Akpabio’s Phobia: Is It Claustrophobia or Dikephobia?



By Ebongabasi Ekpe-Juda  |

THE recent utterance of Governor Godswill Akpabio leaves much to be desired and has instigated in me a desire to investigate his reasons for this his state of mind as a Sociologist. This has led me to pontificate and adumbrate on this situation lately. He recently has expressed great concern about what happens to him after office, which has become a phobia. I have tried to figure out which phobia he is having. I came up with two phobias namely claustrophobia and dikephobia.

Claustrophobia is the fear of having no escape and being in closed or small spaces or rooms. This fits prison confinement. This kind of phobia is typically classified as an anxiety disorder and often results in panic attack and can be the result of many situations. On the other hand, people who are very law abiding or on the other extreme end those who fear reckoning and justice from any criminal activity, can be suspected of having Dikephobia or the fear of justice. This state of mind in leaders generates the desire to hang on to power at all cost. We have enough of it in Africa. Could this be the reason for his desire to go to the senate against the acceptable zoning policy of his party?

It is indeed uncharacteristic and atypical for current leadership to be x-rayed while in office, as I am about to do. People prefer to do a post mortem analysis, and as the name suggest only after the subject matter is gone. This is done so that they will not be hunted by the power that is, particularly in our kind of primitive and primordial society. Undeniably, the reason is often not too farfetched. For the politicians, they may still expect that they could be invited to the party, so they would rather wait and if it does not happen, they then pour their venom on the person when the ruler is gone.

I am obliged or constrained to make this review or analysis because of two identical statements that Governor Akpabio has made. But before I delve into the statements, let me accept as a minister of the word of God, that Akpabio has lifted Akwa Ibom to a lofty height, infrastructure wise. In my two previous articles, I have rated Akpabio high on that score, such that some of my friends felt I was being too kind and benevolent to somebody they feel has drawn us backwards. He has done fairly well, I must admit. This is because, if you are sincere you will accept that Akwa Ibom before Akpabio and Akwa Ibom now are miles apart in terms of physical infrastructure. However, I am mindful that physical development alone does not make for human society development. Economists do not look at things that way. They are interested in the mixture of all indices of development. The contradiction in this his claim will become more apparent when we get to the statement made by the nation’s economic manager.

However, when one juxtaposes Akpabio’s statements that I am going to reproduce here and analyse, with that of the national economy manager, that is, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, minister of finance, the need to do this becomes apparent and let the readers draw their conclusions. It is on this score that I want this article to be adjudged.

A statement published by the former President Olusegun Obasanjo in his banned book, “My Watch”, Governor Akpabio admitted that they have done wrong deserving of imprisonment. According to Obasanjo, Two governors from the [PDP] – Liyel Imoke of Cross River and Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta States and Godswill Akpabio from Akwa Ibom State by himself, came to me in Abuja, appealing to me to intervene in the situation of the Governors’ Forum, particularly in the disagreement within the PDP governors. Akpabio said starkly in his frank and outspoken manner:  ‘We have messed up and don’t leave us alone. For me, I don’t want to go to jail and my children are too young. I will report our meeting to the President’. Nobody, including President Jonathan, would like to go to jail, and he knew he could, depending on how things turned out or failed to shape from then on.”

This admission in law is enough to sentence the person to jail. So this is one reason he could go to jail. His fear or phobia by this is justified. Again on the day that President Goodluck Jonathan kick started his re-election campaign bid at Tafawa Belewa Square in Lagos, Akpabio as one of the speakers that addressed their supporters again alluded to his desire not to go to jail, when he said: “We cannot afford to hand-over power to those who will send us to prison. Jonathan is a democrat; Nigerians should let him continue in office”.

This statement is loaded. I would not want to go into this now. Nonetheless the natural question is, for a man who has supposedly “done so well”, that he brought the President and two current foreign heads of State and a former head of state to witness the commissioning of the Nest of Champion, as the stadium he built in Uyo is christened, why is he so jittery about going to prison? Why is the phobia hunting him even while still office? People who have done so well are never and should never be afraid of judgement except in Apartheid South African of Mandela’s eon which is no more. I recall that when Buhari came on board, on account of the corruption that was the order of the day, just as it is today, Jakande was never sent to jail because he did very well. When Muritala/Obasanjo struck, Esuene and Johnson were never sent to jail, because they performed well. It is only criminals that should be scared as they are the people sent to jail! So if Akpabio has done so well with his uncommon transformation, as his sing song is, why is he so patently afraid of being sent to jail, that at every given opportunity he begs that he does not want to go to jail? There must be something inherently, pathologically and fundamentally wrong with his acclaimed performance mantra, that instead of honouring him would rather send him to jail. Would his good performance send him to jail? I doubt. Then there must be something about his performance that is fraudulent or sinister, which is capable of sending him to jail.

