The resignation of Obong Nsima Ekere as Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State on 31 October 2012 was for many a surprise, a completely unexpected political development. But those who know the former deputy governor up close say his fall from power was expected. They point to his huge character flaws for explanation.
Those familiar with the politics and intrigue within the former Deputy Governor’s camp and who would not want to be named, alleged that he was fated to fail because of his alleged arrogance, shifty character, political naiveté, chronic inability to play by the rule and disdain for time-honored values like loyalty.
They added that Ekere is an insensitive, disrespectful and boastful person who is driven by the hubris for power grab.
According to them, it was this hubris for power grab that led him to plot the elimination of his boss from office. Thereafter he suffered a fatal Freudian slip when he boasted with his co-travellers at a meeting he thought was safe that he would contest the 2015 governorship election as a sitting governor.
He didn’t know he was recorded. The dire implication of Ekere’s fiendish boast was clear: for him to contest as a sitting governor in 2015, he would have to get rid of his boss through either (1) assassination (2) impeachment or (3) resignation on some other grounds. At the fateful meeting with his boss before the resignation, Ekere was confronted with the evidence of his plot and asked to say in which way he was going to get rid of the governor.
He was stomped by the fact that there was a smoking gun against him, and went on his knees to beg for forgiveness. This was Ekere’s nth instant of failure in politics. The deputy governorship, which he got on a platter, out of the largeness of the heart of a man he would later plot to kill, was his highest achievement in politics. Yet he could not keep the job for more than 18 months—because of his irredeemable character flaws, which include, but are not limited to chronic penchant for cheating, corner-cutting, upstaging others and predilection for disloyalty. Those who know him say that even in business, which had been his forte before his lamentable foray into politics, Ekere is known for cheating and corner cutting. He doesn’t honour agreement, they say. Even family members confirm this.
Analysts who have watched Ekere over the years, right from his days in Port Harcourt as a businessman, say it is these character flaws that have turned him into a serial political failure in the last 20 years, having contested and failed twice to win elections to the State House of Assembly, and twice failed to win elections to the House of Representatives. He ran for governor in 2007 and failed to get past the party primary.
As deputy governor, Ekere was guilty of stunning political naiveté.
Apparently he never read Machiavelli’s The Prince. If he did, he would have known that you should never try to outshine your boss. This is one of the fundamental laws of power. But while Ekere was in power he coveted the lamplight, and sought to commandeer the centre stage through unthinking publicity for himself and his office at the expense of the Governor.
Another character trait that defines Nsima Ekere is selfishness. He feels for no one else, not even those who are close to him by blood, location or work. This explains why his fall from power elicited wild jubilation from his kinsmen in Ikot Abasi. News of his resignation from office was broken to wild cheers and open jubilation by his kinsmen at the funeral of a well-known lawyer in his community, late Barrister Mfon Inam. Such reaction was a big surprise to the uninitiated because here was the most prominent man of power in the community losing out yet his people were happy at his fall. So we had to ask why. What we found out explained the impossible reactions from the former deputy governor’s kinsmen.
When the deceased who was being buried on the day of the deputy governor’s resignation was ill in hospital, the community led a delegation to Nsima Ekere’s house in Ewet Housing Estate in Uyo to solicit financial support to pay the man’s medical bills. Consistent with his selfish nature, the former deputy governor did not only deny the lifeline to this “brother” of his who was critically ill in hospital, he also walked the help-seeking delegation out of his house. That was why the mourners at the funeral booed at the mention of his name and jeered at the fact that he ever represented them in government.
The details of Nsima Ekere’s impeachment notice by the State House of Assembly point to another dimension of his shifty character. That is a story for another day. The cards are stacked against this smart Alec.
Watch out for “Why Resignation Cannot Save Nsima Ekere from Criminal Prosecution.”