Senator Godswill Akpabio

By John Edet

For many Nigerians, the events of the Second World War are distant tales that bear little impact on the developmental challenges of our country. With the exception of Nigerians who were recruited to serve in the British Army many of who saw action in Burma, the narration of the Second War remains in the realm of imagination. So, when the immediate past Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio said the next General election in Akwa Ibom would be likened to the Nazi putsch towards Warsaw, Poland, it inevitably brought home to all what some people could be planning towards the election. Speaking during a church service in Aguobu-Owa, Ezeagu Local Government Area of Enugu State as part of the burial service of his wife, Nneoma’s grandmother, was quoted as saying: “We can’t talk politics in the church but in 2019 Warsaw shall see war and war shall see Warsaw. The return will be victory. May God grant us all victory.”

Suffice for Akpabio to say that he would not talk politics in the church, especially at a service to mark the burial of his wife’s grandmother. It is not that he more than fouled what should ordinarily have been a solemn occasion in memory of the dead woman, the reference to war and brinkmanship more than fouled the aspiration for peace that many Nigerians craving for in the forthcoming elections. By looking towards Nazi exploits of the Second World War, Senator Akpabio has inevitably brought to question his judgment and sensibility on issues pertaining to the rapacious atrocities of Nazi Germany.

Indeed, it is unimaginable that today someone could look to Nazi Germany for emulation in any conduct. Certainly, Senator Akpabio would not claim ignorance of the fact that at least 4.3 million persons died on account of the Second World War directly provoked by the Nazis. He also would not claim ignorance of the fact that thousands of Polish citizens were killed directly in the Warsaw Uprising and other operations masterminded by the Nazi German forces when as Akpabio said, “Warsaw saw war and war saw Warsaw”. It may have sounded sonorous, but for those who experienced the war in Poland, it was undoubtedly not a laughing experience. So, when about 80 years later just when those who experienced the brutish savagery of the Nazi German occupation forces were beginning to put that memory behind them or had even died, then Akpabio brought up suggestions of repeating the same brutish savagery on his people, many would have shuddered in that church service.

Of course, when the war Akpabio promises breaks out, it is evident that his children would not be at the forefront or even be in any column on the way to battle. Politicians in this clime who resort to killing, thuggery or other forms of violence to claim power often do not use their children. Can anyone remember ever seeing the child of any of the prominent politicians engaged in a shootout or even being involved in a ballot box snatching or any form of election violence? Indeed, as the elections approach, many politicians send their family members out of the country and fortify themselves with police officers and other forms of official and unofficial security operatives. Even if the official security is enough to guard their children, yet they still relocate their family members abroad. It is this hypocrisy of the Nigerian politician that has again been brought to fore by this claim by Senator Akpabio. At a time that Akwa Ibom has returned to the civility and peace that eluded it during the Akpabio years, it is indeed shocking that the former governor would like to return the state to that ugly period when the value of life was brought to its lowest ebb in the history of the state on account of the brutish struggle for political supremacy.

It is welcoming that several political disciples of Senator Akpabio have seen the mistake of their former boss and decided to stayed away from supporting him on this venture directed against his people. Even if Akpabio were to wage war and make his people see war, that his former supporters have stayed away from supporting him is salutary to the common sense of propriety that should flow in the life of Akwa Ibom people. Even more, the quick disavowal of the move by Akpabio by some respected Akwa Ibom elders is welcome. They have told the former governor who ordinarily should be an elder, that they (elders) do not think that it is fair game to turn your state into a war zone because of political power. Among those reported to have rebuffed Akpabio at a political rally in Ikot Ekpene recently were the former minister of lands and housing, Chief Nduese Essien, the former deputy governor of the state, Dr. Chris Ekpenyong, former Senator Effiong Bob and a host of other elders of the state.

That these elders all of whom were not too long ago in the same camp with Akpabio came out to distance themselves from the former governor’s war chant is indicative of the fact that even though some may still instigate war, but the forces against them under the guidance of God Almighty will not allow the war merchants to succeed.