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“You Are A Failure, You Lack Zeal For Service,” Eket People Tell David Lawrence

24 Nov

 

 

Youths across the three geo-political zones of Eket State Constituency has risen against the Member representing the area in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Hon David Lawrence in what they termed as his ‘’ lackluster, insensitive and brainless representation’’.david-lawrence
The group, under the aegis of Eket National Youth Forum for Good Governance in a release signed by Iwaad Akpadiaha Udonsek, James Udotai, Mbre Monday, Udo Ekanem, and Glory Okposin among 15 others lambasted the lawmaker for not showing any interest to the plight of those who voted him into office.
They described him as a ‘’Lagos been to’’ and an opportunist who lacks the zeal for service’’, adding that he does not even pick calls put across to him by his constituents having derailed from his campaign promises.
‘’we are disappointed in Hon David Lawrence and we even regret voting out his predecessor Hon Ayang Akanimo Ayang who we have now realized performed better both in lawmaking and oversight functions’’, the stated.
The group said they have concluded plans to begin a recall process to remove him as their representative.
They revealed further that the people of Eket local government area wanted the lawmaker to sponsor a bill in the House for the compulsory establishment of government farms across the 31 local government areas of the State to address the issue of food insecurity but that the ‘’clueless Lawmaker’’ has over the past one year ‘’played hide and seek’’ including not picking calls.
‘’He even deceived market women including the entire people of Eket that he will build an ultramodern daily market for them within six months but unfortunately up till date, no sign of any development’’, they stated.
The group demanded to know the number of persons he has empowered in any form or scholarship he has granted any indigent student of the area.
You Are A Failure, You Lack Zeal For Service, Eket People Tells David Lawrence‘’ instead of representing us effectively, he is busy building mansions in Uyo for himself and family. We are really disappointed in him and we wish to let him know that he has no political future as long as the people of Eket are concerned’’, they said.
The group commended Governor Udom Emmanuel for the ongoing road rehabilitation in Eket.
They maintained that Eket State Constituency seat in the State Assembly was vacant due to the inability of David Lawrence to represent the area effectively in keeping with his campaign promises.

By Assam Abia

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2015: Ibibio Elders Again Reports Akpabio To Mu’azu.

18 Jul

-As Concerned Akwa Ibom Citizens Carpet Anietie Ukpe For His Dinigration of Ibibio Elders

Ibibio chiefs

Ibibio chiefs

Ibibio Elders Forum has again reported the Akwa Ibom state governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio to the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Dr Adamu Mu’azu, for what they said was the governor’s penchant for unguarded utterances capable of causing problems to the state.
The elders had earlier in an advertorial published in The Nations newspaper edition vol, 9 no 2896 of Thursday July 3, 2014, called attention to statements credited to the state governor, where he was alleged to have told the congregation during the investiture of Bishop Cletus Bassey as an Archbishop. The governor was said to have told the people that “I must produce my successor, no matter what is your feeling and there is nothing anybody can do about it. I don’t mind whose ox is gored”
In that release signed by Sir Dr Okon Akpan Uko and Obong Dr Okon Ekanem, the governor was equally quoted as saying in another occasion that he would deploy the police, army, SSS, and every power at his disposal to ensure that he produces a successor. He was also accused of using the occasion of the burial of the state PDP secretary’s mother’s burial to say that he was going to ensure that certain aspirants would not be allowed to come close to where the PDP primary is going to take place.
In denying the accusations, the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Anietie Ukpe accused the two signatories as “men with questionable intentions”. Continuing, Ukpe said that the Ibibio Elders’ Forum was “the campaign organization of a desperate politician”, noting that the grammatical errors in the advertorial by the elders portrayed them as men not capable of speaking for the Ibibios. The CPS said that what the governor said was deliberately distorted to suit preconceived “dubious intentions”
But in addressing the current petition to the national chairman, the elders reiterated their earlier stand and said they stood by every word they credited to the governor. They added that they were pressed to write to the chairman because they identify with his effort to enthrone democratic values and internal democracy in the party. The said that the governor’s utterances if not checked were capable of imperiling the chances of the party in the state.
“We are genuinely worried about the ills that such unguarded utterances portend, because the people are beginning to read strong adverse meanings to them. Most of these statements are unwarranted and constitute a threat to the PDP’s credibility. Therefore, we appeal to all to call Governor Godswill Akpabio to order on time”, the elders wrote.
The appeal to the PDP chairman was signed by notable Ibibio leaders, such as Sir Dr Okon Akpan Uko, Obong Ukpong Dan Umoh, Obong Dr Okon Ekanem, Otuekong Sunny Jackson, Obong Rita Akpan, Obonganwan Imo Isemin, Dr Maurice Ebong, Dr Ita Udosen, Barr Tony Mike Akpan, Edidem Ime Dickson Umoette, Obong B.A. Nyong, Col. Ededet Bassey, and Otuekong Kingsley Ifot

Culled: InsightNews

Enough is Enough; we need a real Governor!

