On Sunday, Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State marked his 50th birthday celebration. The Golden Jubilee event featured festivities including a lecture on the life and achievements of the celebrant. In a land where life expectancy is abysmally low, 50 years is a great milestone worthy of celebration.
Hence friends and political associates of the birthday boy are lauded his sterling achievements. Since his assumption of office as the governor of Akwa Ibom State, Akpabio has demonstrated very well that he is not only a leader but one that is propelled by the positive anger trait.
Anger gingers him on. He is angry that things are not the way they ought to have been in his state prior to his coming on the saddle. In that wise, he is a social crusader for right thing to be done in the society.
People with such emotion change the course of history. Some people went to school because their parents and siblings did not see the four walls of a school. Anger can be deployed to a positive use and that is exactly what Akpabio has done in his state. Even in his second term, he has continued to be fired by the burning desire to give his people the dividends of democracy in large measure. In fact, he has redefined governance in Nigeria.
Akpabio’s developmental stride in the state is uncommon and unparalleled. That is why the virulent Akwa Ibom opposition was generally condemned for crying foul when, indeed, they should be celebrating the God’s gift to Akwa Ibom State in the person of the amiable and action governor. Governor Akpabio is unassuming.
He is an engaging and interactive person to be with. He exudes great passion while narrating his life story, especially his up-bringing and rise to political prominence. His, is not a story of being born with a silver spoon in one’s mouth. His, is a story of solid determination, hard work, discipline and of course, mother luck.
Akpabio’s has knack for keeping his company cracking their ribs with his fun-poking jokes laced with humour and witticisms. People laugh to no end when in company of Akpabio. He jokes practically on his life experiences and how he was able to rise to the level he is now. He jokes on issues on development as well.
His life story will make a best seller whenever it is written. Akpabio is a great role model. If Akpabio is not a governor, he can out-perform our present crop of comedians. He is an orator, dancer, singer and consummate humanist, who loves to put smiles on people’s lives including the down-trodden and the less privileged. Akpabio is also detribalized.
His house is home to all Nigerians irrespective of tribe or creed. Judge the calibre of Nigerians that have inspected projects in the state under him. They include Gen. Yakubu Gowon, Gen. Abdusallami Abubakar, Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka and other eminent ones that this space will not contain. All of them pass the same verdict of excellent performance by Akpabio. Initially, Akpabio’s critics thought that his lauded performance was a media creation. But later events have proved beyond doubt that his assessment is borne out of performance. And the facts are there.
They are verifiable. Although, his opponents really tried to make the state ungovernable for him, but through his political sagacity, he overcome all odds and was overwhelmingly re-elected as the governor of the state. Even at that, the opposition vigorously challenged his victory, but Akpabio still trounced them at every stage. In fact, the opposition had since realized that they are fighting a futile battle because Akpabio’s train is unstoppable.
His administration enjoys the goodwill and support of all Akwa Ibomites. Six years in office, the whole nation, people from other lands and even the doubting Thomases of Akwa Ibom State have finally accepted and agreed that truly, Akpabio has preformed and is still performing to change the entire landscape and developmental architecture of Akwa Ibom State before he leaves office in 2015. Governors like Akpabio should have been allowed to come to the centre to replicate the wonder that has characterized his tenure.
We need to see those well paved roads, bridges, drainage systems, fly-overs, hotels, cinema theatres, airports, hospitals, schools and many other edifices he has erected in the state replicated in other parts of the country. All those that had embarked on facility tour of the state were astonished by the massive development in the state.
All of them had passed a verdict of high performance on the governor. What they saw passed what have been written about his achievements. As I am writing this piece, more developmental projects are still going on in the state. Some people doing business in Aba have practically relocated to Uyo and other Akwa Ibom cities. Their reason is that Akwa Ibom has good roads, there is peace in the state and the business climate is good. One Keke Napep operator explained that he relocated to Akwa Ibom from Aba because Uyo roads are well paved and good for Keke business unlike Aba where you keep repairing the tricycle to no end. The same story was told by an Ebonyi state indigene, who relocated to Akwa Ibom State. Some of the people affected by the spate of Boko Haram bombings in the North have found refuge in Akwa Ibom, thanks to Akpabio’s visionary leadership.
In fact, if anger is what one needs to perform well in government, God please give our president, governors, legislators more anger traits. Give it to them in large doses so that they can fix Nigerian roads and other decaying sectors of the economy. President Goodluck Jonathan needs plenty of it for the work at hand is enormous. Our rulers need plenty of it to face governance and fulfill their electoral promises. We need better equipped hospitals so that our big men should stop dying abroad.
It is disrespectful for our elder statesmen and women to die in foreign lands. Those who do not know how anger propels development and good governance should go to Akwa Ibom and learn some useful lessons.
Like Akpabio, I am praying Jehovah God to equip me with plenty anger trait so that it will propel me more to achieve those things I believe will be of benefit to the society. I want to see a Nigeria where every person is treated equally. It is my dream to have a Nigeria where the school system works and where electricity is on for 24 hours everyday. I want a Nigeria where politicians will rule with the fear of God and deliver quality projects to the public. At 50, is Akpabio still angry?
He should be the one to answer this question. But before he does that, let me hazard a guess that the man I saw on television during the birthday celebration smiling is no longer angry even though the anger trait is still in him. He was quoted as saying recently that after governing Akwa Ibom State in 2015, he will be heading to the Senate as his people have requested him to do. Having an Akpabio in the Senate? Wao! That will be very interesting. He will unleash the reserved anger in him and enact good laws for the country. This country is in dire need of good laws.
Our Nigeria should be based on equity and justice. At 50, Akpabio has lived an exemplary life worthy of emulation. Age is still on his side. There is more to expect from this unassuming and unpretentious, happy family man and governor of Akwa Ibom State, Chief Godswill Akpabio. This is wishing Happy Birthday and many happy returns to the golden celebrant.