Akwa Ibom @ 26

25 Sep

ImageI was thinking of my roots as they say and it occurred to me that I am a long way from home. In that time and place, I remember the seductive rhythms, hypnotic views, sights and the bustle of my homeland andpeople. My State turned 26 yesterday and the journey seems short, for I can remember when we were not. I thought about the sights and sound of the polity leading to its inception and compared it to the now. My sense is that we have grown as a people and it has been very good—very good. You see I have the perspective of having growing up in a different environment as my birth land and I am not referring to my migration out of the country. I always had this unique perspective of people who have come from a place and grown up elsewhere—the Jewish people would come to mind—though we have always been different, being very diverse and accommodating. Many of us speak the same language or at the very least we share the same linguistic base. It is sort of like having an out of body experience, having this richness and bringing it together with our varied experiences, yet understanding that we are all one. My being raised up elsewhere never made a difference because I have mastered the art of adjusting to people, language and culture. I have found out that within the mix we call Nigeria not much is different—so is the story of our dear State—the proverbial coat of many colors. In this sense we are not exceptional but what is different is our openness, willingness to welcome and accept others and especially our peacefulness. If one can only look at our boundaries we will notice that except for a few pockets that we operate seamlessly between the borders. Consequently someone from Ikaland can call out to his cousin from Abangwa, not to talk of Arochukwu and expect them to come out to help—the same with Oku iboku and ikot offiong. We always manage to settle our differences—coexisting peacefully—living to fight and make up another day (like brothers and sisters). Our visitors are never disrespected—our ancestors would never tolerate it. We have been accused of being arrogant but I would not accept this—humility is expected and demanded. One is always welcome to ply their trade without the fear of being disturbed. The last few years have been turbulent if the truth be told. We have almost imploded not because of external forces but due mostly to internal issues. Some have even seen the need to advocate for their own state and space. Me I wonder; how many plots do you think we can divide ourselves into? If one could prove that these divisions will lead us to unity then maybe I would buy it but as it is, experience has taught me that the more we divide, the more we stay divided. I am uncertain what the rancor of ethnicity is all about but if we must have a discussion, let us do that—peacefully. I implore on our leaders to rethink their utterances and behavior. The greatest legacy of leadership is peace and unity as well as up-lifting others. We can sheath our swords and understand that we will either sink or swim together. All have a stake in our survival. Just thinking out loud—happy birthday Akwa Ibom and God bless you all. Now go help someone

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