives of many. And God was watching, in fact, He is still watching.
I don't know about Saviour Udo, but in the case of Aloysius Etok, it is very clear that he had eluded the wisdom of God. If he had listened to that proverbial “small still” voice, he would have learned from the mistakes of people like Dr. Ime Umana and Nsima Ekere not to share a plate with a devil, let alone share the same spoon.
Now Akpabio is putting a demand-note on Aloysius Etok to give back to him what in essence was a gift. He wants Aloysius Etok to give up his Senate seat. But Aloysius is fighting to retain the seat and many people are wondering why.
Though the entire drama is yet to unfold, his (Aloysius) own people are struggling to impress Akpabio by being the first to “disown” him, including those who used to eat from him, sleep with him, depend on him, and enjoy with him over his corrupt postures. Even his fellow lawmakers, who, just a few days ago, were extolling his virtues as the best Senator Nigeria has ever produced, are distancing themselves from him
What Godswill Akpabio, Aloysius Etok, and Saviour Udo discussed in the dark are unfolding now in the open to haunt them. Interestingly, Aloysius Etok wants people to feel sorry for him.
While all these drama are going on, the ordinary folks are on the sideline, waiting to gulp the windfall that will result from the circus performances of these corrupt and evil men. Due to blind loyalties on both sides, ethnic sentiments are boiling between the Annang-speaking and the Ibibio-speaking indigenes of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial Districts. Once again, Akpabio stands to gain from another whipped-up ethnic sentimentality of which he is a well known catalyst.
Meanwhile, all Aloysius Etok has the nerve to do is to say that he is “disappointed with the governor.” Really?
This is a man, despite being a two-term Senator, has never won any election, not even once. Here is a man who, over the years, has collaborated with Akpabio to victimize the innocents and the guiltless. Here is a man who has been in the position, but refused, to condemn the evil behaviors of Akpabio for killing tens and for kidnapping hundreds of Akwa Ibom people, especially of Ibibio extraction.
Now, the chicken has come home to roost and our dearest Senator Aloysius Etok wants Ibibio people and the entire members of Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District to come and feel sorry for him. Well, brother, as you made your bed, go and sleep on it.
Perhaps others, who still think that Godswill Akpabio is such a big deal, will begin to learn the simple truth of life; eat with the devil, drown with the devil.
Sooner than later, many of such people will fall. Nsima Ekere went down that route. Now Aloysius Etok is going down. And Umana Okon Umana is the next person in line to go down, before Akpabio goes.
Meanwhile, let's fold our hands and watch as the circus of the evil doers is approaching your side of dwelling.
Ikpafak Thompson Essien is an Oregon based political analyst