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Date Published: 07/29/10

The Cost of Hate, Bitterness and Revenge By Essien Ndueso

Former governor, His Excellency, Arc. (Obong) Victor Attah, former Minister of State in the Federal Capital territory, Senator John Akpanudo Edeghe again dropped several notches in their public rating. Public ratings of the duo especially as they pertain to politics have nose-dived drastically in the last two years. Curiously, both are not doing anything to rehabilitate their sullied image or return their public rating to the graph of ascendancy. Their actions smack of the theory of those who are down fear no fall. Have these our distinguished politicians expired so soon? What a short shelf life they have had.

But that is always the fate that befalls those who work at cross purpose with public interest. They are shot to the centre of attention but they always fizzle our soonest. It is the case of the philosophy of Starey which notes: “ability may take you to the top but it takes character to keep you there” And since character has an inherent latitude in meaning, goodwill can be said to constitute part of one’s character. The duo in reference appear to be notoriously deficient of this important social capital.

Very recently, the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was in Akwa Ibom State on a two-day working visit where he interacted with the people of the state. But the duo, our illustrious sons shunned the President’s visit. Both did not show up or participate in any manner. They denied Akwa Ibom people of their presence that could have possibly translated into a political capital for the people. They robbed the people of an opportunity they could have used to ventilate their grievances which have cast this state into a state of avoidable tension. They denied the people of the use of their privileged status to undertake public interest advocacy for Akwa Ibom people. It was an opportunity thrown away in the heat of passion that does not serve collective interest or any public good.

It is something that should shock all of us that we still have leaders who allow anger to rule them. Then suffice it to state unequivocally that they are not leaders. Leadership goes with a lot of demands one of which is maturity. I always give vent to the belief that the ability for man to rule over his emotion is directly proportional to civilization. So when prominent men take their anger beyond civilized and mature confines, I always ask the question, where is their civilization and maturity?

It was the great thinker, Aristotle who said: “the high-minded man does not bear grudges, for it is not the mark of a great soul to remember injuries, but to forget them.” If we know what is good for this society, no petty minded person should be given the reins of authority for such a person would abuse it to our chagrin. We must not even allow them to ascribe leadership onto themselves on our behalf as they lack the sterling values of leadership.

Political differences must not be allowed to degenerate into enmity of irreconcilable proportion. It was Abraham Lincoln who said: “We are not enemies, but friends, though passion may strain us, it must not break our bonds of affection. Akwa Ibom State provides our bond of affection.” Our minor diversity diminished by our intelligible medium of communication should strengthen the bond of our affection. It bears recalling that Sam Grace Ikoku, the first Nigerian economist contested election against the father, Sir Alvan Ikoku and that did not break their bond of affection. I am sure today, it would have been different. Let us attempt to imbibe the spirit of politics without bitterness enunciated by the quintessential politician, Alhaji Waziri Ibrahim.

I have located the enervation of politicians to be the inability to forgive their opponents of any perceived injury. And curiously, unforgiveness is a moral weakness. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong, the weak can not forgive. As a friend of mine noted, you can’t get ahead while you are trying to get even. You would limit yourself. One guaranteed formula for limiting yourself is unforgiveness.

Unforgiveness and anger collocate and unleash collateral damage on its victims. But forgiveness serves the expense of anger, the high cost of hatred and waste of energy. It is why our politicians must be advised not to truck around with the baggage of hate, bitterness and revenge as they are luxury none of us can afford.

Obong Attah and Senator Udoedeghe shunned that all important gathering because they are possessed of hate, bitterness and revenge for the administration of Governor Godswill Akpabio. It was Dr. Martin Luther King (jnr) who posited that: “Hate is just as injurious to the person who hates. Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man’s sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful and to confuse the truth with the false and the false with the truth”. In summary, unforgiveness does a great deal more damage to the vessel in which it is stored than the object on which it is poured.

Our illustrious sons, Obong Attah and senator Udoedeghe are on choice trapped in this cesspool. For the duo to take such sordid option, they have failed to provide the moral and noble pathway for their admirers to follow. They have also done great disservice to society as non discerning minds would continue to throng after them and that way suffuse our once socially cohesive society with hatred, bitterness and revenge. Let us join voices to plead with these our illustrious sons to jettison the negative traits of hate, bitterness and revenge and that way renew themselves in the doctrine of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man.

Essien Ndueso
Special Assistant(Media)
To Hon Commissioner For Information
Akwa Ibom State


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