4 Jun
By Clayton Udoh

Akpabio

The son of the Late Assassinated Albert Ukpanah has been picked up by the police. The insinuation made on the young man is that he killed his own father. This is buttressed by the police accusation that he tampered with the scene of the crime .
Here in the USA ,how long would it take for the police to arrive at the scene of the crime ? How long should the young man have left his father lying in his blood in the sand to wait for the arrival of the “Nigerian” police to a crime scene?
In other words this is all nonsense and an attack against that family from the pit of hell.
For crying out loud, this family has gone through enough. I do not have word strong enough  to describe what this looks like and what is happening to the state of morality in this region of Nigeria.
The synopsis is simple; Akwa Ibom State is totally cult infested and the son of Albert Ukpanah is being “squeezed to drop all evidence and information” that may lead to the Father’s killers. You would think that the killing of the Father is enough and that the police should not be used as a vehicle to destroy this family. I fear for the life of the young man in detention and I abhor the present turn of events in Annangland, Akwa Ibom State. 

We need a real Governor who has the power to call his subordinates to order when they are bringing cult tactics against a family. We also need the next Governor to be someone who can deal with the level of infestation of cult dogma and activities in the state.
The “strong” man involved in this case should understand that in killing Albert Ukpanah he has won based on his own standards. Albert Ukpanah uttered some things he did not like about his political aspirations and he killed him. He should not go after the son, he should move on. 
People are so sick that they are blaming Albert Ukpanah for running his mouth and bringing this upon himself. Really ? Instead of the animals realizing that there is a curse on the land when elders are getting killed for money or second terms!!!!

On this very note, I doubt if Udom Emmanuel can operate as the Governor of Akwa Abasi Ibom State! He is not a cult guy and I do not believe he has the spine to deal with these guys that control every level of politics in Akwa Abasi Ibom State. We need someone that can stop this tide of Satanism infesting the state.
Akwa Abasi Ibom State has been sold to Satan and needs to be redeemed. The Killers and Murderers and Kidnappers are the Honorable Alpha and Omega while honest people are the ones hated for their honesty.

The moral compass of the youth has been destroyed and they go after people using character assassination, insults and every tool in the book against those who are telling the truth and asking for change in the system. Their heroes are the new breed of Cult-politicians that give them peanuts out of what they have looted.

That is why I have no pity for the youth in Akwa Abasi Ibom State, for they have chosen what they want the state to be like. A state with No jobs, No opportunity, No Industry, lots of fake motivational Speakers using them as pawns, lots of roads and hotels and stuff they will discover has nothing to do with their own progress as individuals(lots of them will never have cars to drive on those roads or money to sleep in the hotels), Cult-politicians dashing them money and every single person aspiring to become a politician,spending their lives praising and kneeling in front of others for their own livelihood, a land in which you could be killed at the blink of an eye for the sake of a sick person’s ego ! 
Inside this story the Governor’s Super Pension Bill is passed for the joy and praise of the lost youth and lost generation of people who think it is normal to stay at home without a job at the age of thirty; just hustling daily !!!

They insult, blackmail, spite and hold in contempt diaspora because of the manifestation of the greedy ones in our midst. They wish they could harm those  who are outspoken and fighting to stop the corruption that has rendered Akwa Abasi Ibom State an African version of China(Nice Infrastructure full of poor people).

No you tell me, you guys have evolved to the point in which you are killing old men and going after their children and what’s left ?? You guys have evolved into people that laugh at other people’s misfortune based on a total breakdown of law and order and you think, you can escape from such widespread chaos for too long ? 

Mark my words, as the blood spills for whatever excuse(elections, ego, ignorance), so will most of you walk on those hot dry roads of Uncommon Transformation wondering why there are no jobs or opportunities and that’s when God will remind you that you should forget about breakthrough because the land is steeped in people’s blood. Rather go and dance for your friend, the Cult-politician and see if he will give you something for breakfast !

RELEASE ALBERT UKPANAH’S SON
RELEASE ALBERT UKPANAH’S SON
RELEASE ALBERT UKPANAH’S SON

Clayton Bane Udoh, Mesa, Arizona.

Why we cannot run away from genuine federalism —Obong Attah.

23 Mar

The CONFAB resumed its daily routine of predictable motions and meaningless expressions of gratitude to the Head of State. That was how General Sani Abacha wanted it, until Obong Victor Attah, who later became the governor of Akwa Ibom State for eight years, dropped a bombshell on Wednesday, July 20, I994.

Thereafter, things were never the same at the CONFAB; mostly because, like most gatherings of Nigerians, this CONFAB was also supposed to be dominated by the three large ethnic groups – Hausa/Fulani, Yoruba and Igbo.

obong_victor_attahThe minority tribes would literally have to beg for any concessions to be granted to them by the big three. Instead, Attah, an Ibibio, one of the minority tribes, jolted them and challenged them with unprecedented audacity. The submission was a masterpiece in tone and courage. The Attah speech:

“I thank you, Mr. Chairman, for giving me this opportunity to join others in thanking the Head of State for convening this conference, for a very comprehensive inauguration speech, and for the opportunity to continue the debate on that speech; from which I intend to quote quite liberally.

