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Much has been talked about Gov Akpabio's religious affinity with OOO.

The issue of religion too, has been over highlighted here wrongly.

Whether perhaps, Governor Godswill Akpabio is of the OOO, O3, O9 O10 or any church for that matter, I don't think that has any effect on the consciousness of the people or garner any good for us.

My own issue is good service delivery, security concern and and indeed the propaganda brigandage espoused by some of the governor's spokespersons. As soon as lies are taken away from the scene of Akwa Ibom governance and security matters are addressed holistically, economy of the State will improve. As it is now we cannot have meaningful development, as investors are scared of doing business. Unemployment and youth restiveness or hooliganism remain a red alert. Some who may not be scared are not given the opportunity of doing it. Gone are the days when we were being deceived by some religious preachers that groups like Brotherhood of the Cross and Star, Eckankar, Rosicrucian, Islam etc, were occult groups and have some powers to cause spiritual harms. Some from the academia still hold this belief. This is a LIE and quite unfortunate. They are religious groups with unique teachings. Some people in these groups also the bear uncanny fear. Some get to join this religious groups for fear of unknown. I have been to all these groups and they have no power to harm any body; rather some of them can liberate you you from fear and anxieties which has been our in recent times.

Fake preachers try to insinuate that such groups are satanic. No body has the power to harm anyone spiritually. God did not give anyone such power. If any ever existed, the death and resurrection of Jesus must have wiped out such power, absolutely.

Unfortunately, those in authority, probably because they entrenched their belief in superstition and careless about the welfare of the people they cannot carry out good orientation to enlighten our people about superstition. And until superstition and ignorance are wiped off from our society we cannot make meaningful progress.

If you cast your mind back, recently a man killed his sister when he came back from a night festive in Lagos and claimed he was misled by the devil. He said his pastors from Apostolic Faith could testify that he has spiritual problem Where was he from? ....Akwa Ibom. Also a lady went to the court and pleaded with judge to let go her husband who killed her son. Where was the man from with the name Obot?..... No response This is one of the main problems that our State is bedeviled with.

Churches like Liberty Gospel Foundation remain at the forefront of giving our people false teachings; work hard to entrench, spread superstition. Of course these are the kind of churches that politicians go for 'blessings' and protection

In all the States of Nigeria Federation Akwa Ibom high level of ignorance about superstition, mostly fear of witchcraft. Yet no body has ever caught a witch or wizard. But a lot of people have been killed over alleged witchcraft practice. After Akpan Ekwong mesmerized the people with his deceit in the late seventies and early eighties, he forcefully sent hundreds of people into their early graves. Gladly, though, he did not go unpunished.

As he became drunk with the innocent blood of people he openly killed one of his aides and the law caught up with him. He was sent to the gallows Then came our ebullient and charismatic Evangelist Helen Ukpabio, now Apostle 'ordained'! Our own Lady Apostle claimed in DVD and and cassettes, even in print that she was a servant of demon serving under Olumba Olumba Obu- where you derived this OOO of a thing. She pulled a lot of crowd whenever she called for crusade to narrate her 'experiences' when she was a 'destructive' angel of the OOO. No doubt she now has more than 160 branches of her church across the globe because mostly from a group of sheepish followers. But she find it difficult to implant one in the US when she visited last year as she was confronted by a New York Times Journalist, Mark Oppenheimer. But Ghana is now a ripe place for her as her church is springing left and right there since Ghanaian people suffer the same sickness of ignorance and superstition like Nigeria. In Ghana there is what they called spirit children who suffer the same fate like 'witch' children in Nigeria. So her arrival in Ghana is already a fertile ground for her good exploit.

Today, in Calabar the the so called witch children have overtaken major streets and markets as their abode. Same with Akwa Ibom. ( Dont be deceived that for the government to terrorized CRARN and pick a few children there the problem has ended in Akwa Ibom State) What is the cause of this? Ignorance, poverty, fear and superstition. Permit me to say that high level of amoral behavior and dysfunctional families are part of the indices which government has in all paid lip services. I still cannot forget one friend who took the bull by the horn to expose the many religious profiteers who espoused and glamorized and glorified witchcraft in order to exploit children and people of Nigeria. Though out of very serious health condition and fierce security threat to his life he was pressured to leave the country by his friends and family

This man remains an icon of liberation from mental slavery of his people and the children of his home country. I learned a lot from this soft spoken gentle man. I strongly believe he cannot recognize my face should he ever see me. Even with slap on his face by the power that be, he has never ranged to criticize them, but remain softly obedient,. But seek to dialogue in the interest of peace, children and his cause. Really, I had thought Sam Itauma another State. It makes me proud to know that he is from Akwa Ibom- Eket, my maternal area. Akwa Ibom still have courageous men and women but they are hardly encouraged especially, since every thing seems to be politicized in our state. If we have people with courage and innovation, we need to encourage them. They could make some mistakes in the cause of their work. That does not call for crucifixion.

In conclusion, Let's forget about the church that Gov Akpabio's membership is linked to. That has a negligible bearing here. After all the OOO is reputed for showing love not only to her members but others who are not. I may not like to attend the church due to the fact that I could not go bare-footed given my health circumstances. Take superstition away, we will improve in our thinking and our economy will be on a sound track. That is the philosophy. --

Asuquo Okon Centre for Ethics and Justice (CEJ) Nigeria.

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