Dayo Akintola, Special Projects Editor, Abuja
Political observers in Nigeria will not have any difficulty in noticing the similarities between former Governor of Akwa Ibom State and former Senate minority Leader, Chief Godswill Akpabio and the former Governor of Lagos State , Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Both politicians have governed their states, though some people have argued that they do not biologically hail from the states they governed. Tinubu is said to hail from Osun, while Akpabio is alleged by some of his ‘relatives’ to hail from the eastern part of Nigeria. They led their states at different times with the same strategy of emasculating the opposition and the employment of heavy propaganda. Anybody who enjoys any close relationship with the duo will readily notice the penchant of both men for hero worship. They live to be adored and worshipped by their supporters.
Another striking similarity is their inability to manage their deputy Governors; recall that Bola Tinunbu engineered the removal of his deputy Governor, while he was Governor. Akpabio had three deputy governors in 8 years and also engineered the removal of his deputy Nsima Ekere although on the commendable premise of allegations of fraud and grave security infractions.
Manifest among other similarities of these two political Titans is their manifest support for their wive’s actions however excessive. They have turned previously very quiet women to political tigers, whose influence in the polity cannot be ignored. Remi Tinubu, even as First Lady was a very quiet and unassuming Lady. But when the husband put her out for the Senate, changed all of that, as she began to speak and act as a person of power. Recall how she got into a fight with Dino Melaye and also ignored the outstretched hand of Senate President, Bukola Saraki, after her swearing in. When Godswill Akpabio put forward his wife Unoma, she was meek, respectful and graceful but soon after, she became a tiger, locking out the sacked SSG Umana Umana and preventing him from having access to his office; abusing traditional rulers and elders and very recently, insulting an Archbishop of the Methodist Church.
These men like to be godfathers in their respective domains. They do not care about how the public will perceive their action. They just act, then allow society to react however. Recall when Tinubu instigated the Lagos state House of Assembly to attempt impeachment on Babatunde Fashola, Lagosians kicked and objected but Tinubu was adamant until he realized that if he pressed on, Fashola May defect to the PDP and go on to win the elections. He undercut fashola to bring Ambode and now, has single handedly prevented Governor Ambode from seeking a constitutionally permissible second term chance. Akpabio in trying to follow Tinubu’s foot step is trying to prevent his successor from attaining his second term.
The aspect that these two match like Siamese twins is their taste for and ownership of choice property. Tinubu is famed to own plenty assets like the oriental hotel, intercontinental hotel, TVC, max, Nation Newspaper among other choice properties. Chief Godswill Akpabio is alleged to own several properties including Neetoil building Victoria Island, his billion naira bunker home on TY Danjuma street, Awolowo, Abuja, a posh estate in Ewet Housing, a house on Colorado street, maitama, a bunker mansion at shelter afrique, Uyo, sprawling mansion in his hometown, Ukana. He is also alleged to own different businesses in Uyo, Lagos, Abuja and Enugu. The properties are St. John Paul school, shelter afrique, the Dome event center in new heaven, the psalms hotel, Independence layout, a Palatial Residence at Bent lane, Enugu GRA with 16 rooms, Cinema, Swimming pools etc,UG Wills Hotel, Calabar among others.
As events unfold, Nigerians will continue to watch the duo to see how far they can go; especially whether Godswill Akpabio will become another Bola Ahmed Tinunbu.