Akpabio, Emefiele and all that jazz

If Akpabio cannot mediate on behalf of Emefiele, the next best option is to hold his peace. It is unlikely that Tinubu put a gun to Akpabio’s head to say all that jazz about Emefiele

By Steve Osuji

He’s indeed a happy-go-lucky man. Life for him is a stream of ribald jokes. He seems to wear life like an oversized babanriga which he’s adept at wearing these days.

Senator Godswill Akpabio, former state commissioner; former two-term governor of Akwa Ibom State; former senator, former Minister of the Federal Republic and currently President of the Senate and head of Nigeria’s legislature. He’s the number three man in the land today and a ranking member of the bar.

From the foregoing, life has imposed gravitas upon him even if he weren’t born with that rare quality of leaders. But Akpabio has cut the persona of an extremely light-headed man. One could rightly say that he wears his heart around his sleeves.

This seems to have been his very nature since his days as governor. Give him the microphone and he reels out jokes and more raucous jokes. It doesn’t matter the occasion or the place. Though he may have delivered some good during his terms as governor, though he be a ‘learned’ fellow, he has managed to turn his entire life into an endless circus of ribaldry.

It must be noted that there seems to be nothing untoward about a man being perpetually simple of mind and bohemian. However, if such a fellow is a highly placed officer of state, elevated thoughts and conducts would be expected of him as a leading light of society.

But high-mindedness is not the forte of Akpabio. This explains why the Senate is conducted like a comedy show and one year as head of the upper chamber, the 10th Senate is already earning a place as probably the worst so far.

No law of historic significance has been made or even amended. Not a motion of importance is remembered this one year. All Nigerians see is a bunch of pampered courtiers in a kept legislature, settled as stringed marionettes of the executive branch.

No sooner did they convene than a special supplementary appropriation bill was passed hastily. A chunk of the fund was for procuring state-of-the-art SUVs for the legislators in a season of acute poverty. The trampled populace was still bemoaning this gross extravagance and the hawks swooped again.

This time, the lawmakers were said to have perverted the national budget by a mind-bending N3 trillion.

Yes, budgets were always padded in the past by the NASS but never to the tune of trillions of naira. Though the Federal Government was to disclaim this figure, noting that the actual is a little less than three trillion. The FG also made it known that whatever the figure may be, the surreptitious fund that was sneaked into the national budget is for constituency projects. But is it not common knowledge to all Nigerians that what the legislators call constituency projects are nothing short of grand larceny? A conduit pipe for spiriting away public funds?

But the point to note is that Akpabio’s 10th Senate has gotten brazen with the common till. Worse still is that they are hands-in glove with the presidency. This is ominous because this Senate seems to have forgotten its raison d’etre which is to check the executive arm. What we see in the last one year is a country on a rollercoaster to a certain abyss – no checks, no balances, no legislative or intellectual interventions and of course, no enlightenment.

Enlightenment is the soul of leadership. Immanuel Kant was high on medicine and here’s one of the greatest leaders ever, Thomas Jefferson, recounting Kant: “Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-imposed immaturity.” Immaturity on the other hand, is the lack of resolve and courage to apply understanding without guidance from another.

* Osuji

Borrowing from Kant and Jefferson, Akpabio is right now at the vortex of history but apparently he doesn’t realise it. He may never until this epoch slips by him. He would then look back 20 years hence and would wonder what was wrong with him. He would wonder why he was so abysmal and puerile when he was ensconced on the golden hallways of his age.

Akpabio’s heedless, sulphurous outbursts against Godwin Emefiele recently have clearly circumscribed him as an immature and unenlightened politician who would never achieve statesmanship.

Even some smart kindergartens can discern that Emefiele is a victim of political witch-hunt and persecution. It’s the height of injustice and indeed ungodliness to pour hot coal on a man under intense persecution.

Akpabio in his yammering suggests that Emefiele is the source of the current economic woes in Nigeria. This is the height of insouciance! One can safely say that Akpabio embodies all the dark ethos of Nigeria’s post-military politics. Let’s try capturing the situation in tue very Akpabio-speak: God may forgive an armed robber, but he will never forgive a robber who captures the owner of the house and ties him to the stake as a thief!

Akpabio is trying to tie Emefiele to the stake knowing that he cannot hold a candle to him. While Emefiele has in the past one year, withstood the investigations of the DSS, EFCC, SPECIAL INVESTIGATOR and even DELOITTE, Akpabio can’t stand any scrutiny for one hour without earning a long jail sentence. This is common knowledge.

Finally, it must be noted that all the jazz Akpabio has been spewing about Emefiele further diminishes the Senate head as an immature mind. As Kant explained, a mind under the control of another is immature. We understand that Akpabio is currently tied to the apron string of President Bola Tinubu, but the situation calls for wisdom not gaffing.

If Akpabio cannot mediate on behalf of Emefiele, the next best option is to hold his peace. It is unlikely that Tinubu put a gun to Akpabio’s head to say all that jazz about Emefiele.

Wisdom is indeed, profitable…


▪ Osuji is a newspaper columnist and public affairs analyst.

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