ABUJA (Sundiata Post) Nigerian public commentators are usually obsessed with the leadership question. A related matter therefore is the issue of leadership recruitment. However as is often with us we fail to pay attention to the finer details, the small prints in the mix.
Now, there are key differences between the American constitution and her badly made-in Nigeria clone. Not having understood these differences may account for what keeps us back from developing as a people and as a nation. Just one example will serve our purpose.
American constitution was written under the assumption that it reflects human nature. For instance in the words of the historian Christopher Collier, ”The American government is made to work when it is [also] in the hands of fools, knaves and ignoramuses, as it often has been.”
Taken broadly, this means that common peoples, knaves, fools, godogodos, ignoramuses and the like, get to be leaders, elected or otherwise, every now and then. But the fact of electing knaves and the likes into public office will shock many a Nigerian. This is because we have been poorly socialized to believe that leaders are a special breed. Perhaps in the words of Godswill Akpabio, they are an ”uncommon peoples”. But history tells that that is a myth. Fact is that all kinds, get elected into high office.
Related to this Nigerian denial of history, is a follow-up assumption. It is the supposition that leadership recruitment processes winnow out junky and unworthy persons. Thus, if a man is elected at all, he then must be fit to be king. And to add more fiction to reality, most Nigerians ”innocently” purchase the myth that in being a leader, men are transfigured into being supra-rational beings.
This explains in part the foolishness of Nigerians calling on their presidents as fathers. Meanwhile being a Nigerian president is not just a job, it is easily the most lavishly remunerated job in the world market, private jets and all. And it is common peoples who draw salaries.
All this is just to tell that a leader is not by definition an uncommon or heroic persona. A leader is actually a salary earning commoner, like you and me. Of course there are great men and super brains in leadership. And one can easily think of Lee of Singapore. However the point remains that a host of them are knaves, fools, godogodos and worse things, as history tells.
Immediately this is understood, then the events of the recent political ”transfer season” may just be made clear. Let us begin with the defection of Godswill Akpabio. Akpabio was the former governor of Akwa Ibom state and a current senator.
What is interesting is that many who wrote about Akpabio’s defection were surprised as if they expected anything better from him.
If you asked they say that he was some relatively okay governor at his last station as a governor of Akwa Ibom state. However, the point these analysts miss is that state leadership is a team play, a concert. And knaves have been known to be about it, some well. For example we have a guy, Ronald Reagan. As an American president, Reagan asked ”which country is Latin America?” Reagan just doesn’t know that Latin America which is next door is a region, not a country. Yet Reagan he did some well for Americans.
The point is that it is when the man is separated from his team that you get to know the stuff if any that he is made of. Whether he is a hero or a dub will be clear before too long.
Having said this, to understand Akpabio in an uncommon light we first may have to visit a common affliction of Nigerian leadership. Almost one and all, they mistake their luck as genius. And nobody typifies this deceitful passing off of luck as genius more than Akpabio. Perhaps added to the luck as genius delusionists must be a good swathe of APC leadership.
The first sign of their ailment is that they take their addiction to oration and microphones as signs of wisdom. However, the least dedicated attention to their rants will reveal that while they can talk there are no signs they can think. There are no signs they can think deep, without contradicting their every premises and axioms.
We give this example. When Adams Oshiomhole the APC chairman was pushing for Akpabio’s defection, he charged that the last 16 years were years of locusts under the PDP. If he is correct then he has poured cow urine into his banga soup. The fact is the Akpabio, he is about to declare a hero, served as commissioner in the first 8 of the said 16 years. And the last 8, the same Akpabio served as governor. That is in every single day of the 16 years of locusts, Akpabio was a key and finally commanding presence. So Akpabio was in logic the very locust one can conclude.
Meanwhile Akpabio himself is claiming that he is quitting PDP for APC because the ”ways and means” of PDP is gone junk. And even before the echo of his words would have faded away, he has run into a stonewall. In a report that has gone viral, APC leaders are calling for his head, politically. They charge:
“We cannot be led by a man, [Akpabio] who was brutal…. We have not forgotten [that] his brutality…. He can never lead us. We will resist it.”
