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That These Ethnic Jingoists Be Called to Order

By Barrister Ini Ikott
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It is highly disheartening to note with awe the unfolding events in our dear Akwa Ibom State, which clearly shows that there exists a constant apparent display of disdain, hatred, and malice towards Ibibio people of Eket Senatorial District, by their kinsmen from Uyo Senatorial District.

Although available historical facts and contemporary realities point to the fact that Akwa Ibom people have a common ancestral tie, it is unfortunate that the activities of these few elements of doom that fly the ethnic kite, have continued to further disintegrate the bond of unity that had held the people of the state as one. It is the unity and bond which made the state to produced five different Ibibio –born indigenes of the state as senators since 2007. Such also was the case when our forefathers united under the aegis of the Ibibio State Union to send their children to study overseas in the overall interest of the people.

It is common knowledge that prior to the creation of state in 1987, our people had regarded themselves as one, and the creation of the state was widely celebrated as an opportunity to hasten the development of the state. Since the creation of the state, it appears that the people of Uyo senatorial district have arrogated such authority and power to themselves that they believe other senatorial districts have no equal rights with them, and as such should be relegated in terms of sharing of political authority and economic wealth of this state.

Over time, we have been listening to various chieftains from Uyo, addressing public and private gatherings that the Ibibios in Uyo are the fathers of Akwa Ibom, and if leadership in any form must transcend to other parts of the state, it should be done only at the pleasure and convenience of the Ibibios of Uyo senatorial district.

The enormity of the grave hatred that the Ibibios in Uyo have for Eket Senatorial District can in recent history be seen in the blatant disregard to the natural and legal law of nature which placed the leadership of Ifim Ibom Ibibio, the apex socio-cultural organization of the Ibibio people in the hands of His Eminence Akwa Edidem Akpabio Udo Ukpa as Oku Ibom Ibibio III. While Late Nsonyin Okon Ekpo Ekpo the Oku Ibom Ibibio II was yet to be buried formally, Akwa Edidem Ukpa who was next in lineage, performed the responsibilities of that office in an acting capacity for more than seven years. However, Heaven was let loosed when the Paramount Rulers from Uyo Senatorial District shortly after the burial of Nsonyin Ekpo Ekpo, decided to withdraw support from the leadership of Akwa Edidem Ukpa, simply because he is not from Uyo Senatorial District. To demonstrate that nothing can make them submit to anyone from Eket Senatorial District, these traditional rulers have decided to flagrantly and contemptuously disobey the court interpretation that place an Onna son as the current leader of the Ifim Ibom Ibibio III. Rather, a forth night ago, the constituted themselves into a group known as Uyio Ikpaisong Ibibio, predominantly made up of Ibibio paramount rulers from Uyo Senatorial District. And so if one may ask, if ethnicity were to even be an issue, are the Ibibios in Eket Senatorial District not bonafide indigenes of Akwa Ibom State?

It is instructive to note that these ethnic jingoists have been on the vanguard of such unnecessary assertions like “Ibibios are the first sons” or “Ibibios are the real Akwa Ibom indigenes.” And this was so until the appointment of another Ibibio son, Mr Udom Gabriel Emmanuel as the Secretary to the State Government, to replace Mr Umana Umana an Ibibio son from Uyo Senatorial District. All of a sudden the song on the lips of the people of Uyo senatorial district is that Mr. Emmanuel who hails from Eket Senatorial District, is an imposition, an intruder, an unexperienced politician, among other unfathomable names. They have refused to recognize that power in any form comes from God and he gives it to whoever he pleases to give. Before Udom Emmanuel's appointment last year, the Uyo Senatorial district had clung to the office of the State Secretary of Government for all of the successive 16years of Civilian administrations, with the likes of Prof. Etiene Essien(Etinan), Obong Rita Akpan(Uyo), Obonganwan Grace Ekong(Itu), Elder Effiong Essang(Ibesikpo Asutan) and Obong Umana Umana(Nsit Ubium) holding sway for three different governors. Why is it now a major headache for Uyo Senatorial District Elders that another senatorial district, is also producing another Ibibio son to occupy that position?

The law of nature places all men as equals before the Supreme Being, and in Akwa Ibom State, Governor Akpabio has attempted to show that a governor does not have to come from a particular place or tribe before he executes meaningful projects and programmes for his people. That is why Obot Akara a neigbouring local government in Governor Akpabio's Sentorial District can today not boast of as many road projects like Etinan which is in Uyo Senatorial District. And that is why Ibesikpo Asutan people can today be proud to say that the most beautiful road in Akwa Ibom State which was not built by their son and former governor, Obong Attah, was actually executed by an Annang son, in Ibesikpo Asutan local government area.

Recently, our state was able to lay to rest, or attempted to lay to rest, the ill memories of the senseless slaughter of Akwa Ibom elites as an aftermath of the civil war in 1970. Not only did the ceremony remind people of the pains experienced by the families of the deceased, but it also laid bare, the extent to which hatred, malice and ethnicity can lead people to perpetuate permanent damage in the course of history.

Prompting Questions
If the Ibibios from Uyo Senatorial District are the only rightful heirs to leadership positions in Akwa Ibom State, where do the other indigenes of this state actually come from?

Where is the natural and geographical boundary of the Ibibios in Akwa Ibom State if all the three senators currently representing the State are born -Ibibio people?

How is the colour of the Ibibio blood in Uyo different from the colour of the Ibibio blood of Eket and Ikot Ekpene Senatorial Districts?

Where the Ibibios of Uyo Senatorial District the first to arrive the geographical location now known as Akwa Ibom State, that makes them more superior to all other senatorial districts in the State?

Which additional educational qualification or biological feature makes people from Uyo Senatorial District greater than their brothers in Eket Senatorial district?

Eket Senatorial District, holds sway as the main stay of the Akwa Ibom State economy, and as such has every right to the highest political position in the state, if not as a matter of right, then as that of fairness, justice and equity. We thank God that the God -fearing and purposeful leadership of Governor Godswill Akpabio and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, have decided after consultation with the people of the State that the next Governor of the State in 2015 should come from Eket Senatorial District.

Rather than cause ethnic disharmony, let the elders of Uyo realize that nobody elects where he comes from, and that everyone is equal before God. As such they should refrain from careless and unguarded utterances that may only cause friction between the different political and ethnic blocs in the state. Let us realize that whatever we do in our selfish interest, have a way of multiplicity effects on the generality of our people, either negatively or positively. The lessons from perpetual ethnic hostility in other parts of our country are still fresh yet too grievous to be ignored.

Barr Ikott Sends In This Piece From Onna Local Government Area

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