February 24, 2022
Often times, I feel the Akwa Ibom PDP chair is in the wrong vocation. He shouldn’t be in politics. He lacks the duplicitous character of a chameleon, the slipperiness of a serpent, and the slyness of a conman. He is not at all gifted in the art of doublespeak. In his days in Akwa Ibom House of Assembly, I used to shoot him friendly fires, teasing him for carrying on like the high school headteacher he was in Ukanafun before his adventure into politics.
He was the Chairman, House Services Committee. During no-plenary days of the House, you were as sure as finding gold in Transvaal that Elder Aniekan Akpan would be in his office dutifully attending to hordes of his constituents and other visitors. His passion for service is unmatched.
Our friendship spans years. Years of mutual regard sustained by shared values and of political perceptions that are rooted in noble ideals. Class and age do not determine his relations with people. He possesses the discretions of a General and the judgement of a King.
Beyond being one of the earliest prominent appreciators of my media works, the PDP chairman has been consistent in embracing the leadership ethics that triggered our first walk together. The man – he was as Principal of schools – is the man he was as Chairman of Council.
He was the same man as Ukanafun representative in the state parliament. After he shelved his re-election ambition, he stayed the same person, offering services freely to his people and assisting them from his private corner.
Akpan’s beautiful mind, fondly, was laid bare when with all projections and aces in his favour, he courageously walked away from his second term bid for the 2014/2015 election after few leaders in the area, against the overwhelming wish of Ukanafun people, threatened strife. A peaceable personality, he was never going to allow anyone tie the eruption of violent meteors to his ambition.
Excused from the Board of Akwa Ibom Local Government Service Commission to replace the Late Udo Ekpenyong, the former education commissioner has thrown open the doors of the party, attending to everyone and to every single issue and complaints brought before his leadership. No discriminations, no segregation. From the mighty to the lowly, groups and individuals, there’s a new sense of belonging. Today, he is still the man of yesterday.
Positive reviews generated by the Chairman’s disbursement of the 100million naira recent donation of Governor Emmanuel have continued to dominate party circles. It was quite courageous that Elder Akpan insisted the entire sum be disbursed in the open. Fairly among the respective organs and officers of the party and equally among other beneficiaries. Party sources have continued to praise his sense of fairness, contentment and accomodation after he rejected the idea that extra or special fund be set aside for his office.
‘We were shocked when he calmly but firmly told us that the money wasn’t given to his office but to the entire party structure and as such, no special fund should accrue to him. Everybody went home with something huge because of his decision and we were so happy. We can only look forward to better days ahead with him at the helm of affairs. It shows how contented the chairman is’, narrated a grinning party official.
Another instance referred to was when the Secretary to State Government gifted three million naira to the party Exco through the chairman’s office and Akpan immediately notified his Exco of the largesse.
A critical and dependable pillar of the Udom Emmanuel administration, it is a guarantee that ‘his PDP’ will make only decisions that are popular, just and right. By his dispositions, he continues to rake up, even unintentionally, tons of goodwill that will outlive his times in public office. His intention to do good at all times is never of doubtful validity. While other benefactors would hug the klieg lights in such moments, Akpan dims the lamp.
From handling dusty white chalks on charcoaled boards in classrooms, teaching attitudes and moulding characters – to the influential office of a ruling party chair, it is the colour of a fascinating picture of the dogged and patient climber who has become one of the few worthwhile public figures left in this part of the country.