Dele Momodu’s “Brotherly Advice” to Gov. Akpabio By Ukpong Ekam
Mr. Dele Momodu, Presidential Candidate of, National Conscience Party (NCP). Dear Mr. Momodu: I am very comfortable writing this letter of advice to you due to the high level of respect I have for you as a super businessperson, a self-made millionaire and an accomplished publisher. My uneasiness, though, comes from the
tone of which my advice will take in response to your own “Open Letter” to Gov. Akpabio, your much-admired governor according to your own admission. I dare to add, with such an admirer as you are and with such choices of terms of endearment such as “noise-maker”, “attention-seeker” and “publicity-grabber”, who really needs a foe? I do understand that you did it in good taste as a good writer. This piece in no way is an attempt to measure up to you. It is only an effort to defend Akwa Ibom people.
Sir, unlike you I never thought of writing an “Open Letter of Advice” to you; however, after reading your open letter to Dr. Godswill Akpabio, the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, I flirted with the idea until I firm the decision to send you my own piece of advice. It is not that Gov. Akpabio cannot respond to your advice, maybe he has already done so given that he has a truckload of competent hands in the pen profession to handle his daily correspondence.
Since in your wisdom, you decided not to “seal” the envelope, I peeped into it and concluded that your advice was not really meant for Gov. Akpabio as you claim but for the minorities (Akwa Ibomites) that you erroneously believe have no business in the national discussion and the direction the country should be heading. Yet these “minorities” happen to come from the section of the country that contributes more than 80% of the revenue that drives Nigeria.
Dele, you have heard that a European sage once stated, “Everyone is wise until he opens his mouth.” Actually, your epistle to Akpabio does nothing to dispel the truism of this statement. You come across as someone who’s still very surprised at the competence and capabilities of people from that section of the country. Thanks to your accidental visit to Uyo; (I truly wondered why you did not seek to be the President with your apparent larger-than-life vision – Momodu). With this, it is safe to conclude that you have voluntarily admitted that Gov. Akpabio is a better quality presidential material than you will ever be with “his-larger-than-live vision.” Not bad, sir.
It is obvious that your main target of “keeping them where they belong” was in point of fact President Goodluck Jonathan. Mr. Akpabio happens to be a collateral damage in your line of fire and by linkage the entire people of Akwa Ibom State and other minority groups in the country of which I am a proud member. Hence, I am duty bound to send you my own version of “Open Letter of Advice” as a brother. This is fair since you don’t have the monopoly of wisdom to advice.
However, Dele, somehow, I believe you have misdirected your unsolicited advice to the wrong person and people. Going by the excellent performance of the current President compared to our past leaders, I honestly believe your letter should have been directed, with some adjustments, to the cabal from the “majors” who have fleeced the country to a comma that we are now experiencing. Your subtle attempt at blackmailing President Jonathan via your so-called “advice to Gov. Akpabio” is condemnable. Therefore, I suggest that you direct your advice to your likes and not to use any South-South brother as a path to destabilizing and sabotaging the administration of Dr. Jonathan who happens to come from the area that has not presided over the country before. May I also suggest that you furthermore advice them to allow the President to concentrate on fixing the mess created by those who have unconscionably mismanaged, abused and plundered the economy of Nigeria.
By your admission, Gov. Akpabio has performed creditably well and provided leadership as a governor. LEADERSHIP is a rare commodity in Nigeria. Why then do you, as a one-time presidential candidate, come to reason that someone with a much sought after leadership traits should consider “checking out” of Nigeria to the United States where his service is probably not needed. I am baffled at this strange reasoning. The last time I checked, what the US does not lack is quality leadership.
Reading your piece, I had a belly-ache as you turn commonsense upside down. As a presidential candidate from the platform of a party founded by one of the most progressives individuals this country ever had, Late Chief Gani Fawehinmi, SAN, one gets a glimpse into your reasoning ability. If I had voted for you, I would not now hesitate to sue Prof. Jega and INEC to demand a “refund” of my vote. Certainly, you have provided us a window into how you would have ruled Nigeria if you were given a chance. This is really The Problem with Nigeria. (My apology, the great Chinua Achebe.)
