By Emmanuel Aziken
Not too long ago he bestrode the polity with an uncommon gait and was almost always in the forefront of many of the political machinations across the land. If he did not have a major role in setting up the political scheme, he inevitably almost always had a role in neutralising such a scheme.
By 2015, after two terms as governor of Akwa Ibom State, the political narrative was as if no one else had governed the state before his remarkable advent. That narrative was shaped by the physical transformation that Governor Akpabio helped to carve in the state, and most notably, in the Uyo capital territory, a development that spurn off the uncommon transformation sobriquet that became his signature phrase.
The uncommon transformation was undoubtedly helped by the unprecedented inflow of cash into the state during the period. It was a period that birthed the political phrase: “What money cannot do, more money will do!”
Not only was money applied to physical projects that transformed a sizeable portion of Uyo, it was also applied to political projects that demystified political permutations and configurations. When money could not win over somebody or political structure, more money surely did with the notable exception of a few persons.
It was as such not totally strange that when Governor Akpabio crossed over from the Uyo Government House to the Senate in June 2015, that he easily took for himself the position of leader of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP caucus in the Senate. That was despite the fact that he had no legislative experience.
The gist was that many of the old senators who had been used to money flowing around them were simply bamboozled with more money that they lost bearing of their parliamentary tradition and made a baby senator their leader!
Almost three years down the line as the leader of the opposition in the Senate, Senator Goodwill Akpabio’s leadership of the opposition is today, barely comprehensible.
It was as such not out of the blues that a report emerged earlier this week of a plot by some opposition senators to remove him as Minority Leader.
Whatever has silenced Senator Akpabio to a whisper must be remarkable and an uncommon touch, given the leader’s prominent posture in previous political ventures. This is surely not the Akabio that Nigerians were used to.
Off course, there were reports at the beginning of this year of brushes with his self-chosen successor, Udom Emmanuel. However, the reports as well escalated by the enemies of the two men turned into a storm in a tea cup as political patron and benefactor retreated to avoid a war of mutual destruction.
The worry for many is that at a time the All Progressives Congress, APC federal admistration is almost turning its foibles into a fashion that the opposition in the Senate is barely making a whisper. It is remarkable that the roar in the Senate is mostly coming from the ranks of the APC!
Senator Akpabio, some mutter, is surprisingly turning into a common senator, stripped of the uncommon label that he had been much known for. At a time that the country is in dire straits, men with uncommon abilities to nudge the country towards safer grounds are surely needed.
Akpabio as Senate Minority Leader after three years on the job should rise to the occasion to provide the kind of constructive opposition to nudge the administration towards doing what is good.