I have been longing for a while to interview the immediate past governor of Akwa Ibom State and presently the Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio.
That long wait ended on Monday 16th July immediately after the endorsement rally for Governor Udom Emmanuel and the distinguished Senator representing Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District held in Ikot Ekpene.
Soon after the rally, Senator Akpabio headed straight to his Country Home Ukana, Ikot Ntuen and something in me told me that, that was the day to engage the distinguished Senator on certain critical issues bothering me and other political players in Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District.
And so, I drove straight to Ukana Ikot Ntuen the country home of the distinguished Senator. I made a very stiff resistance from some overzealous security men who resisted all my efforts to meet the Senator. One even asked me if I had a previous appointment to meet with oga and the moment my answer was of the negative they turned deaf ears to all my plea to allow me have a talk with my leader.
However, luck smiled on me when one security man who appeared to be a bit senior in rank approached the gate, I felt it was an opportunity to explain my mission to him. surprisingly, the moment I told him I was a journalist and needed to have a word or two with the Senate Minority Leader, the calm looking security man directed others to let me in. In the heat of things, I marched directly into the compound before he could change his mind and made straight to the Senator’s Villa.
There, I realized that I had other hurdles to overcome. There were many guests waiting to see the Senator, some very highly placed and connected in government. I almost concluded that it was impossible to interview the Senator that day but after about 45 minutes of waiting, the distinguished Senator was seeing off a man of God; the moment I sighted him, I waved at him and as God will have it, he beckoned on me to come.
After few minutes of exchanging pleasantries, I made my mission known to the man many choose to call the Uncommon Transformer. He politely explained to me that time was not on his side to grant any interview as he had many guests to attend to. I pleaded with him to give me at least two minutes as I had only two questions to ask him. After few seconds of contemplation, he responded and his response was “Manasseh, you are asking for two minutes, I will give you five”. To say that I was excited is an understatement. The distinguished Senator took me to his living room. Immediately, we settled down; I went straight to the business of the day as the clock was ticking rather too fast.
Distinguished Senator Sir, your party has lost the Ekiti governorship election, what is your take on that?
“My dear,” he responded, “PDP never lost election in Ekiti State. What happened in Ekiti State was a broad day robbery orchestrated by APC with the connivance of INEC and security forces. But I can assure you that that mandate they have robbed from us, we will surely reclaim it in court. Let no one deceive you, PDP is the only formidable and National Party in Nigeria and is becoming stronger by the day. PDP has become a beautiful bride, many people are seeking our hands in marriage. In a matter of time, you will understand what I mean.
Distinguished Senator Sir, some rumours are making the rounds that you are about dumping PDP for APC. How true is that? “
Laughter… “those are mere rumours, how could you build a big and beautiful house and after completing the building, you go into the bush to live? Is that possible? May be those spreading the rumour are opposition elements who wish that I should be with them but that is just their wish. I will continue to work to strengthen my party, the
And I fired the next question. Is it true that you will not support Governor Udom Emmanuel for a second term? He cuts in “that is another lie from the pit of hell. I had said on several occasions that I will support Governor Udom Emmanuel for a second term and if I have changed my mind, I would have made that known to the public. Or let me even ask you; have you ever heard me say that I will not support Governor Udom Emmanuel? You see! I am a man who believes in justice, fairness and equity and so I believe Eket Senatorial District should complete her eight years in the Government House”.
Scared that my five minutes will expire, I dropped the big one. Your Excellency, there has been so much bickering and apprehension in Ikot Ekpene Federal Constituency following the insistence of the incumbent House of Representative member to contest for a second term against the zoning arrangement that you have over the years helped to maintain. What is your take?
“Well, if you attended the rally, you would have heard the song I sang. I am demanding for three things from my people. First that they should be thankful to God. Second, they should allow brotherly love to continue in the Federal Constituency and thirdly, if you are eating and you see your brother who doesn’t have food to eat, remain some for him to eat so that he won’t die of hunger. I hear some people are going about dropping my name saying Senator Akpabio is supporting me to go against the wishes of the people and to distort the existing zoning arrangement, I have not done that and I will never be a party to it. That was the message in the song I sang that day to the effect that Emman Sunday should eat and remain for Ikot Ekpene. This is the turn of Ikot Ekpene to produce the House of Rep member and I stand for justice, fairness and equity.
Just when I was about asking the final question, the distinguished Senator notified me that my time was up. He said, he needed to attend to other guests still waiting for him. I thanked him for making out time to grant the interview and I rose to leave and he told me, “young man, you are meeting with Godswill Akpabio. You cannot come here and go back the same way you came, the fact that you have met Godswill today, your life must change and just then, he signaled one of his aides who approached him and he instructed the young man “no enye iba” and he lifted two fingers up apparently suggesting that I should be given two million naira.
I thanked him a whole lot and he went to attend to other guests in the room. While I was waiting for the aide to come forth with the money, I was busy contemplating what to do with the money for a memorial. Just then, Dunamis my three year old daughter woke me up from sleep and asked, “Daddy am I not going to school today? When I checked the time, it was already 7:30am and the girl interrupted my sweet dream when I was about getting the money.
Wow! Some dreams could be sweet, some can be a nightmare. I only wish this little girl had waited a little longer for me to get the cash before waking me up, howbeit, any day I meet Senator Akpabio, I will remind him of the money he promised me in the dream.
Surely, he is a promise keeper and I know he will keep this his promise.