Evidently, you are great in other aspects of life but lacking in the gift of advising. So, please kindly keep a safe distance from the profession of counseling. That is my additional candid advice to you. Indeed, it would have been a monumental tsunami if you had had a chance to lead Nigeria because you would take the idea of exporting what we don’t have and importing what we have to a scientific level.
Recently, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria, blamed poor leadership in Nigeria on the younger generation. I was pondering how he came about that. You have not allowed the ink to dry on that story; you exonerated the old man and have given him more ammunition and reasons to lampoon us the more. You have not given me any comfort. Sadly, Gen. Obasanjo has been vindicated.
Dele, I have high regards and respect for your ability and ingenuity of being able to fire one shot at three different targets. It is not merely because you have thrown an ineffective verbal salvo at President Jonathan who has performed convincingly since taking over as the president of Nigeria but because you have also attempted quite unsuccessfully to give a black eye to Gov. Akpabio while defending Gov. Amaechi’s infantile behavior and betrayal of Niger Deltans. It seems like the transitory defense of Amaechi’s ill-advised conduct by you and others is obviously bread and butter on the tables at your corridors. Your style is cowardly because in your scheme and zeal, you saw no reason to throw in a single word in defense of the democratically elected Chairman and Councilors of Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State, who were “impeached” by fiat through the instigation of the Rivers State governor for perceived loyalty of these politicians to his rival, which is the genesis of his troubles. Loyalty to another politician and others, to Amaechi is a ground for removal of an Executive Chairman of a local government and his councilors in Amaechi’s country of Rivers State. How Mr. Amaechi’s self-inflicted political problems become an issue of jealousy and competition of another governor is beyond any rational comprehension. Yet, you stand on this faulty rational as the basis of your ill advice, expecting “to see you (Akpabio) teach Leadership courses in Harvard and propounding practical theories.”
I do not hide my disappointment that you, Dele Momodu, the cosmopolitan man, couldn’t even see a single university in Nigeria deserving of Gov. Akpabio to share his experiences with young people. Not University of Uyo, Federal University Otuoke, the University of Ibadan, the University of Calabar , ABU or the University of Lagos? How is that for a man that wanted to lead Nigeria.
Your recommendation that a governor who performs exceptionally well in Nigeria should down tools and head into exile in a “whiteman’s country” is a product of lack of self worth. Anything good belongs to Caucasians not the Black Race is what I am reading from you. In that case, Gov. Akpabio certainly does not need your advice and Nigeria does not need such advice at this time.
Actually, let me confess to you that the foremost reason I decide to write and offer you this advice is based on the perception of your hidden motive for writing Gov. Akpabio. In your own words, “perception is key.” I pick out that your motive is founded on false premise and unfounded stereotype about people from Akwa Ibom State and Cross River State. It is clear from your antics that you have been nurtured negatively over the years about people from this part of the country as lesser than equal. You assimilate and internalize this false notion only to midwife it through your so-called “Brotherly Advice to Gov. Akpabio.” You are comfortable underpinning this inaccurate stereotype about Akwa Ibom people so that the cock-and-bull story will keep repeating itself hoping to become factual for those who are far behind time like you. Otherwise, where would you get the guts to patronize someone you have admitted has a far better quality of leadership than you? Telling Gov. Akpabio where to go and what he should or shouldn’t say or do is unacceptable.
Mr. Momodu, you don’t believe that Akwa Ibom people belong in national stage. I bet you are still trying to come to terms with reality; still clearing your eyes to confirm that Gov. Godswill Akpabio is from Akwa Ibom State whenever he takes center stage to discuss and proffer solutions to nagging national issues! You wonder how someone from Akwa Ibom State should be contributing to national debate, which is exclusively reserved for your enclave.