I have a lot to say, in only ten minutes; so, I will right away deal with two quick issues before concentrating on my main area of concern.
The first is the question of leadership and good governance which have been proffered as the panacea for stopping coups.

The military has been condemned; the political class has been castigated. I have to ask in which market are we going to find a good leader and a good government to buy?
The truth of the matter is that you elect people and the government on trust, in the hope that they will govern well. At the end of their tenure in office, the people ought to have the unfettered right to assess the government and its leaders, and either endorse them to carry on or replace them.

I believe that if this had been allowed to happen in the past, barring the total indiscipline of the military itself, we might not have had any coups. The reason I say this is that, hardly ever a coup succeeded, in this country that was not considered a popular coup.

In other words, whether at the prompting of civilians or not, the military always took the opportunity of such frustration of the people’s will, at the polls, to fulfill only half of the people’s will. I say only half, because, while they would have helped to remove the bad government that the people wanted to see removed, they would then proceed to install themselves rather than give the people an immediate second chance to elect a replacement.
This is what the Head of State has to say about this in paragraph 34 of his speech and I quote:

”A common denominator of all forms of democracy is the belief that power, which is legitimate, is that which derives from the authority and consent of the people. It must provide for a credible and inviolable procedure for orderly succession”.

Answer to bad leadership
The answer to coups, to bad leadership and bad governance, can all be found in the provision that the people will have the right to decide; and their decision will not be frustrated by rigging, by the blatant declaration of false results or by annulment.

The second point that I would like to deal with, quickly, is the issue of the transition programme, and I thank the delegate whose amendment made it possible for the matter to be dealt with at committee level. I could not agree more with the delegate who suggested that the worst thing we could do is to send the military packing in disarray.

If NADECO and others, in that group, can go this far with a military government, there is no gain saying the need for us to plan our transition very carefully. But having said that, I have to admit that, today, Nigeria is treated like a leper in the community of nations.

Already we are familiar with the sanctions that have been clamped against us.
Last week the Times of London carried an editorial asking for the expulsion of Nigeria from the Commonwealth.

All forms of aid have been withdrawn; at a time that our own earnings are dwindling; trade missions have been cancelled; our appeals for debt relief have been rebuffed and capital inflow has totally dried up. In other words, we have been isolated to the point that, socio-economically, we are dead.

This is what the Head of State has to say about it:
“As you all know, we in the present government in Nigeria are committed to ensuring that there is a speedy and unimpeded transition to a civil democratic rule in which we shall not be participants”.
You will find that in paragraph 5. And in paragraph 41 he adds:
“No set of Nigerians look forward to early democratic rule more than patriotic Nigerians who are serving in this administration”.

Therefore, Mr. Chairman, sir, fellow delegates, none of us should feel hesitant to suggest that the military has already become a most unfortunate and regrettable anachronism and should be dispensed with very quickly so that Nigeria can begin to live again.

Now to my major mission which is to try and tackle the related issues of:

  • The Structure of the Nigerian State
  • Power Sharing
  • Revenue Generation and
  • Revenue Allocation Formula.

In bringing us here, the Head of State, in paragraph 8 of his speech said:
“History invites you today to bear the burden of our nation’s regeneration”.
Though representing various conference districts of various states, we are national delegates on a national assignment.
It was disturbing therefore to listen to several delegates speaking as though we have come here to see what we can take home to our various parochial enclaves.

NigeriaForm of federalism
A few, though, have spoken with varying degrees of concern for Nigeria, and those are the ones that I wish to join; in an attempt to find a possible solution to the problems that now plague Nigeria.
In doing so, I will affirm that, though from Akwa Ibom, whatever I am going to say, I would say if I had come from any other part of this country because I am going to dwell on principles.

Nigeria, in my assessment, has one essential problem; and, that is that we profess federalism and practice something else entirely. All the other problems seem to derive from this.
Dr. Ekeng Anamdu gave us a brilliant presentation of the basis and framework for the establishment of true federalism. I want to go one step further and say that true federalism, balanced federalism, genuine federalism, however we may wish to qualify it, has certain incontrovertible characteristics and all of them, to varying degrees, must be present in any form of federalism.

These characteristics include the empowerment of the federating units towards political and socio-economic self actualisation. In other words, much of the powers that the Federal Government now exercises are in contravention of the norms of federalism and must be taken back to the states.

Self propulsion of the federating parts implies the availability of the wherewithal. That is why derivation has become a cardinal principle of revenue allocation in any successful federation.
And that is why the 1963 Constitution represents the epitome of Federal Constitution making in Nigeria. It was this twin principle of empowerment and derivation that made it possible for the country to develop as it did in the past.

The West, in particular, was able, as we have already been told, to build Cocoa House in Ibadan, Western House in Lagos, several cocoa roads, and through prudent management of its resources, rather than through allocations from federal funds, was able to offer free education to its people.

