Talk, they say is cheap. It is even cheaper when it is issuing from an unstable and desperate mind. And in the infantile emission of such cheap talk, the consequences or costs are neither considered nor adjusted to be in tandem with public good. For such people, if they can hew out political capital from such indiscretion, then it would have served their warped purpose.
Since former failed commissioner Ita Awak was handed down the difficult job of speaking for a party that is still clawing the Akwa Ibom earth in a bid to pitch its tent, he has thrown all cautions to the wind. To impress his paymasters who want him to justify their colossal expenditure, Engineer Ita Awak has sought to build bridges where there are no rivers, make mountains out of mole hills and act more Catholic than the Pope. Driven, perhaps by the moral imperative to earn his pay, Awak is like a loose cannon; a disaster always waiting to happen.
His latest pretension aimed at suggesting that he is working is the outburst that is alleging a face-off between the well bred governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel and the insinuation that the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Victor Etim Antai further made inflammatory comments thus according to him, stoking the discord. In what was given the guise of a press release, Ita Awak under the aegis of APC directed that “Udom Emmanuel must respect our royal fathers and apologize for Victor Antai’s derogation of them”, referring to the traditional rulers.
Of course, the social media known not to be guided by ethics, rules or convention have joined to suffuse public space with the rumour that there was an altercation between Governor Emmanuel and members of the traditional institution, which according to them, warranted the governor to insist that traditional rulers accord the office of the governor its due regard and respect. Well since the social media have the notoriety of relying on rumours or fabricating its own; it is widely believed that no responsible man can depend hook, line and sinker on what is published on that platform.
But Ita Awak did not only rely on this unregulated media, he obviously took what may have been published there out of context imbuing it with innuendoes to reap cheap political capital. In doing this, he has unwittingly whittled down his self respect as a former commissioner and that of the party, turning it into a tool of public irritation rather than a body that can galvanize the change it touts so lavishly.
In the irritable and puerile document that was to serve as a press release, Ita Awak raised many illogical and ludicrous submissions that openly betrayed his intention and that of his party, being that of creating disaffection between the government and the traditional institution. Of course, it is on record that the traditional institution provided a strong bulwark of support for the emergence of the current administration. Indeed PDP as a party and the governor as a person have at different fora openly acknowledged the support and blessings of the royal fathers. Mr. Awak who alleged that Rt. Hon. Victor Antai, the local government commissioner used indecorous language while addressing the royal fathers failed to isolate such indecent usages for evaluation by members of the public. Rather he assumed a wanton authority to construe that the language used was according to him “insulting as it was demeaning of their persons and traditional institution they represented” (sic).
Such assumption is preposterous as he does not possess authority in semantics to lay claim to such knowledge. It is a fact that Hon Victor Antai held a meeting with the revered monarchs. But it was a meeting held under a congenial atmosphere to discuss the welfare of the traditional rulers. To insinuate that it was convened to warn the monarchs to accord the office of the governor due respect is unfounded just as it is unfortunate. Standing up when a president or a governor enters an arena of event is a routine protocol requirement. It is not something that has just been introduced and not too much to ask for in respect of somebody whose office has the authority to issue certificates for occupants of the traditional institutions. And so subjecting an age-long protocol procedure to warped political interpretation to cause disaffection is tantamount to cheap blackmail and alien to a party that lays claim to progressive caveat.
Ita Awak in another show of warped logic argued: “that the last eight years of PDP led government of Godswill Obot Akpabio visited woe and contempt on our traditional institution. He further stated, “We consider it unacceptable and condemnable that the Udom Emmanuel interregnum is continuing with this unwholesome character. We have had enough of this nonsense”. Much as one may wish to ignore the indecent use of language as one with expertise in semantics, one cannot gloss over the deliberate mischief contained in this inane piece. Is Mr. Awak a stranger in Akwa Ibom State? Was he a commissioner that people claim he was? Does he operate without his memory? Where was Ita Awak when our traditional rulers were riding bicycles and motor cycles? If there is any administration that has brought meaningful reforms that have impacted on the welfare of the traditional institution, it was the Akpabio administration; a tradition that the Udom administration is geared and committed to continuing. It was in the Akpabio’s era that traditional rulers began to drive brand new exotic cars including SUVs. Is that visiting woe and contempt on the traditional institution? It was in that era that many of them had their palaces rebuilt and their welfare packages enhanced. For Ita Awak who was a beneficiary of Akpabio’s kind gestures to decide to mislead Akwa Ibom people typifies him as an ingrate who lacks scruples and who does not deserve the honour of being accorded attention for he is a congenital liar and a tragic moral lesson to upcoming leaders.
Well if what Mr. Ita Awak calls “APC emancipatory philosophy” is the invention of such colossal falsehood like the ones he has consistently spread, then the party will never find a place in Akwa Ibom as the governments of Akpabio and Udom have corrected the moral anomaly that the likes of Awak and his ilk had entrenched as a way of life. Lying so glibly and with such ease in the name of politics is a culture we must collectively jettison especially as our current leader is standing in the gap to take us to the new path of moral rectitude.
APC and Ita Awak do not possess the standard of how the government of Udom Emmanuel should relate with the royal fathers. Udom Emmanuel as a person does not only manifest good breeding in conducts and deeds, he has also not put anybody in doubt that he is a Christian of the deepest dye. He has always allowed Christian values to shape his behaviour and conduct. And his subordinates would undoubtedly follow his sterling example which would always be in tandem with Christian values. APC and Ita Awak’s misguided role of serving as self appointed mouthpiece of our revered royal fathers and attempting to set a dubious standard of how the Udom administration should relate with them are exercises in mischief. They should be dutifully ignored as the intention is to cause disaffection and overheat the polity. Again, APC and Ita Awak and his ilk have no record of robust interface with the traditional institution. Our royal fathers must not allow these merchants of mischief to use them for their selfish political ends.
Akwang is a public affairs analyst and writes from Uyo