Egalitarianism is a core concept of democracy. And the promise of egalitarianism is a product of conscious planning, planning spurred by hope, trust, and determination of stakeholders to choose leaders who would not allow themselves to be conquered by laxity or engulfed in quicksand concealed by the vapours of avarice.
The leadership of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC), certainly, gave deep thought to those democratic virtues when it endorsed Senator Godswill Akpabio for President of the 10th Senate.
Akpabio, a former minister of Niger Delta Affairs and ex-governor of Akwa Ibom State, has, in his walk in the field of politics, shown himself to possess the flexibility and candour required for leadership at the highest echelons. As governor, he tried to put up substantial infrastructure to support development in the budding South-south state. His legacies are there for everyone to see.
Akpabio’s unprecedented and uncommon transformation of Akwa Ibom State will always stand as clear justification to entrust him with the leadership of the National Assembly
At the national level, too, Akpabio positively upset the apple cart in ways that made it difficult for purveyors of undevelopment in the country to ply their business as usual.
As the country tries to wean itself of money politics, Akpabios’s support base has kept swelling. This is evident in the general and national belief in his leadership abilities.
During a recent visit to the governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, with members of his stability group, the governor said of Akpabio, “I believe that you are best in class because the last election showed that you have to be good to your people for you to emerge as successful. So, I can tell you that whatever part of the country you have emerged from, you are best in class and your people must have seen something outstanding in all of you. And that brings me to the fact that you cannot bring down that trust and that expectation from your people.”
Akpabio, earlier in his remarks, told the governor, “The Senate is composed of men and women of integrity. We will not allow Nigeria to be bought. If leadership in the country goes to the highest bidder, I don’t think those like the late President Yar’Adua would have ruled Nigeria. Even the former president, Olusegun Obasanjo.
“So, it’s not a function of money. We have seen money politics play out, even though we have not seen it play out in the 10th Senate yet. As a prelude to the inauguration, we have seen what is going on. We condemn it and we believe that integrity should come to play.”
Akpabio, a patriot and steadfast Nigeria first advocate, has also visited the national headquarters of Labour Party (LP) with members of the stability group. He told the leadership of the party that it was pertinent to embrace the reality that both APC and LP were composed of Nigerians, hence, the need to put Nigeria first in order to guarantee the trust necessary for the national unity and stability.
Speaking in support of Akpabio’s ambition to lead the Senate, LP National Chairman, Mr. Julius Abure, observed, “It is not common for the political party in power to consider accommodating the opposition.
“It is an indication that our democracy is growing. I want to say very clearly that in most of our engagements with our senators, we have not given them any directives. We do not want to be dictating to them on where they should go.
“Two of my senators are here. Ireti Kingibe is not here, but we shall whisper to her. We need a vibrant legislature to promote our democracy, and we hope yours will be a departure from what we have. Every government policy must be such that will affect our people positively.”
Akpabio is quite understandably becoming a huge rallying point for national unity as Nigerians try to settle into the new political dispensation. He can best be described as a natural product of the times, a product of ideological, political and social awakening. As the country seeks to rewrite the corrupt narrative of its destiny, men and women of goodwill, courage and unquenchable commitment to development and good governance are needed.
Therefore, supporting Akpabio for the 10th Senate Presidency, irrespective of party affiliation, is key to endangering hope for the future of Nigeria. Political leaders must grow beyond parochial sentiments because such tendencies can only deepen the dividing lines.
Akpabio is a dogged, experienced, and far-sighted leader. He is a man with unquenchable commitment to due process and rule of law, who is determined to support the building of strong institutions and ideals that will engender confidence among the people and promote patriotism.
Unsurprisingly, politicians with parochial predispositions and propensity to promote divisive agendas perceive Akpabio as a threat. He has come to the scene with a people-centric agenda that is exploding the parochial messages on which many of his opponents have anchored their campaign.
Good governance is representation geared towards effective leadership and management of resources. And the prerequisite for the discovery and achievement of good governance is the discovery of self, and advancement of ideas and ideals capable of promoting and fostering wholeness and oneness of a people. It is a process and conscious desire activated through actions and constructive visions of leaders to censor their minds against all forms of negativism and dividing trends.
Born on December 9, 1962 to the family of Chief and Madam Obot Akpabio of Ukana, Ikot Ntuen in Essien Udim Local Government Area, Akpabio attended Methodist Primary School, Ukana, Essien Udim. Thereafter, he proceeded to the prestigious Federal Government College, Port Harcourt, and, later, University of Calabar (UNICAL), where he studied law.
The former governor started honing his leadership capabilities early. At the Federal Government College, Port Harcourt, he was the school’s general prefect, and at the University of Calabar, he was Speaker of the Students’ Parliament.
In 2007, Akpabio was elected governor of Akwa Ibom State, and was re-elected in 2011. In 2015, he went to the Senate as Senator for Akwa Ibom North West (Ikot Ekpene) Senatorial District. He is currently a Senator-elect and top contender for President of the 10th Senate.
As the country goes towards the 10th National Assembly, it is pertinent for the political leaders to think seriously on the words of Martin Luther King III: “It is time for political leaders across the ideological spectrum to realise that, while partisanship is understandable, hyper-partisanship is destructive to our country.
“We need more visionary leaders who will earnestly strive for bipartisanship, by finding policy solutions that can move Nigeria forward.”
·Andem writes from Lagos.