My father did not go to the Federal Government to complain that he had to pay fees for me, my brothers, sisters and numerous others. He accepted that federalism did not mean uniformity nor did unity imply equality of means. Equality of opportunities, yes, but not of means.

The West did what it could for its people as did the North and the East and none was jealous or envious of the other. That was the golden age of federalism.
Then the coup of 1966 started a series of events that culminated in the civil war. As patriotic citizens, we offered this country the proceeds from all the oil within our continental shelf, so that this country could prosecute the civil war without having to borrow one red cent or one penny from any source.

And what did we get in return! A slap in the face — for being so naive and so trusting.
A law was passed, an obnoxious, vicious law, passed by decree called offshore —/onshore dichotomy. Decree No II3 of I970, so the oil whose ownership was never in dispute; the ownership of which was enshrined in the 1963 Constitution, became “our oil” – common property to be shared equally by all.

“That was the most unkindest cut of all for when the mighty Ceaser saw him stab, ingratitude more strong than traitors arms, quite vanquised him, then burst his mighty heart”. Quote from Shakerspears’s Julius Caeser.
Mr. Chairman sir, fellow delegates, that was indeed the most unkindest cut of all. A most devisive thing, that any people, using the strength of numbers, could perpetrate on their follow countrymen.

Mr. Chairman sir, I wish to say, with all the solemnity that I can command, that law could never have been passed against any of the three major tribes in this country.

From federal to unitary system
With the onset of military rule, we had started the very unfortunate process of transforming a beautiful federal system into a unitary system.
Of course at that time, we had so much money from oil that was seized by force from its rightful owners that we did not know what to do with it.

So we relaxed. We allowed indolence to massage us into a stupor. So much so that when we were confronted with another constitution making exercise in 1979, we refused to confront the real issues. Instead we came up with an apology to the military in power who evidently preferred an approximation to a unitary rather than a true federal type of governance.

That Constitution remained silent on the cardinal issue of derivation and that is why today, the question of how much rightfully belongs to those from whose land and continental shelf the oil is being extracted has become a matter for capricious jerry meandering.

Derivation is not a matter of how much you give me, it is not manna from heaven, it is rather a question of how much I give you out of what is extracted from my soil, my waters and my toils and enterprise.

Mr. Chairman sir, fellow delegates, I want to assure you that I would be repeating these same principles if, rather than the oil in my backyard, we were discussing the gold in Sokoto, the precious stones in Niger, the salt in Abia, the marble in Ikpeti, the tar in Ondo, the granite and other rocks that we quarry, the clay, the limestone or any other sub soil minerals which I understand have been found in such large quantities that this government was considering setting up a separate ministry for solid minerals.

Monstrous system
So, please, there is no selfishness about the position that we are taking. What we want, in fact, is that Nigeria will enjoy total development rather than develpment of the oil sector only. After all, one day, the oil will finish.
When I hear people say that we should come and put all our complaints about marginalization and domination on the table to determine who has been the victim, I feel quite distressed.

Why do we want to indulge in such futile exercise of tribal witch- hunting? It is sufficient to know that, by our own foibles, we have transmogrified a federal system into a monstrous unitary system that appears to have terrorized all of us.
All we need to do is to confront this monster and kill it and, in its place, install a true federal system.

If we do that, we will never again have cause to go to the Federal Government with a plethora of complaints which are borne out of a series of political and socio-economic dislocations and misconceptions.
As has been said here before, waiting on oil money will not help us to truly develop. And, unless we develop our resources, there is no state, including the new ones that we are being urged to create, that cannot live in some measure of abundance.

Late Sani Abacha

Late Sani Abacha

I will give you a few examples. Start from the East. We have allowed Malaysia which, only a few years ago, came to borrow palm nuts from us, to outstrip us. They are now trying to refine palm oil for use in lieu of petroleum oil. But the oil producing areas have some excuse because, quite apart from the fact that their land has been confiscated, other oil related activities such as flaring will destroy your crops and damage your buildings for several kilometers around the oil flares which are all over the place.

A lot has been said about the disappearance of the ground nut pyramids in Kano and I want to add that, recently, UAC of Nigeria had to close some of its textiles mills because it could no longer get cotton. And this has happened since oil money was used to build several dams for irrigation. The people have taken instead to selling currency in the streets of Lagos and other state capitals.

If you go to Adamawa, you find that the Savannah sugar plantation land is more than three times the size of the Island State of Barbados. Yet that Island is exporting sugar from five plantations to large areas of the world. But Savannah, even along with Bacita and Sunti, cannot give Nigeria sugar, because we have oil money with which to import. What will we do when the oil dries up? As, indeed, it will.

I designed the tea factory on the Mambilla Plateau in Taraba State, and I know that the Highland tea from there was sought after in the London Tea Exchange because it was of such high quality that it was used to blend and improve the poorer quality tea from certain other parts of the world.Today we have all been reduced to Yellow label tea lovers. And that same Mambilla Plateau could flood this country with milk cheese and butter but instead we have to pay N20:00 for a tin of Peak Milk.

