Akpabio: a mentor or slave master?

By Kufre Etuk

For some months now since Senator Akpabio suddenly nose-dived into the All Progressives Congress, APC, both the Senator and his parasitic supporters, have been shedding endless tears, reason being that the very people Senator Akpabio turned from “boys to men” while on seat of power as Governor, have joined the bandwagon of dissenting voices to criticise the Senator’s decision to shift camp to another political party.

While the Senator and his supporters assume that the newly metamorphosed men should everlastingly remain loyal and committed to the course of the self-made godfather of all Akwa Ibom politics, they also feel these men should join Akpabio to cast aspersion on the leadership of Governor Udom Emmanuel, the man he Akpabio once considered as the only perfect square for the Hilltop Mansion job in 2015. To buttress their argument, the former Minority leader’s handful of thoughtless followers, have taken out time to reel how their deity helped boys become men, and expressed disappointment on why these men should ever chose a path for themselves when their “godfather” is still alive and kicking like toddler. Just few days ago, during the Flag-off of Entrepreneurship/Agricultural Disbursement Grants for Akwa Ibom North West Senatorial District, Senator Godswill Akpabio was quoted to have said, “Those who benefited from me in the past are the ones criticising me and calling for my head now”.

Ruminating on why this once admired leader and his supporters could debase their thought pattern to this level, reminds me of the ancient Greece and the Roman slave masters. In the ancient Rome, slave masters usually beat their slaves and slaves that ran away could be killed. Slaves could not argue with their masters, they had to do exactly as they were told or else they would be punished. Slaves were considered property under Roman law and had no legal personhood. Unlike Roman Citizens, they could be subjected to corporal punishment. In ancient Rome, slave masters ensured that every slave had no personality. No freedom to make choices or defend himself. In ancient Greece, slaves had no rights, but few privileges. They were human beasts of burden. These slaves had the smallest chance of gaining their freedom.

Akpabio’s attitude can be likened to that of a modern slave master who believes the people he assisted to grow with state fund should not have freedom to make choices. He wishes, as opinion leader, he should always have the final say in decisions that border their lives. He thinks greater part of these people’s lives should be in allegiance to him till they are sold like the ancient Roman and Grecian slaves to another master by him. The Senator feels these people should always pay obeisance to him, give nods to every decision he takes whether for or against their interest and follow him to where he goes without asking questions or criticize his choices. What a slave master mentality!

This mentality is unkingly of Senator Akpabio as the former Governor of the state. Even though the Senator may still consider the “boys” he turned to men as slaves, it is time he realised that even in ancient Greece, slaves had categories and they were stripped off their masters strings once they reached a certain age. Akpabio should learn to face his future alone. He should not blame his woes on the people that once sacrificed for him. The former minority leader should know that since “boys” have become men, they owe themselves, not Akpabio, the responsibility of becoming who God wants them to be not what Akpabio wishes for them.

The blind, empty supporters of Akpabio who still go with the notion that those assisted with state fund should not criticise the self-styled uncommon Senator, must realize that we are in democracy where freedom of every citizen is guaranteed. The same constitution that gives Senator Akpabio leeway to associate with the APC, also guarantees freedom of expression to Akwa Ibom people Senator Akpabio once helped with Akwa Ibom fund . Therefore, Akpabio’s supporters should reconfigure their distorted reasoning inline with reality. Akpabio is a known capitalist who believes in law of reciprocity, if the people helped by Akpabio were not productive to him and did not contribute to his success when he was Governor, Akpabio that we all know would not have kept them. Supporters of Akpabio should also care to find out contributions these people made to Akpabio’s life and his years as Governor. If Akpabio is true to himself, let him tell the world the assistance the “boys” he turned to men showed to him. However, if Akpabio is the messiah as claimed by his supporters, how many boys did he turn to men with his personal fund while in Lagos?

Akpabio should learn to act like a mentor who wishes to see his mentees become independent minded personalities than a slave master who wants his slaves to always be under his caprices. Since Akpabio decided to sell out his soul to the very people he once tagged enemies, let him do that alone. He should learn to develop thick skin for criticism and rebuke. The former minority leader should know that the very day he joined his fellow nationalists in the APC; he descended into cesspool of perpetual disgrace. He now exists in past glories and should learn how to exist with his new life.

On his feud with his political son, Governor Udom Emmanuel, Akpabio can recall how he exalted himself to the position of the all-knowing God by going about with the appellation “the great teacher” who knew the best man to call the shot in the state. Since his political son has refused to do his biddings against the interest of the state, we can’t join him to fight Governor Emmanuel, rather we owe the Governor a great loyalty of support. Akpabio should be conscious that his enemy is never our enemy. Seeing Udom as his enemy doesn’t necessarily mean Governor Udom is the enemy of the state.

To Akpabio and the Akpabios, a notable man once said, “It is better to be without a king than to have a bad one.” Why? Because kings are symbols of fairness and justice. Kings depict honour, respect and orderliness in human societies. Akpabio should not make himself the king Akwa Ibomites never wish to have.