By Donu Kogbara
WHEN I first moved to Abuja a decade ago, having spent all of my formative years in the UK, I was a naive Oyinbo Girl. I totally trusted everyone who approached me for friendship.
I would confide in such people and tell them my problems and cook for them and embrace them without any reservations.
But Iâ€™ve discovered, over the years, that too many Nigerians are dangerously envious and worm their way into your life ONLY so they can identify your weaknesses and exploit them. And I recently got tired of forgiving such treacherous characters and presented my two closest female pals with a list of folks who should not, under ANY circumstances, be allowed to attend my funeral if I suddenly drop dead because of the acute stress that I have suffered as a result of the covert sabotage that wicked fake friends have inflicted on me.
The ladies to whom I entrusted this somewhat morbid responsibility agreed to firmly bounce my enemies from my burial if death catches me before it catches them. But they felt uneasy about my determination to express anger against my tormentors from beyond the grave. My pals felt that I should not be so concerned about what will happen when I finally go home to my Maker and can no longer be hurt by mere mortals.
So they asked me to reconsider my position.
But I refused to back down. Some who have secretly tried to humiliate me and prevent me from surviving financially are famous dignitaries who â€“ because Iâ€™m a well-known international journalist and respected daughter of Rivers State – will piously show up at the church or cemetery from which I am being despatched from the earthly world, just to keep up appearances and pretend that they loved me. And I see no reason why they should get away with this deceit.
I will be very interested to hear whether Vanguard readers agree with my position or agree with the pals who think that I am being too uncompromising.
LAST week, I wrote an article in which I praised Chief Godswill Akpabio, the Governor of Akwa Ibom State. Many Vanguard readers responded.
Since I normally receive numerous bitter complaints when I dare to speak well of any Nigerian politician, I was rather surprised when only two respondents criticised my admiration for Akpabio. And, even so, the criticisms were pretty mild (one critic said that I shouldnâ€™t necessarily believe everything that Akpabio says because Naija VIPs hardly ever tell the truth about anything.
The otherÂ grumbled about the fact that the road to Uyo Airport is not smooth enough).
But the majority of respondents supported my claim that Akpabio is a good Governor who has been unfairly maligned by his political rivals. The following commentary, which came from the Convenor of the League of Akwa Ibom Patriots, was the most articulate pro-Akpabio response that hit my postbag.
Anietie Ekong <email@example.com>
As the 2011 gubernatorial election draws closer, the few remnants of opposition in Akwa Ibom State have become so desperate to snatch power from incumbent Governor, Godswill Akpabio, that they have gone after him with a tar brush, in the hope that some of the dirt will stick and pitch Akpabio against President Goodluck Jonathan.
Not too long ago, residents of Uyo and Abuja woke up to find posters of Governor Akpabio adorning strategic locations. Some of these posters gave the false impression that AkpabioÂ wants to become President or Vice-President of Nigeria next year.
Investigations revealed that some fly-by-night politicians were behind the plot to create doubt and confusion in the minds of Akwa Ibom people as to where the Governorâ€™s interests lie regarding the 2011 elections. For the avoidance of all doubt, Akpabio has clearly stated that he is only interested in winning a second gubernatorial term.
Furthermore, he has no problem with the President. He was part of the Presidentâ€™s entourage to the United States of America and was, on his return, presented with an excellence award during a ceremony to mark the tenth anniversary of Aso Rock Chapel.
It is necessary to point out that Akpabioâ€™s two principal opponents are mostly based in Abuja and have totally lost touch with developments in their home state. While they were busy pasting mischievious posters on Saturday June 5, a large crowd of youths were urging Akpabio, at a public rally in Abak, to become their sole gubernatorial candidate.
Similarly, on May 29 during the last Democracy Day celebration, thousands of Uyo residents and their National Assembly representatives joyfully trooped to the township stadium to adopt a motion endorsing the Governor for a second term in office because it is their fervent wish that he continues the wonderful work that he has been doing for the past three years.
Meanwhile, the main ethnic groups in Akwa Ibom – Ibibios, Annangs and Oros â€“ have, at different colourful ceremonies, adopted Akpabio as their man for 2011.
Fortunately, the majority of Akwa Ibom people are discerning and are not swayed by campaigns of calumny.Â May Akpabio continue to serve us, lead us and distinguish himself.