Drought and the threat of the desert are no excuse either because a lot of dams and irrigation systems have been built. Far more money too has been spent on afforestation and desert control than has ever been spent on erosion control. And what is interesting is that, though Niger Republic is far more into the desert, it is able to produce so much more cattle and sheep that, every Sallah, we go there to import rams into Nigeria.

Justice and derivation
Please do not misunderstand me, I am not saying any of this to pillory or castigate anybody. I am merely appealing to us to accept that this oil has already done a lot to develop this country but most of it outside the oil areas themselves. The fly overs, the dams, the dual carriage ways, electrification projects — none of which you will find in the oil producing areas. Even, this new Federal Capital territory where we are.

We are not querreling with any of this. We are proud to have been the cause of it all.
But we are certainly saying that we should now also be able to share in it.
It is time for us to return to justice, equity and fairplay by reinstating the derivation principle.
This appeal would not be difficult for anybody to understand and accept except for the fact that we have come to confuse revenue generation with allocation.

The Head of State in paragraph 23 of his speech had this to say:
“Any useful and long lasting revenue allocation formula has to conform with the political structure of the country One of the valid observations which has been made is that revenue allocation should complement rather than substitute revenue generation”.

Anti-federalism
We have for too long now been substituting generation with allocation, and this is anti-federalism.
In this regard, I will say that I was very disturbed, by something that was claimed to have said by Prof. Bala Usman, in an interview.

He was quoted as saying that Ogoni claim was baseless. That they had lost all claims to whatever they might have had when they were conquered by the British and this conquest – listen to this very carefully, dear fellow delegates – this conquest has since been transferred to Nigeria.

Several questions come to mind, and it must be recognised in this context that Ogoni is only representational of all the oil producing areas.
Does Ogoni not belong in Nigeria that inherited the conquest from the British; can Ogoni people therefore be wrong in claiming that they are now suffering from internal colonization from Nigeria; are they therefore not justified in asking for their independence?

cartoon-derivationSimilarly, I want to counsel that we discountenance and dismiss such specious arguments as, “they did not put the oil in the ground so they are no more entitled to it than we are”.
Such arguments can only lead us to serious confrontation. We heard the man from Bonny say that if a father ill treats a child for too long, the child has the right to renounce the father.

We heard the Ijaw man say that if Nigeria rejects them, they cannot reject themselves.
These are weighty statements but the Akwa Ibom man is not saying anything yet than to hope that we will come up with a Constitution that will give everybody a sense of belonging and guarantee justice, equity and fair play”.

-culled from vanguardngr

Akpabio’s 2015 Shenanigans: Overrules His EXCO, Eliminates Effiong Abia from Endorsement.

28 Feb

 

*Dangles SSG Position on Bassey Albert 

By Weekly Insight Newspapers

Governor Godswill Akpabio has again dipped deep into his bag of tricks and shenanigans, overruling his executive council barely 24 hours after he had made them sign an unprecedented endorsement document on who should be governor in 2015. On Tuesday, February 25, 2014, Akpabio called another meeting of his Executive council, where he informed them that the three candidates they had endorsed were too many. 

 

He said it was important to further narrow the choice to two candidates to make room for a better choice and a more effective coordination. He told them that Effiong Abia should be delisted leaving the battle for Udom Emmanuel and Ekpenyong Ntekim. As would be expected, there was no challenge to the governor’s decision, though coming just a day after he had led the exco members to select the trio of Udom, Abia and Ntekim.

Our source, a commissioner who attended the meeting said the entire proceeding was dominated by the governor, who continuously boasted that no power anywhere in the world can stop him from having his way as far as the 2015 governorship election was concerned. He said that he had the magic wand to buy over supporters of other aspirants not favoured by the Exco arrangement. He told them that even if it means using the state’s six months allocation to achieve his purpose, he was willing and committed to doing it. He said he has so far commenced the process of buying other aspirants’ supporters with the number of PRADO Jeeps already distributed, adding that more jeeps and millions of naira would be dangled before some of the aggrieved party members.

“His Excellency boasted that with the amount of inroad he has made in Abuja; that not even the national chairman nor the president of the country could stop his choice and urged us not to entertain any fear of defeat”, the commissioner said.

He was said to have pressured his Finance commissioner to drop his governorship ambition and support the preferred candidates. He was promised the office of SSG after the election. This was as a result of the commissioner’s refusal to sign the Monday night endorsement document in a meeting coordinated by Mr. Don Etim, regarded as the “Dean of Commissioner”.

This will be a major blow to supporters of Barr Effiong Abia, who had been upbeat since the signing of the endorsement document that included his name. His upcoming thanksgiving service in Oron next week has received a wide boost following the said endorsement. But one of the supporters of the Mbo-born politician insists that whatever the governor or any person is doing cannot change what God has already kept for Abia.

The elimination of Abia from the list is a surprise move by Akpabio, prompting many to assume that the governor has not still made his final moves. One Edet Amba, who spoke to Weekend Insight, insists that Abia remained the governor’s choice, adding that all the necessary assurances have been extricated from the governor.


