Argue if you like, Senator Ita Enang is apparently one of the most experienced politicians Akwa Ibom State has produced.
I am attracted to examine his politics, which should actually be up for academic dissertation, after the reactions that have trailed his sack by President Muhammadu Buhari as Senior Special Assistant on National Assembly Matters with concurrence to the Senate.
Folks have celebrated his outster, especially those from Distinguished Senator Godswill Akpabio’s camp. It is crystal clear, they suspect(ed), he(Enang) secretly gloated about the devastating loss of Senator Akpabio in the 2019 electrons. All is not well in APC, Akwa Ibom State. More on that coming, but not here.
A flashback to that his needlessly verbose rebuttal of then insinuations sorrounding trending photos on social media, of his parley with the newly elected Senators from Akwa Ibom State in Abuja gave signal that, something was amiss.
Being, a member of the All Progressives Congress, APC, like many others who ported from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, he belaboured to exonerate his name from patronizing collusion with his former Party, which trounced his new party resoundingly in the just concluded elections at all levels in the State.
For face saving measure, Enang’s Press Statement to refute inferences that he was dilly dallying with Senator Chris Ekpenyong who defeated Senator Godswill Akpabio in the last elections, and the other PDP Senators from Akwa Ibom including Senator Akon Eyakenyi and Senator Bassey Albert read, and please permit the play back a full reel. It read:
“My attention has been drawn to a picture where I’m seen with some senators-elect of PDP, some from Akwa Ibom state now trending on the social media in which the originators tend to insinuate some political motives.
Indeed, the originators have laboured to create the impression of a turncoat who, ab initio was a black sheep in the APC family who has now perfected plans to go back to the PDP, following the temporary INEC induced ‘defeat’ of the APC in the governorship election in Akwa Ibom state.
The said picture and caption gave the erroneous impression that I may have been a mole in the APC and that I was now on my way back to the PDP.
I want to say it pointedly that the purveyors of this falsehood, from whichever political divide are, but very ignorant and paid mischief makers who do not seem to appreciate the demands of my office as the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, Senate.
For the avoidance of doubt, my duty is not party specific, it covers the entire Senate of the FEDERAL Republic of Nigeria, not APC, not PDP. Simply put, I serve as a liaison between the Senate and the President. If anything, I think I should rather be applauded for my initiative in striving to assist in the orientation of our incoming senators-elect, rather than being labelled a turn coat.
Finally, please I would like it to be noted that whatever I’m doing with the incoming senators is in line with the course of my duties to the President and the father land. Thank you and best regards.”
Truth be told, Nigerians, nay his boss or Party, didn’t need that boring lecture from Senator Ita Enang, who after all, we knew, was the President’s aide.
Just that, with his ambition set on how to stay relevant till 2023, having failed to deliver any vote of worth to his Party , and with his fancy of a chance to run for Governor, which, by the way, is rotating to his Senatorial District, Enang didn’t want to leave anything to chance, for, perception, they say, is reality, in Politics. So, he issued the disclaimer, which however, subtly suggested, continued political intercourse with the three Senator-Elects from his home State.
With the countdown to 2023 fast approaching, and the current development of having his eternal nightmare, Senator Akpabio in the mix have plotted his way into the Presidency, supplanting former Minister, Distinguished Senator Udo Udoma and with the displacement of Enang from that Power loop, it is pertinent to now interrogate the Politics of Enang going forward.
It is amazing probing the staying power of this man, who has remained relevant since 1987 when he started off from the lowest rank of a Councilor at the third tier of government.
He has since gone ahead to rack in other trophies including, being elected member of the Akwa Ibom State house of Assembly in 1992, House of Representatives in 1999, where he served three terms and ended up with being elected to the Senate in 2011.
When he lost out in his bid for a second term in the Senate in 2015, Enang stunned onlookers and political permutations emerging from the blues to bag Presidential appointment as Senior Special Assistant. His legend of being a Cat with nine lives just survived a near abortion or miscarriage. So let’s define his qualities that has kept him steaming.
For a man of his means, exposure, education and status, his very poor dress sense gives away much of his world view. He has figured out that, a big ego is the costliest enterprise to manage and the most financially draining character trait , for not just a politician, but anybody. So, to his eternal credit, he is not egoistic.
This gives him the leverage to stoke and enjoy any mudslinging fight. Once he identifies a target ,he charges on like a bull incensed by a red flag. His stamina, spurred on, by the notation that, he fights as one who has nothing to lose. Reason, Barrister Inibehe Effiong once described him as, ‘A Shameless Senator ‘
Enang has weaponized propaganda and outright exerggeration of self serving political activism. I wager that, even Distinguished Senator Godswill Akpabio sensed this fact, when he once served Senator Enang, as, the Executive Director of Planet Radio. A medium, he virtually colonized, for the purpose of hitting Akpabio and Governor Udom Emmanuel, with ‘under the belt’ verbiage, criticism, warts and all.
