By James Abang
I was with a friend, Macauley Okponibuot when I read the screaming headline “Andy Uba Joins APC” sometime in February this year. My friend was elated and assured me that was just part of APC’s game plan to capture Anambra preparatory to a sweeping victory in 2019. I told him jokingly that I don’t know what APC plans maybe but if it includes any none APC state where the siting governor plays Leo Messi’s style of soccer politically, they better review their plans.
Ten months down the line Anambra proved me right. But what really is Lionel Messi’s style of football that emphasizes my position? I’ll explain but let me start with Messi’s rival Christiano Ronaldo.
Christiano doesn’t necessarily need to be with the ball to score. Though he also loves having the ball at his feet, his stepovers are out of this world. His pace which is enigmatic allowed him to punish the defense’s even tiniest mistake. But those are not his strongest points. Ronaldo has evolutionized his stepover to allow him move into blind spots of defenders, and with fake movements shifts into deadly position, unmarked, where with a single pass he could cause maximum havoc. In other words Ronaldo has the best off-the-ball movements in the world. If you wonder who this cap fits in Akwa Ibom politics you don’t need to go further than Ukana from where you can take a ride to Senate. Ask the Senators to show you the unorthodox winger/striker with probably the best off-the-ball movement in the world, especially near and inside the penalty box,
a man who arrived the House of Senate in 2015 with skills to beat political offside trap, dragging the defense out of shape, and “ghosting” through the defense undetected into dangerous positions (Minority Leader) before you say welcome to Abuja. His name is Sen Godswill Obot Akpabio.
But Messi doesn’t have the grandiose of Christiano Ronaldo yet he is no less deadly. That’s because Messi is the type of footballer who excels with the ball at his feet. When he has the ball, Messi is a magician; the undisputed best in the world: he dribbles, he scores, and he provides the killer pass or assist to serve goals on a platter for his teammates to score. With the ball, there’s no better footballer in the world than Messi.
However, Messi has a key weakness: without the ball, Messi can’t dominate matches. Cut off his ball supply, through close marking, dominating the midfield, or high pressing and counter-pressing and you cut off nearly all of his power.
In February 2016 on the morning of the Supreme Court ruling I chatted my friend Victor Akai and told him don’t worry – Udom is with the ball. If I know him well as long as the ball is on his feet he’ll score. Later that day he scored the winning goal.
Akwa Ibom Lionel Messi Udom’s genius level of brain, skill, and physical abilities works better when he is surrounded with many defenders like in the days of G22. Especially as he has the ball (Hilltop Mansions) firmly on his feet with eyes set on the goal. No stopping 2019. That is why I would like to see APC file out the strongest defense they can muster in 2019. Because the stronger the defense the better Udom’s sensational dribbling (out of distractions), multiple take-ons (of manpower developments), long-range finishes (of long term infrastructure including industries), or his killer passes (to evolving new leaders in politics, commerce, sports, professionals and academics).
Pundits would however, have loved to see a clash of these two political soccer titans. But much to their disappointment these two titans play for the same team AK PDP. With these two matchless skills coming together come 2019 AK PDP remains a lethal team to beat. Even the devil is worried. That is why they have tried unsuccessfully to create a chasm between them to no effect.
Atte-Okiuso Village, C/O Oyubia PA by Methodist Church Oyubia