Weekly Insight Newspapers

Gov. Akpabio’s Hit Man Freed From Prison: Heads Roll in Ministry of Justice.

22 Feb

-Tension as DPP is Replaced
-The Details, Intrigues and Connivance

By Weekly Insight Newspapers.

The visit of the state Chief Judge, Hon. Justice Idongesit Ntem Isua, to Ikot Ikpene prison on January30, 2014 was part of her yearly routine inspection of prison formations in Akwa Ibom State.
On such visits, the Chief Judge usually extends prerogative of mercy to inmates based on the advice of the state Directorate for Public Prosecution (DPP). The Attorney General, through the DPP determines who should be prosecuted, and also who and when to discontinue prosecution based on the assessment of each case. Incidentally, this year’s release has raised serious questions begging for answers.
At Ikot Ekpene Prison on the said date, alongside other inmates who benefited from the prerogative of mercy, were six policemen awaiting trial for alleged murder of one Mr. Efremfon Abel Sunday in the early hours of August 30, 2013 (at about 2am).

Insp Sunny Tigidam, Sgt Ofonmbuk Okon, CPL Ephraim Joel, PC John Odoh, PC Idubor Osagie and PC Kufre Thomas were released because the PDP had declared on their advice papers endorsed by the Chief Judge, that they had no case to answer.
As soon as they stepped out of the confines of the beautiful prison the news went wild, the father of the deceased, Mr. Abel Sunday, got wind of it and raised alarm over the now controversial circumstances which led to their freedom.
Miffed by the turn of events, Mr. Abel Sunday Akpan, a civil servant who had before now been crying for justice, ran back to his counsel, Samuel Ikpo Esq. whose initial petition led to the arrest of the suspects by the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Umar Gwadabe, on the orders of the Inspector General of Police.
When confronted, Samuel Ikpo lamented that something must have gone wrong if the state can order the release of suspects whose primary constituency, the Nigeria Police Force, did not hesitate to deal with.
While commending the state commissioner of Police, the I. G Mr. M. D. Abubakar and the entire Nigeria police for dealing with the issue swiftly without attempting to protect the policemen, Ikpo explained that whoever is responsible for their release must explain how he or she arrived at the verdict of ‘no case to answer’ after the Police had tried and dismissed the suspects from the force.
The background story to the murder of Mr. Efremfon Abel Sunday, a driver and the first son in a family of ten children (7girls and 3boys) is as intriguing as it is interesting.
On the eve of August 29, 2013, Mr. Efremfon who was married with a son before his violent death, retired for the night, perhaps without premonition about the death lurking in his house.
This paper was informed that a team of policemen from Abak Division led by Insp. Sunday Tigidam invaded the victim’s residence in Ata Ediene Community at about 2am and forcefully gained entry into Efremfon’s rooms.
Claiming to act on an informant’s tip-off, tough struggle ensued as they attempted to arrest the deceased. At that point, neighbours who spoke to this paper on condition that their names should not be disclosed, alleged that the policemen use anything available including the butt of their guns to hit him all over the body consequent upon which he sustained internal injuries as contained in the autopsy report. They also confirmed that the victim’s manhood was pulled, a claim the pathologist who witnessed the autopsy later corroborated in a lengthy conversation with Weekend Insight.

