Thursday, 14 May 2015

Ntukude, hold your breathe

Ntukude, hold your breatheNtukude, hold your breathe

Many a time, I am baffled at the constant repetition and toeing of the same ruinous path that have cut some political hawks to size and left them reeling in regret and what would have been by those who should ordinarily learn some vital lessons from these setbacks and turn a new leaf. The dizzying speed at which some of our politicians resort to doing what has led others to their waterloo makes you wonder if these persons have exhausted their learning capacity such that they shut their brains and ears to reason and good counsel in discourteous embrace of the path that will plunge them into a more devastating perdition.

 My thrust in this column is to always, without recourse to puerile sentiments, make deliberate efforts and attempts to correcting some of the ills in our society since most of these ills, if left unattended to, have the tendency of growing out of proportion and sweeping us off like a ferocious earthquake. While we rack our brains daily in a bid to weave words together that will administer directly to the heartstrings of our people, the more efforts we put in, the more it appears that our elites are not in any where ready to allow good reason to permeate their hearts; these words don’t just sink in.  

It’s either they have deliberately refused to allow their brains to be reworked and remodelled into the crying need to have a state where peace, tranquillity and unity are the hallmarks or they are too headstrong and obstinately not disposed to seeing an Akwa Ibom where ethnic sermons will be relegated to the background for all to see one another as brother, sister and God’s children.
It beats me hollow that Nigeria’s political circuit has undergone some very defining changes right from the centre, thereby giving way to renewed way of attitude, conduct and comportment yet some persons are still helplessly still stuck in the warped mindset of yore believing that whatever be the case, they have the inalienable right to utter just anything that comes to their head regardless of how vulgar or repulsive it sounds within the court of public opinion. 

In fact, whether what they vomit with remarkable but cataclysmic gusto is tailored or directed towards the path of peace and promotion of the intrinsic values that define us is none of their business. So long as they succeed in throwing those mistimed and misdirected verbal punches to those they perceive as enemies of state and all that. These persons just wants to be heard and seen to be doing the bidding of an imaginary boss who they are eternally committed to pleasing even to the level of slaying the character of those that are miles ahead of them both in age, reasoning, standing and national image. They just crave for cheap popularity. They want to hug the headlines. People should be seen clutching unto their radio sets to hear them out. That is their utmost craving.

They should be the centre of attention or attraction. The boss they are trying so hard to please must not see them as slacking or lagging behind in their responsibilities, sometimes, including battering their wives if she dare asks why her husband has suddenly developed a character and attitude that are not in tune with modern times. 

So, in attacking and smearing the character of those the government of the day sees as enemies of state, you are invited to come get some honours. A trophy, and maybe, if there’s a title like, “king of the jungle,’’ it will be conferred on you even as you walk away with an elevated ego so much that you glory in self-conceitedness while living as if your life is in your palms. Poor chaps! You are used and given the backing to abuse others they way it pleases you forgetting that this life remains a myth, a big mystery that no one can claim to know what tomorrow holds. You are allowed to have your ego over bloated, there’s free and unfettered access to free and quick money for you which further gives you the impetus that you are in world of your own. Utopian world.

But, you have forgotten so quickly that these persons will be the first to deny you when the chips are down. When the bubble bursts, they will take to their heels, or at best, settle scores with those they either sent you or you went on your own volition to degrade and demean only for you to be left in the lurch to regret your naughtiness, misdeeds and miscalculated verbal fisticuffs.  You forget all too quickly too that sticking out your neck too long into all these roforofo fights does not in anywhere add anything meaningful to your personality neither does it increase the number of qualifications you possess. Ok, at best, you can be seen as someone to be used when there’s some fighting to be carried out. So, you become a bully, a fighter, a tout who will run his mouth carelessly so long as the right button is pressed and the right money placed on the table. 

The other day on radio, the State Commissioner for Transport, Prince Godwin Ntukde was at his bombastic and coarse best. With some electrifying fervour and uncommon intrepidity, he fired uncivil verbal missiles at Obong Victor Attah, Atuekong Don Etiebet, the APC governorship candidate in the April 11 governorship elections, Obong Umana Okon Umana and others for daring to visit Buhari. With spasmodic but bewildering speed, he raved and ranted with gay abandon.  He spared no words in deriding their persons. He employed unpardonable adjectives to describe them. To him, the political conduct of the duo of Attah and Etiebet before, during and after the 2015 general elections simply makes them enemy of state. In fact, by his reckoning, these men should be severely punished and banished from the PDP, the state too for altering the peace of the land.

 He said that these men should not divide the state by their selfish stance on issues pertaining to statehood. Continuing in his new portfolio as self-appointed spokesman for the PDP, he accused Umana of ‘taking’ some people he cannot ‘appropriately’ describe to see the president-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari in a bid to upturn the wishes of the people who freely gave Udom Emmanuel their mandate or influence the legal process in favour of the APC, he alleged. Furthermore, he went on to say that they went to see the president ostensibly to tell him that they are helpless while urging him to come to their rescue even if it means allotting some oil wells to him or, most bizarrely, having the president-elect frolic with their wives if he so wishes. For yours truly, that was the height of insensitivity and misuse of the English language. Whichever way one sees this, there’s no defending the fact that the Commissioner goofed in morals and ethics. It was a public gaffe on his part. He went too far and allowed emotions to get the better of him; that statement was over the bar and unbecoming of a public figure.

