By Innocent Okon
His full name is quite a mouthful! The surname is tongue twisting. And his career path – politics , very intriguing!
Here comes his full name without “addictives” (titles): JOHN JAMES AKPANUDOEDEHE. He has been in politics for decades and with many elective and appointive offices to show as diadem. One time local government chairman; one term Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; former Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, and as press time, the serving Secretary of the Caretaker Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) political party.
He is arguably one of the most misunderstood politicians in his home state, Akwa Ibom! To the elites, he is loquacious, rambunctious, iconoclast and a stormy petrel. To them, his humble background is an irredeemable deficit that should haunt and hunt him for life. It provides the joker that must be thrown whenever he seeks public office. And this happens in a state the first generation of educated people was made possible by communal scholarships and missionaries!
Until his last appointment, many thought Udo, as he is fondly called in his home state, was a political paper weight that could not fly above and beyond Ibom Connection (Akwa Ibom’s version of Eiffel Tower in Paris)! Even with his Doctorate Degree, some are wont to tell you he is still bereft of intellectual sagacity to amount to anything.
With a track record of successes at polls, some would still tell you he is a political opportunist.
Let Udo tell you with or without modesty that he had served as the Director General of the campaign committee that succesfully produced a state Governor, his critics would still tell you that Udo is more of a gold digger than a consummate politician!
John James Akpanudoedehe earns my MUSING attention today not because we share same political camp nor in anticipation of any favour, but because of his political dexterity in identifying and hooking up to the national grid of APC’s politics.
He has become a political cat with nine lives! When a palace coup was staged by many powerful Governors to sack the CECPC recently, he stood stoutly on the side of constitution, loyalty and integrity. Though a minority boy, he exuded confidence and courage in the discharge of his duties no matter whose ox was gored.
Am not a prophet, but I see him remaining relevant and incharge before and during his party’s convention, come March 26. Those who thought Akpanudoedehe was only “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing ” had better do a rethink!
What I see sofar is a phenomenon whose political network and networth are amazing!
Last week also came with an unanticipated comic relief. A well planned gubernatorial inauguration in Awka, Anambra state, turned awry when two prominent ladies abused protocol and engaged in fisticuffs during the ceremony. The incident provided the sunny side of the solemn occasion as comedians are having a field day with many angles of the severity of the alleged “dirty slap”.
However, my MUSING thought is on the decision of the erstwhile governor, Willie Obiano, to jet out of the state and even attempted to flee the country to the United States same day! How can a Governor who claimed to have served his state diligently and selflessly for eight unbroken years contemplate such “abberation”? Not even a night in his country home after a “meritorious” service to his people? How do you fathom a former Governor spending his first night out of Government House in an anti-graft agency’s cell? A case of transition from Government House to government cell. I hope his ordeal will offer enough lessons for his brother governors still serving!
And finally the week came to pass with the news story that a Federal High Court in Umuahia, Abia state, ordered the immediate deletion of Section 84(12) from the amended Electoral Act , 2022. Few hours after the verdict, Abubakar Malami, the Chief Law Officer of the Federation, indicated the disposition of the Federal Government to implement the court order. Oh, what a beauty of Presidential democracy! But the speed of implementation of this court order puts my thoughts in reverse gear. Hope the hand is not that of Esau, but the voice of Jacob. I think the Senate should kick the matter upstairs (Appeal Court) for more legal gymnastics.
Okon, a legal practitioner, is based in Uyo