After a long struggle, which alerted neighbours and relatives, they reportedly succeeded in taking him out of his house alive.
They left with Efremfon in the Toyota Hi-lux pick up van with registration number NPF 5123c driven by PC Kufre Thomas.
The brother to the deceased, Mr. Uwakmfon Abel Sunday shadowed the pick up on a Qlink motorcycle with one of the sister, Ikakke Sunday Abel, on the back. To avoid being noticed, they kept a safe distance while turning off the motorcycle’s headlamp.
On the way to Abak Police Station they allegedly stopped to further vent their anger on him, it was at this point that the brother and sister heard the shout of “they have pulled my manhood” many times before silence.
At Abak Police Station, the corpse of Efremfon was left in the back of the pick up outside, while the policemen who went on the operation entered the office, possibly to confer with superior(s) on how to handle the bad situation. Uwakmfon who had parked his motorcycle away from the station then sneaked in, only to feel his brother was now a lifeless body in the police vehicle outside.
At the mercy hospital Morge, the officers made frantic calls to the person in charge (name withheld) who was not around but assured that his apprentice will be sent to attend to them.
Our findings at Mercy Hospital Mortuary revealed a deliberate attempt by the suspects to cover their tract as they claimed on arrival that the victim was involved in an accident, and that they were merely assisting in evacuating his corpse.
When the morgue attendant demanded the identity of the policemen, Sgt Ofonmbuk Okon demoted himself and gave his name as CPL Okon Akpan which he wrote on a piece of paper to the attendant along with his real phone number[withheld]. It was the number which later gave him and his true identity away.
Again, this paper learnt that they claimed to have come from the state police headquarters, Ikot Akpan Abia.
On the strength of the petition dated September 3, 2013 directed to the Inspector General of Police-Mr. M.D. Abubakar, and signed by on Barr. Inimfon Edie in the chambers of Samuel Ikpo and company, Mr. Abubakar had seven days later, in a reply dated Sept. 10, 2013 and signed by one DCP Murtala U. Mani, Principal Staff Officer to the IG, directed the Akwa Ibom State commissioner of police, Mr. U. Gwadabe, to treat the matter.
The policemen were promptly arrested and detained at the state command headquarters as the incident was swiftly investigated. An orderly room trial was conducted and according to several sources at the police headquarters their men were dismissed while their case file was tidied and sent to the DPP for possible prosecution.
By November 11, 2013, the six accused appeared at the Abak magistrate court from where their remand was ordered. However, due to the demolition of the Abak prison building to make way for the new Bridge Constructed by Julius Berger PLC, the inmates including the six accused were transferred to the new Ikot Ekpene prison pending the constitution of a new prison for Abak.
At the AKS Judiciary headquarters, Wellington Bassey Way Uyo, a highly placed source explained that nobody can lay the blame of the suspect’s release on the State Chief Judge Since she lacks the power, on her own, to free anybody from prison custody. The procedure, according to our source who pleaded that his name should not be mentioned, is that the Attorney General as the Chief state prosecutor, through the DPP advices in writing, as in the instant case, about who should be freed and who should not.
Weekend Insight met the Hon. Attorney General, Barr. Ekpenyong Ntekim at the Ministry of Justice headquarters, Idongesit Nkanga secretariat, on Monday February 10, 2014. The Attorney General had promised to speak on the issue the following day at noon.
By the time the whole week ran out without locating the AG, it became clear that the seeming harmless demand on Monday to know if he (the AG) has granted press interview before, may have been a subtle way to point out that he intends to continue the tradition of not responding to enquiries on important state issues, no matter how topical it is.
But our investigations in the ministry of justice uncovered the fact that the embarrassing incident has jolted the top echelon of the ministry. A very dependable source who demanded and extracted assurance that his name will not be disclosed said authoritatively that the Attorney General had on Tuesday February 11, 2014 called for the file and canceled the release advice, ordering the re-arrest of the suspects and their subsequent arraignment within 24 hours, a tall order indeed.
As at the time of filing this report, Weekend Insight could not confirm the arrest or arraignment of any of the suspects. Somehow, recent events in the Ministry of Justice tended to indicate that the issue may claim victims, however remotely connected to the embarrassing incident, they may be.
In fact, as at last Tuesday, there was a minor shake up in the department handling public prosecution as the acting director, was replaced by one Usen.
These changes, our source confided, may not be unconnected to the advice which resulted in freedom for the six accused. The most worrisome aspect of the entire saga is the allegation by Mr. Abel Sunday, who claimed to have reliable information that the wife of one of the suspects sold a parcel of land which proceeds was used in an alleged bribery to secure their freedom.
Counsel to Mr. Abel Sunday, it was learnt, had petitioned the Attorney General on the behavior of the state counsel.
Meanwhile, the village head of Atta Ediene Abak where the Abel’s family hails from Eteidung Okon Thompson Akpan and members of his village council, had harrowing experiences to narrate when this paper visited the Ata Ediene village on Sunday February 16, 2014 as part of the investigation into the murder.
Eteidung Okon Thompson Akpan, who is more than 70 years was arrested alongside other members of his council and detained for more than six days at the state police command headquarters in Uyo.
At Ikot Ikpan Abia, they were brought before the 6 suspects who did not mention any of the arrested members of the village as the source of information which led to the arrest and death of Mr. Efremfon Abel, yet according to them, they were only released on bail after a strongly worded petition addressed to Compol Gwadabe from Nwoko and company, demanding that the police disclose their informant to which they refused.
Apparently their freedom despite the petition, they narrated, was allegedly secured after parting with thousands of naira. The fall out is that the police will now contend with a multimillion naira fundamental rights suit at Abak High Court. The Suit, as stated in the petition signed by one Barr. Utibe Nwoko, also seeks to compel the police to disclose their informant, to save their clients from the wrath of the community. Although the incident which brought the police into the picture was said to have arisen from the community’s electrification project, many respondents to our finding say they did not know him to be a robber, but a very stubborn person.
As the entire situation stands now, even the attempt by the state Ministry of Justice to undo what has already be done may create more legal huddles to surmount.

2015: Nobody Can Impose Governor On Akwa Ibom – Amb Assam Assam.

17 Feb

Ambassador Assam E. Assam.

Ambassador Assam E. Assam.

Chief Assam Ekanem Assam (SAN) is Nigeria’s Ambassador to Russia and the Republic of Belarus. Before his diplomatic job, he was Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in Akwa Ibom State. Assam, now eyeing the governorship seat in 2015, in this interview with BASSEY ANTHONY, speaks on diverse state, national and international issues including the politics of 2015. He insists that nobody, not even the incumbent Governor Godswill Akpabio or President Goodluck Jonathan can impose or install a governor in the state come 2015. Excerpts:

The Nigerian Embassy in Russia, under your administration, last November organised a trade and investment forum in conjunction with the Russian trade and investment community to boost the investment relationship between the two countries. So far, what can you say have been the benefits of that forum to Nigeria in particular?

