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Akpabio, Lawan and the doctrine of perpetual relevance

In the civil service, it is called insubordination – that penchant to challenge the order of a superior. In the military,  it is called treason…

In the civil service, it is called insubordination – that penchant to challenge the order of a superior. In the military,  it is called treason when a subordinate challenges the orders of a superior. Forget that nonsense that the courts have ruled that an order must be lawful. In the military, the order of a superior is always the law except the courts rule to the contrary! In the military, disobeying an order because it might be unlawful amounts to treason, the penalty of which could be death.

Now, why must it be different in politics – that is the million-dollar question? When Yemi Osinbajo, a professor of law made Vice  President of Nigeria, refused to subsume his political ambition to his political mentor, Bola Ahmed Tinubu; even in Yorubaland, reputed to be the tolerant capital of Nigeria, he was tagged a traitor. Obviously, he does not follow social media memes; or he would have slipped into the dark abyss of depression. The emergent memes even for a casual observer were brutal.

Thank God Tinubu has forgiven those who tried to truncate his inalienable right to become APC flag bearer; that includes Osinbajo who failed to be Tinubu’s John the Baptist heralding the coming of the messiah! If Tinubu had felt offended, Osinbajo could have been heading for the same destination as Judas Iscariot. It is damning contemplation for an ordained RCCG pastor – all hail purgatory!

So, what are the treacherous stories about some chaps elevating treason into an art form? Who is Edom Ekpudom, the Judas reneging on the unlawful wish of his political elder – Godswill Akpabio? He was only good as a name placeholder for Akpabio’s doctrine of perpetual political relevance?

Who knows Bashir Machina, the guy who dared to resist handing over Ahmed Lawan’s right to his own perpetual relevance in Yobe North? Has Lawan told him that he is tired of repping his people in the Senate? Seriously, who are these people?

Ever since Akpabio tasted the nectar of political office as commissioner under Victor Attah in Akwa Ibom State, he has followed the divine voice guiding him to Aso Rock, and obviously to the presidency of the African Union. Akpabio has never ‘lost’ an election. He was governor for eight years, got a senatorial ticket that made him the minority leader of the Senate, but realising he was not born to be marginal, he crossed the floor and majored in floor membership from where he was remunerated with a ministerial position.

When the relay race for the presidency started, Akpabio laced his track shoes and lined up. It was only at Eagle Square that he realised it was not time. So, he bowed to the superior candidacy of the – Èmi ló kàn – It is my turn exponent – Bola Ahmed Tinubu. As a loyal party man and a respecter of the hoary head, Akpabio gave up his ambition for the man old enough to be his uncle – it’s called respect for constituted authority if you asked the late Isiaka Ajimobi.

Akpabio had a Plan B; it was for Ekpudom to relinquish a ticket he won fair and square to his superior. Logic demanded that if Akpabio deferred to Tinubu, a stronger political juggernaut, Ekpudom would reciprocate the gesture – one good turn deserves another. Ekpudom has refused, clinging to his mandate the way a child clings to a new toy.

The people of Yobe North have never seen representation better than Ahmed Lawan. Not that Lawan has ever sponsored any earth-shattering bills since he joined the legislative chambers two decades plus. The purpose of having a lawmaker is not to upturn the apple cart of national politics. No! So, even when his colleagues voted him as their president, he announced he would be an establishment lapdog never challenging the presidency on any issue. He has lived up to that promise. Whenever President Buhari is uncomfortable with a legislation passed by the parliament, Lawan asks the president what he would like changed, then returns to work pleasing the president. In the army, that is called loyalty.

So, when his ambition to succeed his mentor flopped at Eagle Square, believed that Machina would deliver the senate nomination he won to him. Machina is fighting for his mandate. But the party prefers to reward a known loyal member to a strong-willed rookie likely to play by party rules.

With Machina frothing in the mouth and threatening to test the strength of the god of justice, Lawan could be fighting for the preservation of his doctrine of perpetual political relevance.

As it stands, the rebellious Ekpudom and Machina would have to wait for INEC to crosscheck the rules and agree with them or take the battle to several layers of courts. In normal climes, this is a no-contest because tickets belong to those who bought their forms and got the votes to emerge winners. Under the APC and in Nigerian climes, the battle of clarity is always a battle of the jury determining whether the content of a green 7-Up bottle is indeed clearer than that of the content of Coca-Cola that is all white.

In Nigeria, it is not enough to win popular votes; Young Turks must fast, pray and consult their boka, dibia and babaláwo so that the god of politics is on their side. This Not-Too-Young-To-Run generation is kicking against the goads. Nigeria is not ready for generational change or is it? It is good luck with patience to Ekpudom, Machina, Akpabio and Lawan as they all have their hands on the threshold of history.

In our beloved fatherland, what is logical is not legal and what is legal is not enforceable. Wouldn’t it be nice to have every adult get their permanent voters’ cards? After all, a massive turnout is the people’s tacit endorsement of democracy as the acceptable vehicle of governance. Nigerian employers who ordinarily do not pay salaries as and when due now have a reason to deny or delay pay to their workers. The excuse slogan is – no PVC no pay! It sounds good to the ear, but it is illegal and a gross violation of the law of contract between an employer and his hire. In Nigeria worker’s rights are written to be trampled. That is how the employer shows where power resides.

As the Ekiti gubernatorial polls have revealed, mass voter registration does not lead to high voter turnout. As Ayodele Fayose would teach any Politics 101 class, stomach infrastructure is the best and ultimate motivation. The other is religion and ethnicity – all factors dependent on where the electoral battle is fought. In Ekiti, only two of these – stomach infrastructure and ethnicity mattered. This is the state that introduced the lingo – d’ìbò kóo se’bẹ – vote and cook a good pot of stew to its geopolitics. The stuff repeated itself last Saturday showing we can’t be bothered by ethics or conscience in politics – the highest bidder clinches the trophy heralding another four years of more of the same. If the gold of Ekiti with its erudite professors rust, imagine what the iron of educationally disadvantaged states would do with corrosion. Where the ruling party wins, all infractions are forgiven.