I have tried to figure out which phobia he has and which of this would fit his present disposition. Is it claustrophobia or dikephobia? Claustrophobia being the fear of having no escape and being in closed or small spaces or rooms is akin to prison confinement. This could be what he is scared of having spent the last eight years in a sprawling palace. But he has also built for himself similar structures. The other type mentioned above is Dikephobia or the fear of justice. This also fits Akpabio’s anxiety state. I want to subscribe that the later is more of what he is scared of.

In reality my visit to Akwa Ibom State, showed that Akpabio has performed well. I don’t want to talk about the Ikot Ekpene Abak road he completed in his first term, the new Abak road he is just completing with the “flyover” bridge, the Uyo Aka Ibesikpo road with the biggest roundabout in Africa according to him, the Afaha Obong Etim Ekpo Ika road, the Abak Ukanafun road, the flyovers in Uyo, the Mobil police station in Essien Udim, the model prison in Essien Udim, the Federal Polytechnic in Essien Udim, the road network in Essien Udim and Ikot Ekpene, the ongoing Ikot Ekpene Uyo dual carriage road, the sinking Tropicana Hotel and Entertainment Centre in Uyo, the Sheraton Hotel in Ikot Ekpene, the Brook Street reconstruction, the Barracks road roundabout, the Ikpa road junction roundabout. Is it his free education policy? Or the Industries he has sold to his brothers. If I want to continue, as the Bible says, even the world would not contain such a book that would be written to chronicle his achievement.

So what is it about these marvelous doings, achievement and performance that is giving Akpabio that phobia and causing him to be afraid of going to jail? I pondered over this and cannot easily see any “good” reason to rationalise for Akpabio’s prison phobia. The Bible makes us understand that, what a man is afraid of, always happens to him. However, I know that the answer to this puzzle is not in the forty five billion naira private jet he purchased, after all, it is for the state and am pretty sure he has the receipt and can justify the expenditure particularly since the rubber stamp House of Assembly had given their approval. The Nest of Champion built with over a hundred billion naira as against the approved expenditure of only fifty billion could be the reason. But he would be forgiven if that is the only crime.

In my search I stumbled on something that might signify the reason for his prison phobia in the internet. That is what I meant in paragraph three by the statement of the national economic manager. I take the liberty of the freedom offered by the internet to republish that statement Okonjo-Iweala made:

I am an economist and I can tell you in all honesty that if you are to place the infrastructure in the state side-by-side with allocation that goes into Akwa Ibom State, it will only represent one per cent of the total allocation the state has pocketed. The question is, where have these monies gone into? Nobody will ask that. But I am sure that in that same Akwa Ibom state many indigenes will be quick to tell you that the Federal Government is not pursuing development vigorously”.

What baffled me about this statement is that as implicating as it is, and very unlike Akapbio we know, he never took Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to the canvass as he normally would do, and none of his lackeys or minions has refuted the weighty allegation. They only told her to mind her business, which in any case, is what she was doing in the first instance.

I also wonder if as published by The Global Concord Newspapers in Uyo, that the accountant general of the state when grilled by Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC, on accusation of misappropriation of Internally Generated Revenue, IGR, of the state by the crime commission, stated that Governor Akpabio instructed him to always share N10 billion of the state allocation to the Akpabios which he takes the largest chunk. The Global Concord Newspaper is the most widely circulated local tabloid in Akwa Ibom State. Indeed there are many reasons for Akpabio to be afraid of going to jail, for if it is as stated by the accountant general who should know, this represent a good chunk of our revenue for just a few family members. This is criminal spelt in capital letters, and should move the crime commission to act after May 29th.

One would have expected that if Akpabio had been mindful of his phobia, he would have been more discreet in the handling of the finances of the state. His statement that they cannot afford to handover to those who would send them to jail is to say the least value loaded and arrogant. So if the people decide that they are fed up with them, what would he do to the peoples will? Would he, can he subvert their will? Such arrogance is capable of undermining the democratic process and should not be expected by people in that position.

Ebongabasi Ekpe-Juda is a medical sociologist, Security Consultant, a social commentator and the author of the books – The Bewitched Church; and- Issues in Security Awareness.

[email protected]

— Jan. 26, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT


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