Yet another party elder affirms: “[Akpabio] cannot be our leader. He will be contradicting himself because he cannot reject a skewed reward system which favours newcomers in his former party, yet wants to be rewarded in the APC through similar skewed arrangement.” https://punchng.com/well-reject-akpabio-as-aibom-apc-leader/
What is discernable is that both Akpabio and Oshiomhole are so in love with the sound of their voices that their words are running wild and ahead of their articulations, if any. In other words it may be said that they are, each, bundles of self-contradictions.
But to think that these self-contradictory or illogical men are at the top echelon of party and power is to understand how reckless history can become. That is to say that the fact of their having come upon great power and office can be attributed to pure luck, not genius. Literally this is a proof of the American historical observation that all kinds and manners of low grade men happen to high office.
And matters get worse when these self-contradictory and illogical men are on their own. Just as we have seen the two in issue, it is now clear they are men of common straw. Neither Akpabio nor Oshiomhole is worth his weight in clear thinking, or the reputation they bear.
In all, it is Akpabio’s tale that is even more pitiable. His flight and capitulation to APC is at best a Faustian bargain. It is against our South-South people stand for. As everybody knows this APC government wants to take over the water ways, ponds, creeks etc. in the South-South, essentially. The South-South have the most waters and not just the most crude oils in the nation. The implication of this is that South-South fishermen and others who farm the seas and creeks, will now be directly controlled by invisible stranger-bureaucrats ensconced in luxury in Abuja? That is their local water will be the new oil, traded for in and about Abuja. And perhaps awarded like oil blocks to strangers from outside the region?
And there is evidence that Akpabio gave a go-ahead to these things. At least the nonverbal signs affirm this drama of Akpabio signing off his heritage. That is to say it is okay with him if his glory may come by sacrificing the heritage our fathers and God bequeathed and gifted us as South-South peoples.
Anyway a journalist who we are told knows Akpabio closely, affirms this nonverbal surrender of the estate and realms of Akpabio and his people to his putative overlords and masters. Or how does one interpret this:
Use a picture. It’s worth a thousand words. I remembered that timeless injunction by 20th century Australian journalist, Arthur Brisbane, last weekend the moment I saw the photograph of Senator Godswill Akpabio grovelling before President Muhammadu Buhari in London. Anybody who knows the former Akwa Ibom State Governor very well knows that humility is not one of his virtues; so it must be an act of desperation for him to stoop in the manner he did to accept President Buhari’s handshake. https://www.thisdaylive.com/…/2018/08/09/something-happened/
That is to cut a deal for himself and his people, he has to grovel. Grovel is to surrender everything you and in you, including your soul to your lord and master. Oh my goodness, how can a man who is a deity with his people come so low as grovel abroad? Shall he return to his people as an imperial slave or a free born?
And lest we forget Akpabio was spinning the illogicality that there needed to be Nigeria before there is politics. Great. It is only that he perhaps is not aware of history. We shall give him this link: http://thenationonlineng.net/the-harmattan-of-mallam-adamu…/. The events of it led to June 12. Akpabio ronu.
Well in moments like this one recalls the irrepressible Chuba Okadigbo, a former senator. Exasperated, he called out a fellow senator as ”a mass of protoplasm.” Could it be that the defecting former governor and current APC senator fits this bill?
Yet, all these are Akpabio’s own side of the story. The bigger truth is that he has one of the finest brains as governor to engage in an electoral thug of war. Udom Emmanuel, the Akwa Ibom State governor, is easily the gold standard in gubernatorial governance in Nigeria today. He is got sharp brains, chutzpah and the willingness to roll up his sleeves in remorseless labour. And Akwa Ibomites in grateful consequence are solidly behind him in the saddle of governance.
In other words the ”defector protoplasm”, alone in his haughty isolation, is up against one of the sharpest minds, with his people all solidly behind him. The defector protoplasm’s is a tale of political suicide foretold.