Well, Sir, I don’t know where you have been since 1999. As Nigerians would say, “Level don changed.” Therefore, learn how to deal and live with the new generation of Akwa Ibomites. They have given you and others notice courtesy of their governor, Mr. Akpabio, in fact, right from the era of Offshore/Onshore dichotomy struggle, that we are not playing second fiddle to any ethnic group or section in Nigeria on matters affecting our wellbeing and interests. Take it or leave it. The people of Annang, Ibibio, Oro, Ekid, Efik, etc, have contributed substantially economically, socially and politically to the development of Nigeria. We have invested a sizeable share of our sweats and tears. We have suffered losses both human and material during the civil war uncompensated. However, the revisionists have found it conveniently enough to eliminate and water down our own sterling contributions only to exaggerate the baseless and unfounded labels that seem to take center stage in the psychics of your ilk. This foolhardy label is what you have purposely given voice concealed as a brotherly advice to Gov. Akpabio.
For your information, Akwa Ibomites have re-emerged in full force of competence and capabilities through their governor. You must make allowance from your stereotypical mindset that when you see an Akwa Ibom man or woman in the “national kitchen” of Nigeria, we are there to dish the national cake for ourselves and not to pick the crumbs from the table from other sections of the country. In fact, we are very ready to “dish” to others fairly and equitably unlike what had been done to Niger Deltans in the past many years. We will not cheat others as exemplified by President Jonathan’s fair and evenhanded management of the country’s economy. I strongly advise you to start adjusting to the new reality in Nigeria no matter the discomfort you and those who think like you will encounter given the fact that you are not used to us aggressively demanding our fair share. I advise you to try to control your patronizing tendency and don’t ever try to pigeonhole the present generation of Akwa Ibom person in Nigeria.
Apparently, you may not be educated enough to know about the contributions of our past leaders in the Nigeria project. Many of our forerunners have made significant contributions to the development of Nigeria with a history of patriotism and honesty. Such names include Mr. Asumoh E. Ekukinam, former Minister of Finance and the first indigenous Managing Director, Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company (NSPMC) and Governor Clement Isong, onetime Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and a former Governor of Cross River State. If you have not heard of them, ask OBJ and Gen. Buhari. I am only mentioning just two who contributed in no small way in planning the economy of this nation only to be ransacked by unpatriotic and self-centered people, those you prefer to be the only one to speak on Nigeria issues. It is from that background that Gov. Akpabio brings to the table to advice the President of Nigeria, which you seem to have problem with.
Are you not tired of talking and discussing among yourselves infinito without progress other than putting the country deeper and deeper into social and economic bedlam? Old wine must give room to new wine. You will benefit from people with new ideas from the “minority” groups that had been shut off from governance due to ethnicity. Rather than undermine Dr. Jonathan, who has brought in a fresh breathe of air, support him and allow him to succeed.
Incidentally, what is happening to President Jonathan is not new to people of minority stock in this country. A case in point is the injustice that was meted out to Barr. (Mrs.) Mfon Usoro when she was appointed the Director General and Chief Executive Officer of National Maritime Administration and Safety/Agency (NIMASA). The cabal of the major ethnic groups attacked and accused her falsely because they feared that she would expose their criminal and corrupt activities in that agency. After she was replaced for no justifiable reason other than she is from the minority group and a woman, she was issued a pointless letter of apology while the cabal continues their unabated, wanton mismanagement and corruption of the agency. They are at it again against President Jonathan. This ought to stop. So please direct your advice elsewhere.
Finally, Mr. Momodu, I want to end my advice to you with the word of Gen. Lawrence Onoja, Chairman, Strategic Mobilization Committee of Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and the current President of Alumni Association of National Institute for Public Policy and Strategy Studies (NIPPS). During a recent interview, he stated, “Yesterday is not the same as today. People are educated, and exposed, so if yesterday some group of persons were dictating to us, today people (Akwa Ibomites) will not accept the dictation of anyone again. We in Middle Belt (Akwa Ibom State) are strong enough to go on our own in any situation.” Gen. Onoja has spoken so eloquently for ALL the minorities in Nigeria. In fact, that is the way it is now.
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