There is a dominant syndrome in Akwa Ibom people which yields more to self immolation in the manner in which we unleash ferocious attacks against brothers that grace has chosen to elevate. This tendency of pulling down a brother has become a defining hallmark for which the typical Akwa Ibom man is known.
The Scripture intimates us with the phrase “household enemies” and posits examples including the underlying causes that drive this obnoxious behaviour. Biblical examples of household enemies commence from Abel and Cain. Cain killed Abel because of jealousy and envy. The misunderstanding between Abraham and Lot also serve another example . Others include the rivalry between Jacob and Esau which the mother, Rebecca played a role that made him an unmistakable enemy of Esau. Then the case of David and Absalom, the son who dethroned the father. All these are manifest cases of household enemies which the Scripture uses instructively to point to a more morally healthy path we should tow.
Outside that of the Scripture, our cultural ethos also frowns at household enemies and incorporates it in its mores as identified in one of its instructive adages. Let me attempt a loose translation of the adage into English: “If the cause of a stomach pain or ache is from the house, it can’t be relieved even by the use of the potent herb known for its treatment”. There are other apt adages from our cultural mores which make profound attempts to caution humanity against the destructive tendency of internal wranglings schisms. But it tends to be the more we hear of those instructive adages in Akwa Ibom, the more the wranglings and the deeper the gulf in our relationships.
The tendency for this petty squabbling and pull him down has been in sharp focus recently in the face of the national political dynamics that has made Senator Godswill Akpabio the man to beat in the bid for the Senate President of the 10th Senate. One would think that this should gladden the hearts of all Akwa Ibom people for having a son that is worthy and in a pole position to be considered for the coveted office of the number 3 man in the country. But that is not the case . The spirit of household enemies is still at work depicting us once again as the people Professor Emmanuel Ayandele succinctly described as a people perpetually at war with themselves. They would therefore rather give the juicy office with all the multiplier benefits away than allow one of their brothers to clinch it. Burdened with the crab mentality, our people are the ones leading a bitter battle against their brother to forestall him from being a Senate President. What a shame! What a nature to be possessed with!
Yesterday, a big politician friend of yours truly from Yoruba extraction called me to complain loudly that he understands that some Akwa Ibom people are working against Akpabio’s Senate President ambition and to inquire from me whether this was actually true. For once I was lost for words. Shame took the better of me as I began to prevaricate in a numbing effort to respond to the inquiry, knowing his assertion to be true, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. But telling this truth would amount to washing our dirty linen in the public. It, however, had to be told since this our “dubiously renowned virtue” is widely known.
My friend who became miffed by my confirmation of some his fears further asked if it is true that the people of my State are behind Akpabio’s serial invitations to EFCC at a time like this. Well I told him that I have also heard so but cannot confirm it even though the act resembles our people every each of the way. Crossed gravely, he said unapologetically “your people must be very myopic and beclouded”. He said that Yoruba people could fight within themselves but would easily close ranks for any bigger picture that has the interest of the Yorubas, citing the case of Obasanjo who was supported for the office of President even though the people of South West were not very disposed to him. He said they had to support him in the interest of Yoruba, not that of Obasanjo.
Whoever infested us with the demon of enjoying the fall of our fellow brothers in the midst of a surfeit of Churches including a state-of-the-art Worship Centre has set himself up for God’s wrath for destroying His people and circumscribing them from living in love, peace and harmony with one another.
It is unfortunate that those in leadership are the ones charting this path of perdition for our people. Sad too that they adorn themselves with religious titles, play revered roles in churches, and occupy front pews the many worship centres that replete our cities and villages, yet their hearts are far away from God. How do you plan to destroy your brother and in the same breath pray and expect God to answer the prayers. Or do we think God does not see and know the intent of our hearts? Not long ago, some people that Akpabio managed to engage in an agency while he was a minister were immediately booted out after he left office and all the appurtenances extended to them promptly confiscated, some using ultra force. Yet those who did this are Akwa Ibom people against their fellow brothers. Where is Christianity? Where are the religious titles? Where are the fervent prayers they render at public functions with request for thunderous amens? Are we not hypocrites?
I have always held the view that we can be better Christians with our lives than with our lips. Akwa Ibom State has over 95% of Christian population but ironically ranks very high as people lacking in the cultivation of love among themselves. Envy and jealousy which are common commodities in the State flourish as a mighty stream. There are used freely to stymie the progress of fellow brothers.
Whether we accept it or not, Akpabio is today our beacon of hope on the national stage. We need someone with reasonable influence to influence things for us. God did not put him in Akwa Ibom at this time for nothing or as an accident. He made him one of us for a purpose. Let our tendency of destroying one another not impede this purpose of God for the State.
Joe Iniodu is a public affairs analyst .