Akwa Ibom State After Godswill Akpabio: Who Will Clean Up The Mess Of Problems?
May 29, 2015 will be the day of reckoning. On that day, Godswill Akpabio will seize to be the nuisance on the back of Akwa Ibom people. He will leave a legacy and foot-prints that will require a leader with exceptional vision and mission to clean up all of the messes. Here are a few of the items on the list of Akpabio's legacy.
1. Cultism in government---Godswill Akpabio is the first governor to promote and plant cultism in government by placing cultists and their key leaders in positions of responsibilities and authority. If the next governor wants to return peace to the State, he must reduce the influence of cult groups in government (http://www.spyghana.com/names-of-cultists-in-akpabios-administration-update/ ).
2. Political assassination---Until Akpabio became a governor in 2007, political assassinations were unheard of in Akwa Ibom State. Since its introduction under the leadership of Akpabio, the cultists in Akpabio's government have used threats of assassinations to intimidate political opponents (1). http://saharareporters.com/news-page/acn-condemns-murder-its-akwa-ibom-state-spokesman%E2%80%99s-mother-and-brother), (2). (http://sunnewsonline.com/new/politics/the-politics-of-akwa-ibom-alleged-murder-plot/), and (3). (http://www.thisdaylive.com/articles/akwa-ibom-2015-aspirant-alleges-four-assassination-attempts/146291/).
3. Kidnapping for ransom---This is another of Akpabio's legacy, which experts said at its peak of activities in the state, the total ransom paid to kidnappers was approximately one billion naira. Until Akpabio became a governor, kidnapping was unheard of in the state (http://saharareporters.com/news-page/akwa-ibom-two-kidnap-incidents-recorded-within-24-hours-oron).
4. Child kidnapping for rituals---Godswill Akpabio has turned Akwa Ibom State into a place where laws are not obeyed and where people no longer consider the consequences of committing crimes. Child-kidnapping is increasingly becoming a thriving business. It will take a bold leader to clean up on the mess (http://www.modernghana.com/news/507673/1/akwa-ibom-state-child-kidnapping-horror-community-.html).
5. Child abuse---Despite signing the child rights acts into law on December 2008, several children are still being violated in the name of witchcraft and the government has refused to enforce the law (http://www.aksgonline.com/child_rights_law.aspx.)
6. Unemployment---Despite the huge revenue received on a monthly basis from petroleum allocations, unemployment, especially among the youths, is of astronomical proportions and the government of Godswill Akpabio is not even making suggestions as to how to address the problem (http://enews.com.ng/the-current-unemployment-rate-in-akwa-ibom-state/#.UwQbOPldXNk).
7. General Poverty and hunger---While Akpabio, his brothers, and his cronies are comfortably feeding themselves and getting fatter, the masses are becoming leaner and leaner due to poverty and hunger in the state (http://premiumtimesng.com/news/99479-anglican-bishop-tackles-governor-akpabio-on-massive-poverty-in-akwa-ibom.html).
Who will clean up on the mess?
It is very likely that several more candidates will join in the race for the Hilltop Mansion. Many people are hopeful that among them will emerge an individual who will be bold and self-less enough to clean up the legacy that Godswill Akpabio will leave behind. Until a suitable candidate emerges, the indigenes are praying to God Almighty to make sure that none of the ones who have so far made known their ambitions for the governorship race will ever succeed Akpabio.
As one analyst has pointed out; 'All of them (the known candidates) are nothing but a bunch of Akpabio's stooges. From Helen Esuene, Udom Emmanuel, Okpolumn Ette, all the way down to Richard King, none of them will be able to take the bull by the horn. Some of them have had their leadership qualities tested and others have not been tested. Take Udom Emmanuel as an example; other than being a banker, he has never held any political position for anyone to determine his leadership skills. Being a bank manager is different from being a state governor. We made the same blunders with Akpabio, who came from middle of nowhere to becoming a Commissioner and then a governor. Today, just look at what he has done to Akwa Ibom State due to lack of prior political experience and exposure. We don't want such a person again.'
As the race for the 2015 election commences, the most important and closely watched candidates will be those for the governorship race. Akwa Ibom people, irrespective of dialectical and party affiliations, are praying that this time around, God should give them an individual who will be able to listen to them for a better understanding of their plights.
Ikpafak Thompson Essien
City of Portland, Oregon