SENATOR ITA ENANG’S DEGENERATION
Until somewhere in 2015, I was like many others a consummate fan of Senator Ita Solomon Enang. He was my model legislator; cerebral, sublime, profound and perspicacious. On the floor of the House where he spent a generous 12-years and the Senate chamber where he spent 4, totaling an unbroken 16-years as a representative of his people on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Ita Enang morphed into a national icon and an authority in legislative business.
His political trajectory has also had a uniqueness of some sort that tends to possess some embellishments. It is perhaps why his political odyssey has been christened and entitled him with the peculiar name “Udo mfoniso”, loosely translated as a Second Son with uncanny luck. And this so called luck is not without some shenanigans. For example in 2007, Enang after serving two terms in the House of Representatives felt he had had enough of that Chamber and decided to throw his hat into the ring for a Senate bid. Unable to muster enough war chest which hinged more on generosity to beat the then incumbent, Senator Effiong Bob, he lost the nomination bid to a man who was considered more generous. Enang who did not even buy the form for the House of Representatives rushed to Abuja and used his high wired connection to rob Dr. Henry Archibong the current member of the House of Representatives of a validly won nomination. He wrenched the ticket from Archibong and proceeded to the National Assembly for a third term. Enang the new born democrat and supposed advocate of the people smiled home as a beneficiary of a most reprehensible fraud.
During his third term which began in 2007, Enang sustained a robust relationship with the government in the State. He used every available opportunity to extol the Akpabio administration which in earnest had begun to record outstanding achievements. By the end of Akpabio’s first term, Enang had turned himself into the State Government’s mouthpiece burnishing the image of the then governor with glee and relish. He was also called upon to speak at functions on behalf of the other 9 members of the House of Representatives being the longest serving among all of them. At no opportunity did he show any discontent with the government or volunteered any counseling on any perceived misconduct on the path of that administration.
In 2011, Ita Enang retooled his bid for the Senate against Senator Effiong Bob who was also making a third term dash to the Senate. But political undercurrents in Nsit Ubium nay Uyo Senatorial District threw up some political dynamics that was to become the gain of Ita Enang. A strong man who was well favoured by the Akpabio administration and held the reins of power considered any further political ascension by Bob as injurious to his interest. He therefore decided to work assiduously at whittling down the latter’s power and influence. Bob’s bid to the Senate became very turbulent with the strong man deploying the machinery of government which he had unhindered access to owing to the liberal disposition of the then governor to frustrate him. The rest is history as Bob’s loss became Enang’s gain. Again shenanigan was on display and Enang the advocate of moral uprightness went home happy.
In the Senate, he made every patriotic Akwa Ibom person proud. His legislative competence, knowledge and grasp of issues and eloquence were often regaling. I recall one day that he held the Senate spellbound with his submissions and how I was glued to the television with relish. Enang was on the floor dishing out knowledge to his colleagues. I recall telling my friend who was also watching Enang’s display of wits that even though he is known to be notoriously deficient in generosity, that his quality of representation can compensate for the absence of that virtue. But in 2015, his constituents thought differently and denied him nomination in the party that brought him from obscurity to fame and Senator Ita Enang kicked and has been sulking since. In anger, he left for a party that had no structure in the State and had the shocker of a woeful failure that he is still yet to recover from.
But Enang appears not to be a good student of politics even though he has been a politician all his life. If he were, he would have taken that loss of nomination with equanimity knowing that sooner than later, the people would look for him again especially when the demand for exceptional competence beckons. He would also have known that given his antecedent of ill generosity, there was no way he would win election against Senator Bassey Albert whose fame in generosity remained second to none then except his then boss, Godswill Akpabio. Albert had while a commissioner built a network of goodwill and fanatical loyalty that made it difficult for him to lose a senatorial seat to a man who could not in 16-years point at anybody that he had developed. Known to be notoriously deficient of the gift of generosity, Senator Enang went into that election, dead on arrival.
Senator Ita Enang’s recant on the many positions he held in favour of Akpabio before his waterloo is a shock to his admirers. The hallmark of an honourable man is consistency. But when personal interest overrides public interest, inconsistency becomes the defining mark. Enang’s inordinate quest could not allow him to come to terms with the fact that having been in the legislature for 16-years, he should gladly abdicate it for another person if the people so wish. The people today must be glad that the man who replaced him has also demonstrated admirable competence. After-all, one of our adages posits that it is not one person’s mother that has the gift of preparing delicious soup. We are witnessing the fact that others also have the endowment. This is what Albert’s sojourn to the Senate has proved.
It is a sad note that Senator Enang does not see anything good in the party that made him. It is the equivalent of throwing away the ladder that helped him to ascend heights. Today Enang has adopted the self destructive role of playing spoilsports which in the process has steadily mortified him. He is a regular guest at planet radio with the sole agenda of casting aspersions at PDP, its operators whom he dined with for 16-years and deprecating the exalted office of governor and the occupant. In undertaking this ignoble role, Senator Enang has embarked on a journey of political perdition. This he may not see today as he is deluded with the euphoria of appointment but time will tell. His place as an elder statesman where the benefit of his enormous experience would have been duly exploited has been lost in the labyrinth of political misadventure where its victims allow anger to dictate their political causes. His recent allegation that the State has been mortgaged to Zenith Bank is a wanton display of desperation by a man who is seeking with assiduity ways of bringing down the government. Such asinine comment by Senator Enang is not only unfortunate; it carries with it the misfortune of diminishing his value in the eyes of right thinking people. We plead with him to arrest this degeneration before it becomes intractable and defiant to amenability.
Joe Iniodu is a public affairs analyst