Akpabio and the dawn of a new era in the Senate


By Emeka Nwosu, PhD

The emergence of Senator Godswill Obot Akpabio on the leadership saddle of the Senate has, predictably, set the Senate and indeed, the National Assembly on the path of glory and irreversible development. Under his watch, the National Assembly is undergoing steady transformation which is aimed at changing the ugly narratives of the past and enthroning a new legislative renewal.

The popular expectation of a focused and creative National Assembly under the man fondly called the uncommon transformer is informed by his outstanding leadership credentials and accomplishments in office as the Governor of Akwa Ibom State.

His legacy of uncommon achievements which had seen Akwa Ibom transformed from a backwater community into a beautiful modern state has remained incomparable and unsurpassable till date. Akpabio is known as the man with the Midas touch who is driven by a passionate desire for excellence.

It is those excellent qualities that he showcased when he served as Governor from 2007 to 2015 that many Nigerians expected him to bring on board as he became the Senate President and Chairman of the 10th National Assembly. And I must say that those expectations have not been misplaced in any manner, whatsoever.

What the nation has seen in the last six months of Akpabio`s stewardship is a new dawn of hope and foresighted leadership; a radical departure from the politics of bread and butter that had been the defining feature of the National Assembly from the inception of the current political dispensation. Akpabio, a former Minority Leader of the Senate, is no stranger to the ways of the National Assembly.

He knows all the pitfalls of the institution and the challenges that had in the past limited its performance. To cure it of all the known maladies and reposition it for greater effectiveness and relevance to the Nigerian people,

Akpabio saw the need for a proper re-orientation of the members of the 10th National Assembly to ensure that they are in tune with the realities of the moment and global best practices.It is basically for this reason that Akpabio has organized leadership and management retreats for Members of the National Assembly to align them with a new vision of quality and meaningful representation.

In one of the retreats organized in Ikot Ekpene, the home base of the Senate President, competent resource persons were drawn from various fields of human endeavor to equip the people’s representatives with profound ideas and knowledge on how to effectively carry out their constitutional responsibilities of representation, oversight and law making.

The norms imbibed from the various retreats and workshops organized by Akpabio have continued to govern the conduct of the members of the National Assembly in the effective discharge of their official functions.

This has helped to foster a climate of understanding, while eliminating the spirit of mistrust and distrust which had been the undoing of the National Assembly in the past.Akpabio, in his leadership approach, runs an open House where the views of his colleagues count. He is a good listener; and he carries his colleagues along.

He is a leader who believes in the power of consensus. These great qualities have helped Akpabio steer through the proverbial banana peels in the Senate and builds confidence in his colleagues.It is to his eternal credit that under his leadership, the Senate, and indeed the National Assembly, is not associated with any scandals.

Rather, the National Assembly, under his watch, has continued to operate under higher ideals. As a leader who understands the essence of harmony in governance, especially in a complex geo-political environment like Nigeria, he has skillfully forged a new partnership with the

Tinubu-led Executive which works for the Nigerian people. This is without compromising the independence of the National Assembly which remains the representative organ of the people in any democracy.Akpabio has shown dexterity and statesmanship in the able manner he has continued to handle the affairs of the Senate.

He demonstrated this clearly in the adroit manner he constituted the leadership and membership of the standing and ad-hoc Committees of the Senate without any negative backlash. In the past, composition of Committees was often the cause of unbridled bad blood and source of leadership instability.Akpabio was able to handle this delicate balancing in the Senate without causing any social disruptions in the political fabrics of the Red Chamber.

This bears an eloquent testimony to the political astuteness of this uncommon transformative leader from Essien Udium Local Government Area in the Ikot Ekpene senatorial zone of Akwa Ibom State. Even when some of his colleagues have had cause to disagree with him on any issue on the floor of the Senate, he has always had the presence of mind to deploy diplomacy and statesmanship in reaching amicable resolutions.

As the Senate President celebrates his 61st birthday on December 9, 2023, the drums and cymbals should be rolled out in honour of a leader who has remained a source of inspiration to his generation. History will be kind to him for the stability which his calm and measured leadership has brought to the National Assembly.

…Dr. Nwosu, a Political Analyst, writes from Abuja.Email: [email protected]