Rice of Rumbling: How OBA’s Greek gifts split Akwa Ibom PDP
There is serious crack and division in the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, in Akwa Ibom State ahead of 2023 governorship election. The dividing force was the Christmas and New Year gifts from the Senator representing Akwa Ibom North-East (Uyo) Senatorial District, Obong Bassey Albert, popularly called OBA.
OBA’s Greek Gifts
Giving and receiving gifts, especially during the Yuletide, have somehow become part of human life. Although Nigerians are always elated when they receive something, one thing is certain in this country: nothing, not even election, is truly free.
Consequently, it is highly believed that “when somebody gives us a gift, abstract or concrete, it gives us unwonted joy to receive it.” However, such gift can, at times, lead to dire consequences if people are not careful of whom they receive the gift.
That is the idea that sparks the suspicion behind Senator Bassey Albert Akpan’s recent gifts that have been tagged OBA’s Greek gifts by “those who may be intimidated by the rising profile and philanthropic gesture of the people’s Senator,” as one supporter would put it.
“I fear the Greeks…”: The fear of OBA’s gifts
The root of the phrase “Greek gift” in this context is the allusion to the Trojan Horse, and specifically to Laocoön‘s famous timeo danaos et dona ferentes (“I fear the Greeks even [when they are] bringing gifts”.
The story of the Trojan horse is a legend in its own sense. It is about how the Greeks managed to invade the city of Troy by gifting a large, wooden horse, the Trojan horse, and hid a select force of men inside who sneaked out during the night and did their task stealthily, devouring the city.
In the spirit of the season, it has always being OBA’s culture to celebrate Christmas and New Year with friends and well-wishers, particularly by reaching out to members of his immediate Constituency with love and gift items.
The 2019 package was a bang, coinciding with the Senator’s Constituency Briefing as he doled out 21 cars, 1,000 bags of rice and Mini Buses Tricycles in addition to cash given to widows and orphans, including 350 women who were empowered with funds for Business Startups.
Some professional bodies and interest groups had fair shares of the gifts.
But the 2020 package of OBA’s milk of kindness that coincided with the season of Corona virus has become more ravaging than the virus. It has thrusted a long knife in the fabric of PDP in Akwa Ibom at a time the party is in mourning mood.
OBA’s 2023 ambition
The suspicion behind OBA’S recent gifts is the intention to build support base and loyalists ahead of the 2023 governorship poll. The National Assemblyman has not hidden his intentions to succeed Governor Udom Emmanuel but reports say he has been in the governor’s Black Book, despite Emmanuel’s repeated denial that he has such a book.
There have been palpable fears in the governor’s camp that OBA has been breaking the rank and file of the governor’s loyalists, enticing them with sumptuous gifts during the Yuletide. Trouble started when it became clear that the coverage of the kind gesture was statewide.
Although there was no embargo on PDP members, barring them from collecting gifts from a sitting Senator, Morenews can authoritatively gather that a census has been taken of those who collected OBA’s gift and there have been deliberate moves to sideline them.
It does not matter whether one received the gifts innocently or not, the conclusion is that any PDP member confirmed to collected OBA’s gifts have pitched their tents with the Uyo Senator.
To be continued…