The loneliness of a man out of political power was conveyed to your correspondent some three years or so years ago at the sight of His Excellency, Victor Attah, the immediate past governor of Akwa Ibom State carrying a plate to serve himself in one of the restaurants of the Hilton Hotel in Abuja . Without the hangers on that just two or so years ago looked up to him like a god, His Excellency, was his cool self, natural and jovial as he exchanged banters with a few who recognised him.
The memory of that morning and the false contraption of omniscience and bravado that surrounds high ranking political office holders is one that remains an irony. Only few like Obong Attah could easily have adjusted to living as an ordinary citizen without the trappings of a false life that many of our political office holders are associated with.
I have heard it said of a former governor from the Southeast who lost an election but was still carrying on as a governor with a convoy of vehicles following him all about. The former governor I also heard, had the temerity to be shouting on his former aides as if he still called the shots until one day one of the associates had to tell him, “You are no longer Your Excellency.”
It is with the background of such contradictions that I viewed with some suspicion, the outpouring of felicitations towards His Excellency, Godswill Akpabio on the occasion of his 50th birthday last weekend. Almost the same crowd who were with Attah and have now switched over to Akpabio were overdoing one another to pour encomiums on Akpabio who in their view is the initiator of the uncommon transformation in Akwa Ibom.
I confess, I have not been to Akwa Ibom since the advent of the Akpabio era even though what I hear is that of infrastructural transformation of the landscape. But I still shudder at the epithets some of his lieutenants use in hailing him. A man that is not easily proud will under the same situation be transformed into a little god.
If the case of Akpabio and Attah are not enough, just across from Akwa Ibom is the ironic transformation of a one time ‘looked down upon’ deputy governor in Bayelsa State . At the height of the Dipereye Alamieyeseigha suzerainty over Bayelsa, those in the know claim that the erstwhile deputy governor like his colleagues all over the country was an inconsequential presence in government. In the case of Bayelsa at that time, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan’s office could not be better described than as the boy’s quarters adjoining the Executive Chambers.
It could as such not have been more ironical that the former suzerain, the governor-general of the Ijaw nation, Alamieyeseigha was the same that last Monday at a meeting of elders of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP in Yenogoa moved the motion for Jonathan to become the PDP leader of Bayelsa State.
What that means I really don’t know, but the irony is not lost on how positions have changed and changed so dramatically. It is remembered that at the height of his domination of the polity, the PDP machinery recast President Olusegun Obasanjo as the “founder and maker of modern Nigeria .” There is no guessing now of what the present holders of power regard the same founder and maker of modern Nigeria .
If the men are able to adjust to their changing positions, I really wonder how their wives, the first ladies with all the pettiness that usually come with some ladies, are able to adjust after office.
Nigerians were only recently treated to the nauseating media war between Dame Patience Jonathan and Hajiya Turai Yar‘adua over the ownership of a prime piece of land in Abuja !