Sometimes in December 2015, during the State Government organised Akwa Ibom Carol Night Concert, otherwise known as; “9999 Carol Concert”, I wrote a piece on this platform, therein, I observed that it was wrong, embarrassing and a breach of official protocol for the former Governor, and now Senate Minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio to attend the function hours after the state Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, had already seated and was on stage taking the Bible reading at the event.
Today, during the Solemn Assembly, a yearly spiritual ritual in Akwa Ibom, to usher in 2017 at Ibom Hall Grounds, the state Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, was already seated and taking the bible reading (same as the 2015 Carol Night) when his predecessor, Sen Godswill Akpabio and wife, Ekaette-Unoma, walked noisily and boisterously into the arena of the event and as usual, his arrival caused disruption of the bible reading which forced the Governor to pause the reading for awhile until calm was restored in the crowd when Akpabio and wife must have taken their seats.
This act of former Governor Akpabio to always attempt to belittle his Successor-in-Office at public functions, has been taken too far to be ignored by sane people of the state. Akpabio should be called to order. If he cannot sit at state function(s) before the arrival of Governor Emmanuel, he has the option of joining the Governor’s convoy or stay back from such function when the governor is seated. Respect is reciprocal.
This particular event like others, was streamed live on AIT, AKBC, and Internet via www.facebook.com/askgovt for the whole world to view. And I believe that a very negative impression would have been formed by the viewers globally about Akwa Ibom state and its people.
Let’s look at it this way, can Godswill Akpabio as a serving senator walk into a public function hours after the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, must have taken his seat and was performing an assignment in the function, thereby disrupting the Senate President? Well, I leave you with your response as you ponder over it. But to me, and ideally too, it is disrespectful and shows no regard to the Office of the Senate President, if Akpabio does that.
It is in the same opinion that, I frown at these repeated actions of Senator Godswill Akpabio which has brought public ridicule to the people of Akwa Ibom state and to the Office of the Governor of Akwa Ibom state.
Come to think of it, the Godswill Akpabio that I know, would not have tolerated this breach of protocol from his predecessor or anyone for that matter. Akpabio should be reminded that Udom Emmanuel is now the Governor of Akwa Ibom state and by protocol, every guests must be seated at any function(s) before his arrival and not the other way round.
I appeal to the consciences of our politicians that, it is high time we allowed Mr Udom Emmanuel to fully take charge of his administration, and function in the Office of Governor of Akwa Ibom state, irrespective of the role(s) played by anyone that brought him into the office.
Enough of this breach of protocol.
Franklyn Isong is a public affairs commentator and writes in from Uyo, Akwa Ibom State .