Before Tribalism Destroys Akwa Ibom State By Inibehe Effiong


We are approaching another election year in Akwa Ibom State and the

gladiators are up in arms against one another. Nobody is talking about

competence and credibility. Nobody is talking about health care, job

creation, security, infrastructures and the real issues of governance.

What matters to us is ethnicity and tribalism. In Akwa Ibom State today,

the situation is so precarious such that one begins to wonder if things

will ever change. The debate is not about who can do the job, the debate is

centered on which senatorial district and tribe should produce the next

The governor is leading the divisive campaign in the name of a useless and

unproductive zoning arrangement. But the truth is that he is actually

zoning to Udom Emmanuel, his anointed successor.
Godswill Akpabio says he wants his successor to come from the Eket

Senatorial District of the State which has never produced a governor

because that will ensure equity. What insult on our collective sanity. If

zoning is so real and good; why is he pursuing a senatorial ambition

knowing fully well that it should go to the Abak Federal Constituency in

his senatorial district which has never produced a senator? Hypocrite.

These people have succeeded in pitching one tribe against another. Our

people are no longer brothers and sisters. The average Annang person today

sees Akpabio's government as their turn to rule. You rarely find someone

from the governor's tribe speaking against the atrocities of his

administration. They are united in support of “their son”.

The Oro tribe is talking tough, threatening everyone that their time has

come and that they should be given the opportunity to rule the state. They

are complaining of developmental marginalization, which I support having

been there. It is as if the Oro enclave is no longer part of the state.

The Ibibios, being the largest tribe, feel they have been relegated by

Akpabio and that they must return to power by fire by force. They think it

is their birth right to rule the state. Nonsense.
When you see someone from Ibibio or Oro supporting Godswill Akpabio, it is

most likely that the person is a beneficiary of the system. Akpabio himself

has never been a statesman, he is incurably tribalistic. Go to his village

Ukana in Essien Udim Local Government Area, and you will see what I am

talking about. The notorious 'Ukana Mafia' is so dreaded and feared by all.

He has taken important institutions and cited many projects there without

regard to other areas.
The tension is mounting by day, it is becoming too delicate for one to

remain silent. Nobody knows what will trigger the looming implosion. We

should not out of fear of being haunted, victimised or even killed close

our eyes to what is unfolding in our dear state.
Former governor Obong Victor Attah had his flaws, but he was not and has

never been a tribalist. I heard recently that the stooge Akpabio is

fighting hard to foist on the people of the state, the Secretary to the

State Government, has started his own favoritism by giving preferences to

people from his local government area in recruitment.

I challenge Akpabio to publish the full names and local government of all

those employed into the state civil and public service since he assumed

office in 2007. There are certain things I cannot say publicly.

While this mad battle of tribes is going on, the man on the street is

suffering and smiling in the mist of plenty. Our people have never been

this divided. We forget that poverty does not know Ibibio, Annang or Oro or

even Ekid or Ibeno.
Whenever I raise this issue, some will say but the governor has appointed

people from other tribes into his government. This is an absurd defence.

Who are these people and whose interest are they representing? The governor

has sycophants and yes me across tribes. These people are representing

their selfish interest and that of the governor especially when the going

is good.
Take for example Obong Bassey Albert, popularly called OBA, the immediate

past commissioner for finance who was recently sacked by Akpabio for

nursing a gubernatorial ambition. While in government, OBA defended Akpabio

with all his might. But today, he is seeking to succeed Akpabio and is

talking nonsense, accusing Akpabio of marginalizing the Ibibios. What

insolence! The same with Obong Umana Okon Umana, the immediate past

Secretary to the State Government.
Some folks will say that I criticise Akpabio because I am Ibibio. This is

because to them, tribe and personal interest determines where one stands

and they cannot imagine someone thinking and acting differently. But that

is a blatant lie.
There is no tribalism in me. During the 2011 elections, I mobilized the

youths of my community against the member currently representing my state

constituency in the State House of Assembly. I also rejected monetary offer

from the member's son. She is from my village. Most of those I have

supported at elections even while in the university where not of my stock

or tribe. Despite coming from the South South, I am today a vociferous

anti-Jonathan campaigner because I do not see in him a responsible leader.

I am anti-zoning, from councillorship to the presidency. Let the best

person get it.
We have to stop this Ibibio, Annang and Oro nonsense. We are one people.

Akpabio should allow the people to choose their governor. The masses need

to realize the deceits of the ruling elites. How come that they only

remember and talk about tribe when they are fighting for political office?

How come they are blind to tribe when stealing and sharing our money. They

know that as long as the people continue to see things from the tribal

perspective they will never be held to account. We have had enough.

*Inibehe Effiong is a Human Rights Activist. He can be reached via

+2348065142135 or  [email protected] < [email protected] >*

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