Could it be that the defecting former governor and current APC chairman both fit this “mass of protoplasm” bill?
Nigerian public commentators are usually obsessed with the leadership question. A related matter, therefore, is the issue of leadership recruitment. However, as is often, 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.
The American constitution was written under the assumption that it reflects human nature. For instance, the historian Christopher Collier writes, “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 godo-godos, 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 socialised to believe that leaders are a special breed. This, history tells, 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, 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 just another job. And it is easily the most lavishly remunerated job in the world market, private jets and all. And, point is, any man who draws salaries is as common as can be.
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, godogodos and worse things, as history tells.
Immediately this is understood, then the events of the recent political “transfer season” may be made clear. Let us begin with the defection of Godswill Akpabio, a senator from Akwa Ibom.
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 helmsman 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 did not know that Latin America, which was next door, was 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 man as he is. That is, whether such a one is a hero or a baboon, 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 leaders. 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 their love of microphones and bogus oratory 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 deep, without contradicting their every premise or axiom.
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 same Akpabio he is about to declare a hero served as commissioner in the first eight of the said 16 years. And the last eight, the same Akpabio served as governor. That is, in every single day of the 16 years of locust, Akpabio was a key and finally commanding presence. So, Akpabio is in logic the very locust Oshiomhole is about. It is he that the diseased worm is in our national heart of goodness as we say in France.
Meanwhile, Akpabio himself is claiming that he is quitting PDP for APC because the “ways and means” of PDP are gone junk. And even before the echo of his words would have faded away, he has run into stonewalls. 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 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 discernible 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 have come to the top end of power is to understand that history can sometimes throw up illogical men or “lucky dunces” into power. Literally, this is a proof of the American historical observation that all kinds 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 all our South-South people stand for. As everybody knows, this APC government wants to take over the waterways, ponds, creeks etc, in the South-South, essentially. [The South-South has not just the most crude oils, but also the most waters 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, just as the crude oil wells are.
And there is evidence that Akpabio gave a go-ahead to these things. At least his non-verbal signals affirm this drama of Akpabio signing off his heritage. Thus it is safe to imagine that Akpabio’s glory as an imperial servant, as an APC agent, in the South-South, is to be purchased. And the cost of that purchase is that the South-South will be turned into a vassal ranch for his neo-imperial lords.
Anyway, a journalist who we are told knows Akpabio closely, affirms this spineless surrender of the estate and realms of Akpabio and his people to his putative overlords. Or how does one interpret this:
“Use a picture. It’s worth a thousand words. I remembered that timeless injuntion 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/ index.php/2018/08/09/something-happened)
That is, to cut a deal for himself and his people, he has to grovel. To grovel is a ritual and existential surrender of everything you, and in you, including your soul to your lord and master. Oh, my goodness, how can a man who is a freeborn of his people come so low as to grovel abroad? Shall he return to his people as a slave, even if an imperial slave, or a freeborn?
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 appears historically chal- lenged. We shall give him a saving link: http://thenationonlineng.net/the-harmat- tan-of-mallam-adamu-ciroma/. The events of it led to June 12. Akpabio ronu.
Well, in moments like this, one recalls the irrepressible Dr. Chuba Okadigbo, a former Senate President. Exasperated, Okadigbo called out a fellow senator as “a mass of protoplasm.” Could it be that the defecting former governor and current APC chairman both fit this “mass of protoplasm” bill?
Yet, all these are just one side of the Akpabio imbroglio. The bigger picture includes a fact. It is that Akpabio has come up against one of the nation’s best performing governors in an electoral tug of war. Udom Emmanuel, the Akwa Ibom State governor, highly gifted and brainy, is easily the gold standard in state governance in Nigeria today. He has done so evidently well that his peoples are solidly behind him. The implication is thus that Akpabio’s ambitions are now up against the will of the people, to advance as one with Emmanuel and his team. That is to say, Akpabio has involuntarily chosen to be smashed, politically, by the irresistible iron will of Akwa Ibom people in particular and the South-South peoples generally.
READ ALSO: Defection: We wish Akpabio well – Emmanuel
In other words, the “defector protoplasm,” alone in his haughty delusion, is up against one of the big-ticket minds and the state’s people that are solidly behind him. The defector-protoplasm’s is easily a tale of political suicide foretold.