“Imagine it as bad as you can sir— and then imagine it worse! What was once New York’s proudest sky scraper is now a heap of ruins— And the walls come tumbling down?” – John Lutz’s Jericho man.
Have you ever heard about or read the novel titled JERICHO MAN by the American popular author John Lutz published in May 2012? If you haven’t, at least I am sure you must have heard the biblical story of Jericho from either a pulpit preacher, Sunday school teacher or by reading the bible.
Just as the systematic approach to the conquest and capture of Jericho by Joshua’s army in the bible, I see the current face off between Obong Attah and Governor Akpabio as a calculated move aimed at falling Akpabio’s political empire before 2015 elections. Attah’s approach to this enterprise is what by my own coinage I call the ‘Jericho man’s game plan’. In a simpler way, you could call it the demolition game or deconstruction game plan.
After being pounded twice in two previous crucial elections in 2007, and 2011, and relegated to the rear view, the Attah’s group is no longer ready to warm the back bench. They fervently desire to reverse the ‘curse’ and recapture the driver’s seat. The Jericho man’s game plan is their first smart bomb in the scheme. A couple of them have been detonated so far by way of covert media war. The main goal here is to shape public opinion and people’s thinking. In a nutshell it is deployed as a propaganda tool devised to mobilize the people to reverse the slogan, ‘’AKWA IBOM ADO OK” to AKWA IBOM IDOHO OK.
Being fully aware of the fact that currently Governor Akpabio’s public opinion rating nationally is on the roof top, the grand plot is to topple this massive image of the governor and put it in the tank. Like most political propaganda device, the Jericho man’s game plan is structured actively to influence people’s judgment about the government rather than communicate concrete facts about it. If you carefully peruse through all the publications by Obong Attah in the course of this faceoff, you are bound to notice that the message is presented in a style deliberately aimed at evoking strong emotion and kindling public passion to downgrade the governor. For example his last publication titled: ‘’Akpabio was not one of the intellectuals in my cabinet” was not only vicious preaching from a political pulpit, it was also a total boo-boo in logic and acumen. He distracted from the original topic into something irrelevant using inflammatory rhetoric and demagoguing presentation aimed at appealing to emotions, prejudices and ignorance of the populace in order gain more ovation.
As the common rule of infantry warfare which requires that you study and appreciate your target before engaging it, the Attah’s group is very much conscious of the enormous powers of the governor and the need for superior strategy, weapons and fire power to be applied before he can be deconstructed. By selecting Attah to lead the charge and play the Jericho man, they are simply applying the Machiavellian rule of power game of using only diamond dust to cut diamond given his undepleted influence in the State and his intense strength in political warfare.
Looking closely at the story of the biblical Jericho, certain notable features similar to Akwa Ibom and Governor Akpabio’s administration are noticeable. Jericho was a well fortified ancient Palestinian city ruled by an extremely rich absolute king whose words were law. It was highly difficult for enemies to penetrate and conquer it. Akwa Ibom according to some anonymous insiders is allegedly controlled be a small, narrow and compact set of minions playing their lord’s script. Being a very beautiful city described in the old testimonies as ‘fertile city of palm trees’ with copious springs within and around it, Jericho was a centre of commerce and tourism just as Akwa Ibom is an emerging economy and State with great maritime force, natural and human resources. Jericho attracted so much envy from foreign monarchs who sought to conquer it and control its enormous wealth almost in the same manner politicians within and outside Akwa Ibom tussle always to control power and the resources of the State.
In the bible narrative in Joshua 6:1-27 the city fell to Joshua’s army at about 1400 BC after the later had marched around it several times blowing trumpets.
The novel version of Jericho by John Lutz deal mostly with the Arab conspiracy led by Osama Bin-Laden to hit America where it hurts by bringing down the tallest twin towers in New York with human beings inside. Although Attah Jericho man game plan is not lethal as Joshua and Lutz version, it has the same aim- knock down or knock out your opponent.
In the last edition of this trilogy series (which will be concluded next week), I warned readers to forget the cheery hug, the jolly close range handshake, the tooth paste selling smile exhibited by Governor Akpabio and Obong Attah during the burial of Nnenyin Allison Attah which gave the public an erroneous impression that the two prominent sons of Akwa Ibom have no problems with each other. I still maintain my position that there is no chummy chemistry between the two. They are like the human edition of crocodile and the alligator with each harboring the vile motive of evicting the other from the environment in order to stamp his influence.
In 2007, Obong Attah tried in futilely to install his Protégé and son in law Udoma Ekarika as his successor and failed. Thereafter he came up with the option of possible consensus candidates in the persons of Late senator Akaninyene Ukpana and Senator Ibok Essien as his preferred candidates for PDP to pick from. This effort also failed. After climbing the rocky mountain and weathering the entire storm to win the 2007 general election as governor, it was payback time by Akpabio to his onetime mentor for attempting to stand on his way to greatness. He dipped into the rule laid down by Mr V, (a capo of distinguished fame) about how to deal with a mentor who stands on your way. In his advice to members of the capo regime Mr.V. said: “later in your career, if by bad happenstance the mentor in your early years stands in your way of advancement, what do you do? Whack him no question. He had his own time and career right?”
Akpabio did not only implement this rule to the fullest, he also dismantled Attah followers within his government like the former deputy governor Engr. Ekpo Otu among others.
In the 2011 gubernatorial race, Akpabio gave the Attah’s group another round house kick that sent them reeling and tumbling. Senator Akpan Udoedehe who contested under ACN and rumoured as having the blessing of Attah also lost the election. There is saying that a man is not finished until he is dead. In a way similar to the old mafia Don’s style, the Attah’s group is back in the picture. The Jericho man’s game plan is their first trump card. Armed with the power from the freedom of information Act and courage quotient which is his greatest asset, the public should be ready to see more sleazy details and actions from Attah in this unfolding epic battle.
The Jericho man’s game plan in a way is good for our democracy. A formidable and elegant opposition is a necessary tonic for the growth of democracy. With the coming together of ANPP, CPC, ACN and APGA into one party called All People Congress (APC) Akpabio must: (1) Put on his over coat because a strong political winter is likely to be generated against him, (2) discard his old political play book and reach out broadly, (3) take the advice of bold pundits and elders on how he can leave power as governor, install his successor and still DEY-KAMKPE.

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