Had Ita Enang remained in the PDP after losing his bid to return to the Nigeria’s Senate for a second term in 2015, we would have got his own perspective – most likely proper as usual – on a number of things President Muhammadu Buhari is widely perceived to have done wrongly.
Enang, a lawyer and probably the only Nigerian that has gone through all the rungs of legislative bodies in the country, has a modelled journalistic knack for fact checks and investigations. Most times, he goes the extra mile to see things for himself, mounts personal antennae and dig below the surface to extract exactitude of things, and often he dusts his hands on archives in order to give incontrovertible force of authority to his stance.
If he was not serving under the Buhari government, the same way he revealed with factual figures while in the Senate that those reaping most from crude oil businesses through ownership of oil wells are not indigenes of Niger Delta but from the northern part of the country, he would have put in a glance avalanche of nepotisms, ineptitudes and violations of the rule of law perpetrated under the Buhari presidency. The making of Enang a presidential aide, whether consciously or unconsciously, has proved a workable damage control measure for the APC-controlled federal government. But the plus to the APC political family is a minus to the larger Nigerian populace.
What the macro Nigerian society loses in Enang has been a huge gain to a microcosmic component of the country called Akwa Ibom State. The former senator has been given a voice to the opposition, which has constantly been voiceless until electioneering period. His criticisms of the state government since 2015 have been on a number of fronts: flow of funds to the state government other than the well-known Federation Account, management of the resources of the state, appropriateness or otherwise of where infrastructural amenities are cited, authenticity or otherwise of claims made by the state government on industrialization, among others.
Arguable as his points remain, it is undeniable that Enang has singlehandedly enriched civil society on how to engage the Akwa Ibom State government in the running of the state affairs. That is stentorian boost, enough to keep the open society vibrant. Those labelling his diatribe as “the ranting of an ant” are only revelling in using their privilege position to revise, if not plagiarising, the historic second republic political altercation between legendary and erudite Nnamdi Azikiwe and the then exuberant and intellectually pompous Chuba Okadigbo.
Enang’s tirade is often powered with ratiocination, just as his discontent with the powers-that-be or any public-positioned persons always has the sociality of being without bitterness. It is unfortunate and disappointing that Enang has given notice of becoming a killjoy, especially to those of us who believe that criticism is integral ingredient for good governance and that a government without opposition is like a soup without pepper.
On October 9, Enang had on a radio programme on Uyo-based Inspiration FM claimed that the governor was warming up to join the APC. He cited recent visits of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and Senate President Ahmed Lawan, who were in state at different days for inauguration of projects done by the governor. In fact, while urging citizens in the state to be on the watch out for Emmanuel’s formal declaration for the ruling party, he concluded at the same time that “Udom Emmanuel is now a member of the APC” and that he would therefore cease from joining issues with him.
Though it appears suicidal to vow for Nigerian politicians concerning the act of dumping a party that brought them to power for the one that fiercely gave them a run for their money at elections, there are certainly some exceptions. We can be guided by character traits of a person and even contemporary sense of history. The current governor of Akwa Ibom may be good at socially and politically fraternizing with persons across faith and partisan lines, but he is extremely poor at jumping ship. He is also very conversant of the fact that the political profile and popularity of top political office holders in the state are often on decline once they dump PDP. They are only given consolatory position by the party they join.
The office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs given to Enang seems to serve as a mere nomenclature for embellishment of the name of the former senator. Under the Buhari presidency, the office seems to be without a distinct scope and function. If any, it has either been subsumed or usurped and rendered expendable by the current Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio, who is in frenzied struggle to regain his loss glory after defecting to a party he was so vociferous in condemning, and he is yet to find his feet even after being given a bizarre bonus of being supervising minister for Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC.
The SSA portfolio is a pleasant presidential ploy at plummeting a cerebral and highly profiled Enang. No one needs a lens before seeing that Enang’s potential is grossly underutilized since was relieved from being the Senate’s Presidential liaison officer. In fact, in his three decades of being in active politics, the best of Enang remains the 16 years he was in the National Assembly under the PDP platform.
From my distant knowledge of the governor, I do not need to be a prophet, a member of Udom’s fan club or a PDP faithful before knowing that after winning his second term election the last decision the governor would make among millions of options in his remaining days in the Government House in Uyo is the decision to dump PDP for APC or any other party for that matter. Enang looks so prodigious and patriotic to become pliable to pettiness of partisanship.
Enang’s unsolicited information to the public is petty propaganda deployed to keep APC members in Akwa Ibom intact and to give impression that the APC is a fortress for fugitive politicians and a planet where those in search of illusionary greener pasture go to. But that is delusion and escapism. Escapism is lethargic methodology used by lazy and clueless persons who prefer silly comfort of postponing the evil day while in uncomfortable situation. But Enang has never been lazy, he is always labourous; he has never been clueless, he is always conversant with clues to confronting challenges.
Is Enang being infected by effeminacy in Abuja currently afflicting the manning of Nigeria’s national affairs? God forbid!
- Ekanem sent this piece from Lagos through [email protected]