Eric Osagie: Akpabio, loyalty and the president

by Eric Osagie

oct240819

Conversely,  good leaders, in serving their people so well, demonstrate uncommon loyalty. Loyalty to God and loyalty to God’s people.  So, we can in the same vein, safely conclude that Akpabio, Fashola, Oshiomhole, Dankwambo, are loyal leaders because they are working for the people. On another level, they are also loyal to their leaders. 

His names are Godswill Obot Akpabio.  He is the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, South-South  Nigeria.  To many of his admirers, he is the golden governor, who has turned a once sedentary state into a wonderland of a sort.  The land of beauty.  The land of pride.  The city that works for the people, and other Nigerians.

But, to his adversaries,  the Akwa Ibom helmsman is the sweet-talking, ‘loud-mouthed’ governor, who never gets tired of advertising his achievements and dramatic turn-around of his state.

However, there is always a point of convergence among the Akpabio lovers and haters: The man has performed well, even when he is lampooned for making a song and dance of his works. The response, from his defenders, equally is: Let our governors and leaders at all levels perform and ‘make all the noises in the newspapers and television.’  Let them sing their praises to high heavens, as long as we can see and feel their achievements in concrete terms.  As long as we can see the landscape being transformed; lives being bettered and things moving in positive and progressive direction.

Indeed, for many Nigerians, what ultimately matters is: Performance, performance, performance.  No less. So, let’s have good roads everywhere and let the Minister of Works stand in the sun, basking in euphoria and adulation.  Let the health sector work; let’s have adequate security of lives and property;  let’s have abundant food supply; let’s have efficient and effective electricity and let whoever has wrought the magic bask in all the blaze of glory. How does that disturb anyone’s sleep?

That’s why Nigerians would continue to celebrate men like him (Akpabio), men like Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, for his turn-around of Lagos;  Comrade Adams Aliyu Oshiomhole of Edo State, for his achievements.   Gov. Ibrahim Hassan Dankwambo of Gombe State, has also done well.  There are a few others who make democracy meaningful in this clime, leaders who give us hope that all hope is not lost. That we may yet emerge the super country we could have since been, if only our leaders had stayed focussed, faithful and loyal to us the electorate, the people, they purportedly swore to serve.

For me, leadership is ultimately about loyalty. Loyalty to your promises and pledges while running for office.  Loyalty to the people, who gave you mandate.  Loyalty to your country, which gave you the privilege to occupy the high office.  Without loyalty, no leader can truly be called great.

It, therefore, follows that bad rulers are disloyal leaders.  Bad rulers are loyal only to themselves, families and cronies.  We have had a surfeit of them in the nation’s history.  You can name them, can’t you?  Disloyal leaders. Leaders for whom their words were  not their bonds. Leaders who took us back, rather than march us forward. We still have them everywhere, from the centre, down to the grassroots!

Conversely,  good leaders, in serving their people so well, demonstrate uncommon loyalty. Loyalty to God and loyalty to God’s people.  So, we can in the same vein, safely conclude that Akpabio, Fashola, Oshiomhole, Dankwambo, are loyal leaders because they are working for the people. On another level, they are also loyal to their leaders.  Fashola, for example,  is a loyal associate of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.  Come rain or shine, Fashola has stuck with Tinubu.  In the case of Akpabio, it is an open secret that he is the loyal and faithful associate of President Goodluck Jonathan. He has stuck with the president,  defending his administration and trumpeting his re-election bid. And in the process, throwing almost all his goodwill and reputation in the fray.

In fact, many of his admirers have expressed anger and disappointment at what they call his  ‘unfathomable’ support for President Jonathan.  Why would any man do that, especially for a president who is facing the toughest battle of his political life?  Why would a governor of Akpabio’s standing risk everything to support a president buffeted from all corners by the opposition?  Why risk all for one man, especially in a country where people often don’t reward one good turn?

Dele Momodu, perhaps, encapsulated the feelings of Akpabio admirers, when in his recent column in THISDAY, he beseeched the governor to dump his support for the president because he was losing much of his goodwill by so doing.  He asked him to learn from what happened to people like Dr. Peter Odili and others whose loyalty were repaid with malice by former president Olusegun Obasanjo.

But Akpabio, despite all entreaties, has remained resolute in his support for Jonathan and his 2015 ambition.  And he is ‘reaping the costly price’ of loyalty to a president, who has broken not a few hearts with the difference in expectations and performance of his administration.  Verbal missiles are being hurled at him.

 

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Read this article in the Sun Newspapers

 

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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