James Ibechi

Akpoko’s birthday, LG boss who never was and killjoys

This year’s birthday anniversary of Ibu Kingsley Akpoko, who needs no introduction, ought to be double joy for him.
But it is not. No thanks to the killjoys among our politicians who torpedoed the inalienable right of Akpoko’s community (Okpinya) in Oju LGA of Benue State, to produce him for the people as council chairman.

This explains why while the drum would have been rolled out today for the celebration of both Akpoko’s birthday and one-year of superlative performance as LG boss, as no-one ever doubted his configuration for excellent service delivery, the story, regretfully, is unpalatably different because what is right in the estimation of an ordinary right thinking person in our community is not so with political hawks.

So, Akpoko is, instead, only barely marking the birthday off what should have been double celebration. God dey!
The mere fact that Akpoko is alive, hale and hearty presents yet a cause to thank Almighty God; more so that he today assumes a new age. So happy birthday to you and may God grant your dreams for Oju, Igede, Benue and Nigeria in His right season.

Meanwhile, for the sake of those who do not know the background story, even though I have refrained from commenting on the regrettable odyssey because yelling over spilt milk, an exercise in futility, is not my favourite pastime, yet I might not be fair to readers if I do not refresh their minds a little.
Every good person knew, by Governor Samuel Ortom’s method to pick a consensus chairman for Oju LG in the last council poll in the state, that the lot fell on Akpoko to be for Oju LG and the Governor said so emphatically that the most senior community in Oboru/Oye should produce the Chairman.
Sadly, the PDP killjoys said otherwise. What the PDP killjoys did by imposing a different candidate on the people was to create a hopeless situation for the LGC. The consequences are better imagined.
But when hagiographers started adding insult to injury by rewriting history, then red-lines were being crossed. And I tried to rise to the occasion by drawing a battle line in the sand.
A friend asked me why bother in an era of post-truth politics. But that is exactly the issue: such politics poses a serious challenge to the values of truth, and consequently trust, two value propositions in public office without which good leadership or governance is a mirage.

I am bothered because when falsehoods in public space are mostly left unchallenged, a lot of things are compromised and the integrity of our politics or what is left of it collapses irredeemably.
That is exactly what is going on in Benue State.
I still thank God that some or one of the killjoys later confessed to me secretly that they lied so that Akpoko should not be chairman. Envy at its high level! What a vindication!
Akpoko, I wish you many happy returns of today despite all odds. Happy birthday once again!

Categories: James Ibechi

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