I define diplomacy as the magical ability to carry fire and water in the same mouth at the same time. I’m a diplomat, I will never apologize for being one.

In being a diplomat, I don’t hope to please everyone but I am of the firm belief that nobody can be more devilish than the devil, neither can anybody be more angelic than the angels. There are indeed good parts in every bad man just like there must be bad parts in every good man.

Sadly, we angelise the people on the same page with us at some point and turn around to demonize them at another point when they don’t agree with us.

This scenario is even worse in the Nigerian political sphere where you’re either “for” or “against” another.Your friends today become your enemies tomorrow at the slightest political shift or adjustment. A PDP member, for instance, is expected to be an automatic enemy with his APC counterpart, even if they have never known themselves.

What kind of witchcraft makes us quarrel with people who have actually never directly hurt us? How can you be enemies with people because your superiors expect you to or because your benefactors don’t agree with them? What happened to our individuality and independence of mind?

Growing up as a child in a very interior village in Ika Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria, I detested elders who pointed fingers at compounds they did not expect us to enter because of ancestral enmity and differences. I cried for my friends and relations whom their parents handed them a list of enemies they were never to greet or accept gestures of any kind. I was not raised like that. My father never gave me enemies to inherit, he gave us friends to inherit. Even if he had enemies, his enemies would never be mine. I repeat, MY FATHER’S ENEMIES WOULD NEVER BE MINE.

I therefore feel highly insulted by anyone who expect me to hate those they hate and only love the ones they love.

No political endeavour will ever make me enemies with people I love or disrespect those I respect. My heroes are those whose considerations are not based on religion, political affiliation and tribe. MY HEROES ARE THE PEOPLE WHO DON’T GIVE ME ENEMIES TO INHERIT. This is why Onofiok Akpan Luke is my super-hero.

I first fell in love with Onofiok Luke in December 2016 during his constituency briefing at Nsit Ubium. What tripped me about the man was not his constituency projects, what tripped me about him was his blindness to the political realities of hatred, tribalism, segregation, religious bigotry and political fundamentalism.

He demonstrated his blindness to the aforementioned realities by hosting former Gov. Victor Attah alongside the antagonists of the later. That day, Mr Speaker played host to the entire Akwa Ibom State, if not Nigeria, regardless of their religion, tribe and political affiliation. In doing this, the man had performed the diplomatic ability to carry fire and water in the same mouth at the same time.

My friends had argued that the minority leader of the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio was conspicuously missing at that occasion because of the presence of former Gov Attah but by the following day, I mocked them with the picture of Akpabio in a visit to Onofiok at the later’s Uyo residence. Akpabio had not shown picking offense after-all.

Since last December, Hon. Luke has repeatedly done things that have consolidated my loyalty for him. He stunned many when he said that he will support President Buhari by 2019 if the man performs. Only last friday at an event in his hometown, Mr Speaker eulogized Obong Umana Okon Umana of APC for sponsoring his University project, to the chagrin of PDP fundamentalists.

Blind party fanatics may criticize Onofiok Luke for his eulogy of Umana Okon Umana but what such fanatics don’t know is the fact that if Onofiok decides to continue to seek votes for any political office under the PDP platform, more of his voters will definitely be non-PDP members than PDP members.

Endiong John

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