Don Etiebet Vindicates The Critics Of Godswill Akpabio
When it comes to the politics of Nigeria, Chief Don Etiebet has no equal. Those who have been trailing his political career describe him as a “Founding Father and Permanent Member of the Board of Trustees of PDP.” In his native State of Akwa Ibom, when the Chief sneezes, everyone listens. No one can argue against the fact that Chief Don Etiebet is a true political icon.
In 2002 or 2003, when Obong Victor Attah wanted another Commissioner from Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District, Chief Don Etiebet went out of his way to recommend Akpabio for the slot. Akpabio remained in the administration of Obong Attah until he resigned in 2006, or in the early part of 2007, to contest for governor.
Since 2007 when Akpabio became the governor of Akwa Ibom State, Chief Etiebet became proud of him. He would fondly refer to Akpabio as “my Annang brother,” and “our son.”
When the going was good Chief Etiebet refused to see all the state-sponsored killings, the kidnappings, the assassinations, and the arbitrary arrests of those that Akpabio perceived as his enemies. The critics of Akpabio, who risked their lives to expose all these atrocities, were branded as jobless and attention seekers, who have refused to see the “Uncommon Transformation” agenda of Godswill Akpabio.
For Chief Don Etiebet, Akpabio was the Moses of Akwa Ibom State, who was so good that all his agenda came directly from God Almighty. As far as Godswill Akpabio was concerned, the Chief saw no evil, refused to hear any evil, and would never dare utter a word of condemnation against all the atrocities that Godswill Akpabio committed against indigenes of the State, especially to those of the Ibibio-speaking group.
But what Chief Etiebet did not know was that Akpabio could not stand him. The first trouble came when Godswill Akpabio used the oil money accrued to the State to buy his way into the political hierarchy of PDP. As soon as Akpabio was admitted into the Board of Trustee, his first move was to engineer the removal of the Chief from the Board of Trustee of the PDP. When Akpabio failed to succeed in this mischief, he and his brothers manipulated the party structure to take away the influence of Chief Etiebet in the party politics of Akwa Ibom State.
On September 6, 2014, all the enmities between the Chief and Akpabio, that have brewing behind closed doors, burst into the open. Chief Etiebet called for a Press Conference and narrated to the journalists some of the evils of Godswill Akpabio.
Chief Etiebet accused Akpabio of making statements calculated to incite the youths into insulting and physically attack the elders. He accused Akpabio of manipulating the PDP structure in Akwa Ibom State. According to Chief Etiebet, the untoward behaviors of Akpabio are what has been creating and sustaining ethnic tension in the State.
Those who are not familiar with the politics of Akwa Ibom State may think that Chief Don Etiebet has done nine-day-wonders by saying what he said against Akpabio. But to the ardent critics of Akpabio's administration, such as me, the Honorable Chief said nothing new. Since 2007, we (the critics of Akpabio) have been saying all, and more, of what Chief Etiebet narrated to the journalists at the Press Conference.
While the critics of Akpabio feel vindicated, I am of the opinion that the words of the Chief have come too late.
If Don Etiebet had pointed out the atrocities of Akpabio early enough, it is very highly likely that Chief Albert Ukpanah would be alive today.
If Chief Don Etiebet had condemned the evils of Godswill Akpabio when it began, it is very likely that Edidem James Robert Obot, the Paramount Ruler of Nsit Ubium, would be alive today.
When Chief Ukpanah was assassinated, Chief Don Etiebet said nothing. When Mamma Philomena Udonwa was kidnapped and murdered, Chief Don Etiebet said nothing. During the 2011 gubernatorial election, Akpabio ordered Mrs. Comfort Ewang kidnapped, Chief Don Etiebet said nothing----he was dining and wining with Godswill Akpabio and proudly referring to him as my “Annang brother.”
The Holy Bible says “If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered.” (Proverb 21:13---NIV.)
Though it would be unfair to associate Chief Don Etiebet with the evils of Godswill Akpabio, his experiences in life could have warned him against the dangers of not using his political influence and position in the society to speak out in public (as he does now) against the evils of Godswill Akpabio.
The Chief also failed to listen to these words of wisdom: “When you sit to dine with a ruler,” the Holy Bible warns, “note well what is before you, and put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony. Do not crave his delicacies for that food is deceptive.” (Proverb 23:1-3---NIV).
Despite the lateness in speaking out, I join other critics of Akpabio to say that we appreciate the courage of Chief Don Etiebet for speaking the truth and enlightening the people of Akwa Ibom State, as many of us have been doing since 2007.
Say no to imposition. Akpabio must be probed!
Ikpafak Thompson Essien
The Voice of the Poor Masses
Defender of the Oppressed
A native of Ibibio nation of Ubium Republic extraction, now living in the safe and beautiful city of Portland, Oregon, where no AKPF, ADUMA, ADV, and Akwa Ibom State politicians can reach