Akwa Ibom State Politics: The Assassination of Albert Ukpanah—Blame Godswill Akpabio!

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As it happened to Chief Paul Inyang, Edidem James Obot, Barrister Udonwa, and many others, on Wednesday, March 13, 2014, Chief Albert Ukpanah was assassinated in his home. His assailant, or assailants, fled the scene, leaving more tears in the eyes and anguish on the faces of his loved ones.

Until his assassination, Chief Albert Ukpanah was one of the strongest voices against the unjust, corrupt, murderous, and evil administration of Godswill Obot Akpabio. Late in the evening of Wednesday the 13th of March 2014, he was watching a football (soccer) match with his son when he received a telephone call from a person who was very likely to be someone whom Chief Ukpanah knew very well.

The caller told Chief Ukpanah that he and his colleagues were on their way to his house because an important visitor wanted to have a meeting with him. Ukpanah instructed his son to open the gate to his house for the visitors. After the son had served them with refreshments, he retired to another section of the house to continue watching the English League Football game. During the half-time intermission, the son returned to check on the father and his visitors, only to find his father in a pool of blood; he had been shot and his visitors had fled.

Those who knew him very well have confirmed that Chief Albert Ukpanah was a simple man, an Engineer by profession, who was not interested in accumulating material wealth. His number one expectation was to see the leaders of his community build a better society where future generations, such as his only son, could grow to live a meaningful life. For demanding accountability from leaders of his community, Chief Ukpanah is no longer alive; cut down from the assassin's bullets. He had only one child. According to the Holy Bible; “Bloodthirsty men hate a man of integrity and seek to kill the upright” (Proverbs 29:10—NIV).

No matter the speculations and self-denial, it is obvious that the assassination of Chief Albert Ukpanah may not be unconnected with the political ambition of Godswill Akpabio to become the next Senator representing Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District of Akwa Ibom State.

Reports have surfaced that the late Chief Ukpanah was a leading voice among those who are against Akpabio's ambition for the senate seat. Ukpanah had agitated and had been advising his people not to support Akpabio because he thought the next person to occupy the Senate seat should be an indigene of Abak Federal Constituency (where he comes from). Some supporters of Akpabio, such as Emmanuel Enoidem and Nse Ntuen, have been known to resent Chief Ukpanah for his opposition against Akpabio's ambition.

The assassination of Chief Ukpanah is not the first time anyone opposed to Akpabio had been so dealt with. Listen to the immediate past member representing Abak State Constituency in the State House of Assembly, Mr. Uwem Udoma: “Recall that before the 2011 governorship election in this state, there were lots of kidnappings and bloodshed but as soon as the election

was over, the whole tension died down. That era of terror has resurfaced again. I want to inform you that a chieftain of the PDP and a strong advocate and fighter for the actualization of the Abak Federal Constituency senatorial project, Chief Albert Ukpanah was last Wednesday killed by unknown persons” (http://blog4all-com.blogspot.com/2014/03/akpabios-2015-senatorial-aspiration.html).

The killers of Chief Albert Ukpanah may never be known, but the motive is very well known. The assassins are deceiving themselves into believing that by eliminating him, Godswill Akpabio will sail through the process to the Senate floor of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, unchallenged. Again, listen to Uwem Udoma: “The ex-lawmaker, who is aspiring to represent the Abak Federal Constituency in the National Assembly, maintained that he would not be intimidated by the assassination of Chief Ukpanah as he would continue to fight for the enthronement of a person from his area in the Senate in 2015” (http://blog4all-com.blogspot.com/2014/03/akpabios-2015-senatorial-aspiration.html).

While many people may clap for the likes of Uwem Udoma, who has vowed to continue the fight against self-imposition on the people by Godswill Akpabio, it is safe to say that this fight may be too late in coming because the Annang people in particular had been selfish in their attitudes and behaviors---as a group---by remaining quiet, without any voice of condemnation against the political terror which Godswill Akpabio reigned on their Ibibio brethren during the 2010-2011 governorship campaign.

When Chief Paul Inyang was assassinated, the Annang did not give a damn---they looked the other away and pretended as if our State was normal.

When Barrister Udonwa was assassinated, the Annang looked the other away, instead of condemning the evils that were about to consume our once peaceful state at the time.

When Edidem James Robert Obot was assassinated, the Annang said nothing and according to them, it was Ibibio that were killing their fellow Ibibio men and women. The Annang never asked why no such assassinations occurred during the administrations of past governors.

When Senator Akpan Udoedehe was arrested and charged to court under trumped up charges, the Annang praised their son---the governor---for dealing “very well” with opposition.

Even when their fellow Annang son, Dr. Ime Umana, was arrested and charged to court by Akpabio under false allegations of planning to kill Akpabio, the Annang, especially those of Ikot Ekpene extraction, remained quiet, after all their son---the governor---was dealing in a “justifiable” manner with an ungrateful man---they believed the lies of Godswill Akpabio.

Before her death, the mother of King Lemuel taught his son the following; “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy” (Proverbs 31:8-9---NIV).

Because the Annang did not condemn and did not speak up against the evils of political assassinations and kidnappings for ransom when Akpabio exacted his terror on Ibibio people, now they are beginning to face what their brethren of Ibibio extraction had endured during the 2010-2011 campaign. The killing will continue because it is one of the tools of intimidation which Godswill Akpabio is prepared and willing to exact on all those that his warp mind will tell him are the stumbling blocks to his mad ambition to become the next Senator from Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District.

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Articles by Chris Oduok