By Gbenga Oshinowo
Just as investors expect returns on investment, someone who does kindness expects a return of appreciation. It is both natural and scriptural. Even Jesus, after performing the miracle of healing 10 lepers with only one returning to express gratitude asked, “What about the other nine?” It was a poignant acknowledgement of the sin of ingratitude by God.
In an encounter with a friend, he made a statement that was in every ramification profound and instructive. He had said that one does not need to be happy to be grateful rather, one needs to be grateful to be happy. The question is, do people who have become adept in being ungrateful find happiness? It is obvious that they do not. Happiness is a state of mind that is propped up by righteous actions. Ingratitude is not a righteous activity and therefore cannot create happiness.
Returning gratitude is scriptural. Christians are expected to view gratitude as part of core Christian value. Anybody who professes Christianity and dismisses gratefulness as not being part of composite Christian values is treading a path that is alien to Christianity. As it is often said, you can be a better Christian with your life than with your lips. No amount of preachment or exhortation can suffice for the errant moral aberration of ingratitude.
Recently, the word ”ingratitude” has gained a place in the communication register of the Akwa Ibom State. The word which came into existence since the 14th century gained renewed currency recently when Senator Godswill Akpabio noted that of all the sins, the one God views as unforgivable is the sin of ingratitude. Akpabio was referring to the poor return of gratitude by the governor of Akwa Ibom State, His Excellency, Mr Udom Emmanuel noticeable in his sustained vituperations against the Distinguished Senator at any given opportunity.
It is public knowledge that Senator Akpabio while the governor of the State of Akwa Ibom braced odds to make Udom Emmanuel the governor. This singular deed pitted him against the other 22 aspirants and many political stakeholders in the State. He fought an arduous battle and produced him in the face of the odds that were stacked against the candidature of Udom Emmanuel. That fierce battle produced G22 after the 40 days and 40 nights pilgrimage of the aspirants in Abuja. Akpabio’s onerous effort is an act deserving of eternal gratitude from the beneficiary being Governor Udom Emmanuel. But that is not the case today. Akpabio is today the victim of his creation being Governor Emmanuel.
No one can say with certainty when the relationship hit the rocks. But it is apparent that Governor Emmanuel has not accorded Senator Godswill Akpabio any regards from the period he was announced the winner of the election and subsequently sworn-in as executive governor of the State. Aside from being goaded by the misguided counseling that he should assert himself, as if anyone was breathing down his neck, Governor Emmanuel’s typical nature of uppity helped in ruining his relationship with Senator Akpabio. His tendency for pettiness, rivalry and jealousy has also precipitated the estrangement between him and the man who took all the darts and stood at the barricade to make him governor.
Governor Emmanuel has recently run out of control. Every fora or platform serves the purpose of impugning on the character of Senator Akpabio. Infact, he has taken it out of the realm of politics and served notice of a personal war between him and the senator. He has compromised the exalted office of governor by engaging in cheap vituperations and outburst that do not edify him and the office he occupies. Such condescension fits the allegory that a crown on a clown cannot make him king. Governor Emmanuel should show that he is a governor and not a petulant character merely occupying the office.
In the wake of the House of Assembly saga, Emmanuel’s mismanagement of the incident led to an exacerbation of the crisis. It was clear that ego was being served rather than prospecting for a peaceful solution as the governor of the State. When he addressed the press, he spoke like a man in the boxing ring in a pre-match ranting meant to intimidate the opponent. The outlandish ego led him to describe his predecessor and benefactor as not having a second address; a street parlance used in referring to people without any meaningful career. The use of such scandalous expression for a man who single-handedly made him governor typifies Governor Emmanuel as a man with the irredeemable character flaw of ingratitude.
Well, as the nation inches into elections mode, there are likely to be more outburst that would depict ingratitude and expose some high and might political office holders as desperate lots and opportunists whose public conducts are in sharp contrast with the Christian faith they profusely profess and who must pay for such scandalous indiscretion as the cost of ingratitude.
Oshinowo resides in Lagos