By Otobong SAMPSON
Staying decent in politics is not an uphill task anymore, it is an impracticable act. Not even in the world’s finest democracies is decorousness observed. GOP’s candidate for the White House job, Donald Trump, is an easy reminder of this glaring reality today. I have never been trapped in the seemingly general assumption that politics is dirty, but by all means, it is not a game of definite rules. Politics is precisely like a free-wrestling game; you can kick, punch, slap…
Some politicians conceive the damned book of Niccolo Machiavelli “lo prince” their credo, and they commit to memory every line in that cursed book. That book gave the politician tips about what he should do to persevere and to sustain his position. However, it did not offer him advice about what he should do for his people. The Italian’s book teaches the politician how to be a liar, pragmatic, utilitarianism, hypocrite, opportunist, and even a killer to achieve the position, and nothing but the position. Macbeth, in the famous Shakespearean play presents a classical example. The fighter who was told by three witches that he was going to be king had to kill all the figures that stood in his way. Had Macbeth waited, he might have reached the position of king without all the blood he shed. And then Macbeth was killed.
YET, THERE’S ONE MAN WITHIN WHO HAS DARED TO BE DIFFERENT BY ANY ANALYTICAL STANDARDS. Etido is perhaps, a most interesting politician with a difference. But it would be sheer phantasm to assume that everybody would think the man to be the fine and refined character that he truly is. A recondite figure, he remains. Unless the infinitesimal few with the sling and bagfuls of slime pay more attention to the verdicts of the commanding majority, ask new questions and get answers to old ones…unless such significant voids are filled, any attempts to re-define the man away from a consentient opinion must be suspect. Such exercise should necessarily be considered of doubtful validity.
Whether as a corporate employee or in public sphere, he has maintained a consistent pattern and trademark approach to life. In any, his philosophy mirrors a protest against opportunism and a social utopia born of years of inter-social intercourse with his community and the larger society. Unlike past situations, Etido has overcome the seduction to metamorphose into a “conquering” politician or a loud holder of public office. Instead, his conciliatory approach introduces him as a pacificator internuncio. For him, the call to serve is an opportunity to see every corner of the state as one whole unit; regenerate the feeling of brotherhood; promote and sustain solidarity for the present state administration. Beyond these, it is an extended opening to further contribute to the hope for a united and glorious future Akwa Ibom under Governor Udom Emmanuel.
Few can match his hopes for better conditions at the human development level even as he remains a study in political inclusiveness. Nevertheless, this has not made him immune from vitriol. Despite this, the engineer has refused to embrace reprisals. In his Essays, Francis Bacon asserts: “A man that studieth revenge keeps his own wounds green…In taking revenge, a man is but even with his enemy, but in passing it over, he is superior.”
How Etido stays clean is amazing. Why he stays so can be attributed partly to his ability to treat people with more humanity, partly to his firm Christian virtues, and partly to his conviction about the universality of the law of inevitable retribution. For more often than not, men are the creators of the circumstance in which they live. He is one who breathes loyalty and patriotism at every pore. A most articulate, elegant, and quietly persuasive member of the current State Exco. He is easily identified with the culture of hard work, diligence and resourcefulness…and empties his energy into vision implementation. His winning attitude keeps him always on track. His intolerance on the flawed perspective of politics ensures he doesn’t veer off mark. Etido does less to win arguments against him while those who advance such do more to lose them.
The claim for him to esteem and regard rest not so much on whatever special work he has done/is doing for Ikot Ekpene as upon the general work he has done/is doing for across the state. Always, he is clearly a victim of the decency he practices in politics. Decency involves positive attributes such as morality, honesty, politeness and civility. It stands for the exhibition of attitude towards others and practice of respect for, and not fear, of them. It is the thin line which separates desperate politics and developmental politics. While falsehood in politics seems the rule, Etido celebrates truth. Where tolerance of competition is abhorred, he welcomes it. Rather than engage in politics of suppression, Etido strives to create opportunities.
Wishfully, in a society that, at least prior and during the stages of its creation, was run by principles which transmitted inherent and cherished values which were intrinsic to its survival as part of humanity, many will wake up to realize that in the wise words of Theodore Roosevelt, “the most practical kind of politics is the politics of decency”.