Fool me once. Shame on you. Fool me twice. Shame on me. Governorship aspirant of the ruling All Progressives Congress in Akwa-Ibom State Dr Nsima Udo Ekere would be forgiven for chanting these words over and over again while mourning the fate that has befallen him. He is too old to cry and definitely too hurt to laugh. From the promising prospect of being the man atop vast swathes of oil wealth at the state level, he has become like a page of dreams torn and trampled beyond recognition.
When the mighty man fell, it wasn’t the gentle lying of head to rest often sung by poets for ordinary folk. Nor was it the dogged death of stubborn generals who gave up their blood and their ghosts on the battlefield. No, Nsima’s fall reverberated round the land as a sudden thump that also served to wake him out of his dream-turned nightmare. And when he finally woke up, he realized that, far from the paradise of his fantasy hours, the night is indeed dark and full of terrors.
The first terror came at the polls. Cocky and aiming to unseat Governor Udom Emmanuel, Nsima revelled in the support he ostensibly enjoyed from his grand patron, former governor and Senator Godswill Akpabio. He also counted on the might of the centre routing the tides of victory his way as it had done for other states down west. Needless to say, by the time Nsima realized what was actually happening, he has collected the beating of his life at the polls.
Usually, the main losers in a keenly-contested tourney are usually awarded a consolation prize for their troubles. Never mind that the contest he lost was anything but keen, Nsima harboured hopes of his own consolation in the form of a ministerial appointment. Sources disclosed that he might have nurtured hopes to use the nomination to launch himself into the juicy petroleum ministry.
He needn’t had to bother. Akpabio, nursing his own sore wounds over his election loss, was consoled with the ministerial nomination instead, leaving Nsima to use an actual handkerchief for his own tears. The man who used to be popular on the social scene has since receded from the limelight. Some hurts are best tended in private, and Nsima’s go deeper than most.