There, using the Planet FM 101.1 Uyo medium, he amplified his most popular balladization, of Akpabio’s alleged rape of the State treasury with mind boggling inflated contracts by the lines, ‘Akpabio di nno ndiana si suho’, translated as, ‘Akpabio, we want the balance of the project cost ‘
Listen to Senator Enang on radio attack his rival, you cannot but helplessly see the metaphor of a pregnant nun castigating an adulterous woman from the sanctity of the vestry. He carries on, feigning and fawning with presumed oratory, but never realizes that, his communication is hardly effective and mostly valued for it’s comic irony as similified heretofore.
Adept at misinformation and comfortable with spinning narratives against his target, it is important to note that, unlike Senator Dino Melaye or even Engr. Ita Awak, Enang has no soundbites that engages the public imagination with all his many hours huggging the airwaves.
He stretched his arms as far as publishing a book, he vainly titled, ‘Ediyarade Udom Emmanuel’ or whatever, purporting to chronicle the imaginary sins of the governor, which, he brought up, as part of his campaign tools against the governor. The book hardly made impact beyond a huff and puff. Fact is, People don’t take Senator Enang’s political dance too seriously. He simply carries on or luxiriates in this tradition, either because, he cares less about this fact, or perhaps doesn’t realize it.
A good student of the Power Game, Distinguished Senator Enang is however more inclined to the 7th Law of Power espoused by Robert Greene, which recommends that, you get others to do the work while you enjoy the spoils and take the credit. Is it not a mystery that, as rich as Senator Enang is, his political strides have been financed by other people.
In applying this strategy, Ita Enang combines the guile of a fox with the peculiar patience of a vulture and it’s eye to search out and feast on political carcass. Enang has simply mastered the art of timing. He rides the tide of political crisis, he either instigated or merely helped excercabate and positions himself to be the ultimate beneficiary. Like William Shakespeare correctly apprissed, Enang works to ride the tide in the affairs of life to his advantage.
That can be situated within his recent advocacy for RUGA in the Southern part of Nigeria and Akwa Ibom State in particular, despite its overwhelming rejection by the people. This caused a backlash back home as the State Government came out unsparingly strong in berating him while the Senate disowned his spin of a 2.2 billion Naira bugdetary allocation to the unpopular scheme. An unamused Presidency was curiously silent.
To feed this keen eye of punching above his true weight, Enang is the most prominent politician in Akwa Ibom State that doesn’t own nor fund any discernible or organized political structure. That is at variance with his acknowledged tight fist. Like ego, maintaining a political structure is financially draining and he knows this too. So, he avoids such entrapment of obligation to political foot soldiers.
In like manner, he has no trace of turning boys to men or girls to women. Although a very brilliant Lawmaker, the empowerment of constituents is something alien to his political configuration and he is allergic to it’s considered relevance as a culture in the political sweepstakes of his home State of Akwa Ibom.
Perhaps, more intriguing is the fact that, Ita Enang has achieved all his political accolades with no known godfather. I bet, that’s why he is acclaimed as, ‘Udo Mfoniso’, by his awestruck people, who themselves, are outsmarted on tracking how he continues to rekindle his brand like the Phoenix.
Enang simply plays the game of alignment, while at the same time, progressing on his scheme with a non-aligned movement to his next political destination. Once he figures out his political goals, he aligns with the powerful, who can abet his dream, and offers to fight any cause that identified subject is engrossed in. Albeit, the other party funds the political fight. While doing this, he stays the course, inspired by the foreknowledge that, he will wear the crown.
That’s how he maintained his stranglehold on the National Assembly for 12 years against all odds. Once he achieves his goal, he dispenses with the alliance and becomes independent till the next election cycle.
As 2023 approaches, Senator Enang will have his rude awakening. Tempted to throw his hat into the ring for a shot at the exalted Governorship seat of Akwa Ibom State, he will find to his dissapointment that, these strategies won’t likely do the magic again. He will come face to face with reality and either, he opens his vault and learn the unaccustomed way of splashing the cash to build and fund a structure or he quits the scene to scavenge on the periphery.
If Enang, as it is rumoured, would run for Governor, then, the unmasking of his political oddysey is nigh. The scrutiny of how he has played and come along, this far, will be completed and that’s where his troubles will begin.
Now, he has lost his position in the Presidency, but he isn’t out yet. How he fashions a new political alchemy to survive the storm is only known to the womb of time. I’m only certain, these old strategies may not ferry him any further from 2019, or will they?