Humpty Dumpty sat on the wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
All the King’s horses and all the kings’ men
Couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty together again
Thousands of men have fallen from their on-top-of the world positions, but had not deserved the attention of history. Not that they refused to clear their way into the reckonings of history; and not that history deliberately refuse to recognize their falls. But, perchance, because while they were on top of the world, they reasoned that a day would come when they would descend from the echelon to the ground, and their actions would either defend or crucify them.
Of a truth, majority of the people in the world today, especially in this part of the globe are metaphorically like those who are on board an aeroplane – those they see on earth are tiny. Any leader who has an aerial view of his followers or compatriots is arrogant and is bound to fall, and once that happens, he’s gone!
King Nebuchadnezzar is an example of a leader with an aerial view of his followers/subjects. The feelings of his subjects did not matter to him. God was nothing to him either. He also destroyed God’s chosen and refused to heed God’s warning. Nebuchadnezzar was severely punished: his throne was destroyed in Babylon, while he roamed in the bush like an animal for seven years!
Leaders like Nebuchadnezzar have penchant for publicity. They can do anything to get publicized. Their own hypes are often mischievous – to cover up their dirty tracts. It works for them, though. This is the tactics Chief Godswill Akpabio employed while he was holding sway, such that those who were not indigenes of the Akwa Ibom State were swayed by the publicity stunts heavily sponsored by him. The former Senate Minority Leader would seize any available opportunity to reel out drums of his “uncommon transformation”. In the Senate he abandoned legislation and pursued clownery to the detriment of the State. In fact, majority of the people of Akwa Ibom State, including his former lieutenants, had wished for Akpabio’s uncommon fall, and of course, they knew he would fall, just that they wanted it as quick and sudden as possible to commiserate his atrocious and comic reign in the State and in the Senate. Those who knew he would finally “kiss the dust” politically did not know it could happen “like play, like play” because of who Akpabio made them believe he was. Who could have believed that Senator Godswill Akpabio could be dethroned politically in less than 3 hours before election was over against his wish? Certainly, it was, and still is, a shock, to so many people across Nigeria. Akpabio defeated?!
How Akapbio fall (or fail in the last election) is not within the scope of the piece. What concerns this piece are the lessons of (or in) his fall. But it is a subject of debate for decades now among historians whether men actually learn from the lessons of history or not, hence Professor Abednego Ekoko once admitted jokingly that “history has no lessons, but the only lesson of history is that men refuse to learn from history”. What are the lessons of Akpabio’s sudden and Nebuchadnezzaric fall?
The main lesson which Akpabio’s fall teaches mankind is a lesson in humility – that is, how not to play God. Senator Akpabio in the past 12 years had carried himself as a demigod. Because of this, lives were wasted, people were humiliated and or made to fall from their grace; ethnicity was catashot with impunity. The former Governor spent the State’s resources to procure awards for himself and his wife to the extent of attempting to fight his way to the Guinness Book of Records just for self aggrandizement. All these were to aid him in his craze to intimidate the very people he professed to govern. Then, there was so much noise in the State, and bogus names like “Ono Mkpo Inam”, “Uko Akwa Ibom”, “Utueneikang Ibibio”, “Eka Esit Mbom”, “Mother Theresa of our time’, etc. made airwaves.
Senator Akpabio treated so many people in the State like pariahs and with utter disdain. He did what was in his mind at any given time. He was able to coerce Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly to always carry out his instructions with immediate effect, and whipped every institution including the judiciary, traditional rulers, etc to his line. Arrogance! Pride! Pomposity! The Bible says “pride goes before fall”.
Secondly, Akpabio’s fall seems to set Akwa Ibom people free and restore hope and decorum (so I think). Many a people would not have a chance so long as Akpabio holds sway. He would have still decided who gets what, when, and how. He would have continued to deny people their rights, and turn the minority into majority over night. Now, there’s a new lease of life, and Akwa Ibom people now know that they can dethrone any leader who goes against their collective aspirations.
Finally, Akpabio’s fall has taught people to respect one another no matter their status, stature, creed, religion, background, sex, etc. Senator Akpabio has now realized that he should have consulted his people before he took the decision to move to the APC. He has since discovered (though he’s yet to recover) that he has no fools for followers – that those he claimed were fools or his dependants were no fools or his dependants, after all. He has now come to his senses that he should have begged for votes, not going about with the assumption that he had done much for Annang people when he was the governor therefore they cannot stop voting for him to return to the senate.
Like Nebuchadnezzar, Akpabio is now crawling on his knees, begging every Tom, Dick and Harry for leniency and for political recognition. Has Akpabio gone out of his mind like his alter-ego? But packing the entire youths of the State to the Tribunal recently is a clear sign of dementia (I may be wrong), but verily, if Akpabio will repent, and purge his mind of all arrogance and other vices, especially self-assumption, like his alter-ego, his throne may be restored (Daniel 4 verse 34-37)
Thomas Thomas is the General Editor of Global Concord Newspaper, Uyo