OPEN LETTER TO OUR GOVERNOR,
HIS EXCELLENCY, CHIEF GODSWILL OBOT AKPABIO, CON
My dear Excellency,
ISSUES FROM THE VISIT OF THE PDP NATIONAL CHAIRMAN, ALHAJI ADAMU MU’AZU TO AKWA IBOM STATE ON WEDNESDAY, 16TH JULY, 2014
Please permit me to bring the following observations, though belated, to your attention with regards to the visit of the National Chairman of your Party, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu on Wednesday, 16th July, 2014. This letter is coming to you now due to the fact that I travelled out of the Country a few days after the visit and have just returned home.
I had the misfortune of having to fly out of Uyo Airport on the day your National Chairman was received. For lack of better words, the scene on the Airport access road to the airport was tumultuous. We had to trek for kilometers with luggages to access the airport; a number of people missed their flights. And this impasse started some six hours before the arrival of the guest, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu.
I do not expect you to know about the suffering of the poor masses given your shielded life as a Governor. That is why I am bringing this to your notice just in case you can assist to minimize such suffering by your subjects.
I am not for a moment suggesting that you can stop the political culture that seems to have come to stay – that of hired crowds to receive dignitaries to create the desired impressions of popularity and acceptability for the host and the guest. What I want to convey is for you and your government to plan how to get your aides to plan the mobilization, deployment and crowd control to minimize the sufferings of citizens who go about their normal duties. If nothing is done, I can imagine what will happen if the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria visits. The alternative is for you to order the closure of offices, airports and markets so we can have some peace and respect in our homes anytime dignitaries visit Akwa Ibom State.
Remarks by His Excellency at the Ground Breaking Ceremony of the new Party Secretariat
My Excellency, permit me to say this; most of us wrongly regard the word ‘Excellency’ as another word for the ‘Governor’. Certainly we need to correct this impression. The word ‘Excellency’ is used for the Governor and other top Government officials to define the character and mien of the Governor. The Webster’s Universal Dictionary defines Excellency as ‘‘one who excels, has superior merit or quality, a title of honour given to certain high officials” so we expect the Governor and high officials of government to exercise restraint, decorum and a high sense of responsibility in their conduct and communication at all times and levels. They should develop the capacity for tolerance and respect for others, including their political opponents.
I read with disbelief some of the remarks made by our Governor in the presence of his guest, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu. Among other things, the Governor is reported to have asserted that “those who want to take power through the backdoor will die. They will die, and PDP will continue . . .”
The Governor also talked of his political sons who were empowered but turned round to betray him and compared such sons to Absalom and Lucifer. My deductions from the Governor’s remarks are:
(1) The Governor had empowered his chosen political sons in order for them to be loyal and serve the Governor’s interest at all costs!
(2) The Governor (leader of his Party in the State) doesn’t believe that Governorship aspirants will go through the due process of primaries set up by his Party, rather he expects some aspirants to go through the backdoor!
(3) The Governor desires and surely expects his disloyal political sons to die!
(4) The Governor expects every Akwa Ibomite in the political process to follow him; nobody can have a different opinion, an indication that he doesn’t believe in democracy!
These deductions clearly portray our Governor as agitated and desperate. I cannot understand why the Governor should be desperate. On the contrary, I expect his disloyal political sons to exhibit signs of desperation – the Governor commands immense personal and State resources to canvass support for his preferred candidate, whereas his political sons are seriously handicapped financially. Luckily for the Governor, in today’s governance, there is no difference between personal resources and public treasury. And I also know that the Governor, for now, has a saleable aspirant. So what then is the Governor’s problem?
It is clear to me that the Governor’s motivation and orientation for service need to be re-examined by the Governor himself. The Governor keeps harping on the issue of empowering people who turn round to betray him. My Excellency, your people owe you nothing for your empowering them and developing capacities. Indeed, this is the Governor’s mandate. If anything, the Governor owes his people for entrusting their present and future into his hands by electing him; empowering your people is doing the job for which you were elected.
Your Excellency, the impression some of us get from your utterances and actions is to say the least, very worrisome. We expect His Excellency to know and appreciate the socio-cultural levels and values of his people. His Excellency expects his people to be zombies who see him as their slave-driver and “god”.
You should know that your people are among the foremost people in Nigeria who do not only believe in Education, but imbibe qualitative Education as the foundation for sustainable development. You will recall that the Ibibio nation as early as 1937/38 sponsored her sons for overseas Education and training. As a Lawyer, you will understand and appreciate what our forebears did by sponsoring people like Late Justice Udo Udoma, your uncle, Late I. U. Akpabio, along with others for qualitative Education abroad. Late Justice Udo Udoma became the Chief Justice of Uganda because, as a minority man, he was denied the opportunity of being the Chief Justice of Nigeria. In your legal profession, you can imagine the number of lawyers we have produced from the time of Late Justice Udo Udoma to when you graduated in the late eighties and the number trained after your time to date. This trend applies in other professions and disciplines. This is the State you have the privilege to lead. You should appreciate the fact that because your people are educated and civilized, this makes it easy for you to govern them. This same attribute makes it near impossible for you to enslave them. Your people are republican in nature and you must respect this once you accepted to lead them. Your present attitude is an insult on our collective intelligence. I am sure your guest, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu, must have been thoroughly embarrassed listening to the abuses and curses you rained on your people. He knows that Akwa Ibom State is endowed with educated and civilized citizenry.
It is expected and accepted that incumbent Governors should be interested in who succeeds them. Please exercise this right but you must accept the tenets of democracy to allow others to have their opinions. This is the least we expect from our leader. I have read in the print media your release that you never said you will kill anybody. I didn’t read that meaning either from your remarks. Yes, you never said you will kill anybody. But you expressed a clear desire for your disloyal political sons to die. These sons are in your age bracket and so we don’t expect them to die through aging process. The question some of your subjects would want an answer from you is, who and how do you expect them to die and by what means?
The comparison with David and his son, Absalom doesn’t quite answer the question because David never desired the death of his son, Absalom. My Excellency, you should be wary when you are talking about God in human affairs. His ways are not our ways. We should never assume or play God. In the case of David and his son, Absalom, we know that David was a man after God’s heart. In your case, we do not know who between His Excellency and his disloyal political sons is “the man after God’s heart”.
My dear Excellency, I sincerely wish the peace of God to be with you. At these dying months of your tenure, I advise that you should be winding down instead of opening new battle fronts. No doubt your job is a difficult one and you must have stepped on toes but you can use the remaining months to be at peace with yourself and most people.
I do hope you will take my advice with the sincere spirit I have.
I remain yours faithfully,
MAJ-GEN EDET AKPAN (RTD), OFR
Atta Ibibio; Ada Idaha ke Efik Eburutu