To Prince Godwin Ntukude, the visit to Buhari was ‘premature’ and unnecessary since there’s a case in court. He alleged that they went only to curry some sympathy from the president-elect and all that. Well, it is normal and was surely expected that people will read different meaning into that visit to Buhari by Akwa Ibom state delegation, led by Umana Okon Umana. Of course, one would have been surprised if no one raised an eye brow especially as the case at the tribunal contesting the victory of Udom Emmanuel is still at its embryonic stage. I have no grudges whatsoever with anyone who interprets that visit in his own understanding and vice versa. It is politics hence those in the game know what such outings portend and their definitions. But my grouse is saying that the visit was premature. Now, other tribes, interest groups, organisations and individuals have already visited the president-elect and more are still falling over themselves to identify with a man that will officially take over the reins of power on May 29. 

Could those visits be said to be premature? If nobody from their localities reckoned those solidarity visits as being premature, one then wonders why the visit by Umana and co is premature when election ended on March 28 with Buhari triumphing over PDP’s Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.  By that victory, one does not need to be a clairvoyant or need too much circumspection to know that in the next four years or so that the Daura born serial election loser until recently will, along with his party, APC, be in charge at the centre having knocked PDP off that high horse. 

In Nigeria, no one can deny the enormous powers a president wields. The powers are gargantuan and our constitution encourages that hence, every politician wanting or desirous of being part and parcel of the leadership at the centre knows that he/she must do everything to be seen to be supporting the government failure of which most times, puts your political future in some danger. But away from all that, methinks that nothing was wrong in visiting Buhari by UOU and others. Umana is a member of the All Progressives Congress. He contested election on the party’s platform on April 11 but whether he lost or was rigged out is left for the court to determine hence, by that level of affinity, it is only normal and fitting that he craved for an opportunity, just like others have done to pay a solidarity visit to a president who, by virtue of his emergence, is automatically the number one man in APC. Can Prince Godwin Ntukude tell the people of Akwa Ibom state that if President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan had won, that Governor Akpabio, who, of course, is his closest ally among serving PDP governors, would not have led a high powered delegation to congratulate him? I doubt especially with Akpabio being who he is.

Without any attempt to take sides with any of these parties since, in this clime, whenever one writes objectively as this profession demands, you are accused of supporting the other party. It’s a pity for journalism in the state because people want to gag us. They never want us to speak the truth or approach and tackle issues on their merit. No. we are expected to join the ever swelling rank of praise singers who will stop at nothing in clapping, dancing and eulogising from even the rafters, those that should ordinarily be cooling off behind bars for abuse of power, human rights, wanton thievery and the likes. Little wonder why any politician will wake up from any side of the bed and pour all manner of invectives on members of the Fourth Estate of the realm they way it pleases their bloated egos.  Hence, in other to be seen as dancing to the drumbeats of the government of the day, many journalists have today, missed the point of their calling and toed the line well strewn for self destruct. So, while they are supposed to hold the government accountable, it is the other way round. While journalists should set agenda for any government in power, it is the government that sets agenda for these gentlemen who have startlingly turned into troublesome men. This is a topic for another day.

Back to the kernel of this piece, I still maintain that Obong Umana Okon Umana and others, like every other citizen of Nigeria, reserves the right to visit the president-elect and register their solidarity with his administration. Buhari and Umana are members of the same party hence I see nothing wrong in going to hail him for coming out victorious after a hotly contested but never-seen-before election in the country. But my worry will only be if the visit was to have Buhari influence the tribunal and tilt the case in his party’s favour. That will be bad for democracy. Like Ntukude rightly pointed out, the case should be treated on it merit. There should be no external influence from any quarter to frustrate the case. Each party is entitled to fair hearing hence there should be a level playing field for all parties involved. PDP insist it won the election in Akwa Ibom while APC, LP and Accord party are vehement in their positions that there was no election in the state. Good and fine, what everyone needs is to present their facts and substantiate same. At the end of the day, it is the Judges’ place to determine and decide who actually is saying the truth.

The Peoples Democratic Party should, in no way, be jittery if truly they won the election because the court will reaffirm that victory. It is other parties that should be jittery because they lost the election as the PDP have made us to believe. So, when one comes out to speak in the manner Prince Ntukude laboured to speak, it only sends out the impression that the PDP is not armed with sufficient and verifiable facts to defend its victory. I wouldn’t want to believe that the PDP camp is jittery because of the effusive guts its members have displayed since Udom emerged. On the whole, it will be wise and fitting if Ntukude desists from fanning the embers of hate through his convulsive speeches. 

He knows he has an intimidating voice and features that bouncers crave dearly hence; he had better treaded with some level of restraint and henceforth make comments that will not pit Udom Emmanuel against any Akwa Ibom citizen. Udom, as we are told and from his speeches, at least, when I am opportune to hear him speak, never stops telling anyone who cares to listen that he is a fresh breed with no blemish. The Awa Iman born financial expert who have lived all his life away from the shores of Akwa Ibom believes he is not tainted with any political bad record and has never clashed with anybody in the state therefore, with all that, he is the man the state needs to act as a stabilising force to return it to where it belongs and all of that. I won’t doubt him because I have not heard any of his critics or opponents connect him with bearing any grudge against anybody or having some political scores to settle with anyone only that he is seen as a smokescreen for the outgoing governor, stooge and all that.

On this score therefore, to maintain that pious posture, those lobbying and busying to be relevant in his government should desist from making unguarded utterances that is capable of sending out a wrong signal to a perceptive public. If Udom is Right, no one, group of persons or some dumb heads should make him appear Wrong. I hope I’m communicating! 

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