Ikeddy recommends dancing in public as a national pastime for political office holders, to enable us manage the sorrows we feel at their antics.
By Ikeddy ISIGUZO
SUPPOSE governments, for lack of any policies for the improvement of our lives, decree, as they are wont to, that dancing in public should be a national expectation from all public officials? At least we can laugh at the antics of those who are elected or appointed – including those who happen on public office, who seek no engagement with the people because, maybe, they have nothing to tell us.
The public sphere is deserted in the absence of two iconic dancers, Dino Melaye and Ademola Adeleke, both Senators until misfortune hit their steps in contentious elections. The other significant individual in the group of public dancers is Adams Oshiomole, national chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC. Alas, Adams has little to dance about right now, with his shrinking influence in APC Edo State.
Not to worry. Oshiomole would be dancing before new audiences henceforth. His “unbecoming of His Excellency” dances were unrestrained contributions to the election of Godwin Obaseki way back in the 2016 campaigns, where little was said. Was there anything to say? Following the growing cracks in his relationship with Obaseki, Oshiomole has publicly thrown his support behind Osagie Ize-Iyamu, 57, PDP governorship candidate in 2016 for the 2020 governorship race. Ize-Iyamu, a two-time Secretary to the Government under PDP and APC, is busy reminding people that the governorship ticket was not his major reason for returning to APC which he abandoned when Obaseki was favoured for the ticket.
Oshiomole would certainly dance for Ize-Iyamu.
The awaited flip is for an aggrieved Obaseki to leave APC for PDP. We never saw Obaseki dance. Oshiomole covered the platforms, with no space to accommodate Obaseki. There is a chance that we would see Obaseki dance his own dance in 2020. It is possible he has started practising.
Another Senator, now Minister, and undecided whether to give the Senate another try in a re-run, is Godswill Akpabio. His steps are getting lost in the troubles of managing personal politics. There is little to celebrate in the midst of the unmitigated uncertainties of politics. Was it not Akpabio who co-authored those steps with Melaye when, in July 2018, Melaye dumped APC for PDP?
Akpabio was the Minority Leader of PDP in the Senate. The welcome dance for Melaye proved that those dances meant nothing. They were more likely to be pregnant with future consequences.
Exactly a month after the acrobatics with Melaye, Akpabio was showing off new steps as he waltzed alone towards the APC. It was as if both parties exchanged members. Did Akpabio, the godfather as he prefers to be called, not know that he was leaving PDP while he danced with Melaye?
He was more intriguing back in his native Akwa Ibom where for eight years he was a Commissioner, a governor for another eight, four years as Senator, and is now a Minister representing. These epaulettes put him in a special class of persons who have been involved in managing public resources in the past 20 years. They are few.
The welcome dance for Melaye proves that their dances mean nothing; they are more likely to be pregnant with future consequences.
Akpabio embraced his opponents and danced with them until the collective realisation that hard decisions had to be made, if he was to survive. The brief romance to place his feet firmly in politics of Akwa Ibom APC resulted in an inevitable clash with Chris Ekpenyong, a Deputy Governor during Akpabio’s first tenure as Commissioner. Ekpenyong wanted the Akwa Ibom North senatorial seat as APC candidate. Ekpenyong had been working on the party ticket when Akpabio was in PDP.
The re-alignment that Akpabio’s membership of APC brought resulted in Ekpenyong departing APC for PDP. Ekpenyong won the disputed senate seat. A re-run in Akpabio’s stronghold has been announced. The question remains whether Akpabio would run.
Akpabio also danced with his former Deputy Governor, Obong Nsima Ekere. Akpabio had sacked Ekere to pave the way for the election of Udom Emmanuel in 2015. Akpabio fell out with Emmanuel as he navigated his way to APC. Today, Akpabio is so chummy with Ekere that it is obvious that politicians do not say what they mean or mean what they say.
In the face of drying engagements with the public, except for more taxes, governments should opt for their members to dance and dance. We may “forget our sorrow” as Peter Shina advised in the mega hit Ijo Shina (The Ace album), 30 years ago.