We are looking forward to the benefits. And it is most likely we are going to have more of such fora. Nigeria has never really had a serious trading relationship with Russia. So, to commence the process of a serious engagement with the Russian trading and investment community both parties have to cultivate it and that is what we are trying to do – to bring both parties to the table and discuss and know each other, not on Facebook or the internet. And we have started seeing a lot of results.

Never in the history of our relationship has there been so much human and investment traffic into the two countries like now and this is as a result of that event.

I know that despite your appointment as Nigeria’s envoy in Russia, you are still much in touch with the unfolding political activities in the country as they have to do with 2015. What is your take on the defection of five Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors and scores of lawmakers to the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC)? Do you think it could scuttle PDP’s victory at the polls?

Well, I don’t know whether they (defections) will work against the interest of the PDP or not. That is not for me to say because that is in the future. What I know is that the new national chairman of the PDP is working hard to reconcile various diverse groups and he is also trying to encourage those who defected from the party to return.

The APC has criticised the election timetable recently released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), alleging it was deliberately structured to give the PDP an advantage and that the presidential election should not come before others. What is your opinion?

My take on it is that even if INEC had put the House of Assembly election first, the APC will still complain. They will say that the presidential election should have come first. There is nothing you can do about the opposition. The essence of the opposition is to oppose and that is what it is doing; so don’t worry about it. Everybody is going to contest the election. You have a presidential candidate that is going to contest against my presidential candidate. You have to choose yours and I too will choose mine; everything is even. So, my take on the matter is that I do not want to do the job of INEC. I don’t know what informed its decision and I am not ready to criticise on the basis of emotions and sentiments. INEC has the statutory duty of conducting elections and it has said it is going to conduct the presidential election on a particular day, so be it. All of us should go and get ready for it. It is like students wanting the examiner to set exams for them on a preferred day, contrary to the day the examiner wants the exams taken. It does not make sense.

Governor Godswill Akpabio recently led a delegation of PDP bigwigs in the state to the new national chairman of the PDP where he was quoted to have advised the PDP national chairman, Adamu Mu’azu to disregard some Abuja-based politicians from Akwa Ibom State who claimed they could deliver the state to the PDP. Do you too believe we have Abuja and home-based members of the party or factions of that sort?

If you want to know if we still have Abuja front and Akwa Ibom front, it is better you go and ask the governor who truly said there are metropolitan politicians. I don’t know where the governor got his information because I am not in the country. I am in Moscow. I don’t know who is living in Abuja now or who is living at home. But each

time I come into the country, I look for the governor and they tell me he is in Abuja. So, I don’t know who is living more in Abuja than the governor himself. If there are metropolitan politicians, I think the governor is part of that group because he is not living at home; that I can tell you.

Recently, at a well attended thanksgiving service organised by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Governor Akpabio spoke glowingly about the SSG, thereby confirming rumours that he may be his successor in 2015. Do subscribe to the politics of imposition?

But you know my view on this. I have told everybody again and again that nobody will impose a candidate on the people of Akwa Ibom State. We are too republican for that kind of nonsense. Nobody, not the governor, not even the President will impose any candidate on our people. The people of state will choose their candidate when the time comes. That is why we are saying whether you are metropolitan, village or local politician, let the governor give everybody a level-playing field so that we can determine whether, indeed, there are metropolitan or local politicians. Let the governor not campaign for a candidate because he is not contesting the election. But if he wants to contest let him come out and contest because he cannot be pretending that he is giving everybody a level-playing field when he campaigns for a candidate, and according to you, his body language means the endorsement of a particular aspirant. We should, however, not worry because that is how he has always spoke glowingly about people he has kicked out already.

The governorship seat has been zoned to the Eket Senatorial District for the 2015 election; but there is internal wrangling in the district over which constituency should produce the governor (cuts in…)

The governorship seat has not been zoned to the Eket Senatorial District. The governorship seat has simply rotated to that district. Nobody zoned the governorship seat to that district. There is no internal wrangling. You people are creating artificial politics when there is none. The senatorial district exists; the politics of that senatorial district also exists. If you have a senatorial district that also has its own internal politics then if you say the governorship has rotated to Eket, then the Eket senatorial district has a right now to present candidates for the election. It is not only the Eket senatorial district that will determine who the governor will be. The whole state will vote for the governor. So, what internal wrangling do you think exists?

But, I spoke with a prominent politician from Oron federal constituency who said if Oron does not produce the governor in 2015, he would prefer the governorship seat to go back to the Uyo senatorial district instead of Eket or Ikot Abasi in the Eket senatorial district. What is your opinion on this?

When you spoke with the politician from Oron federal constituency, did you expect him to say somebody from Eket must become governor? Where did they do that plebiscite? When did the Oron people meet to mandate that man you spoke to, whoever he is, to declare that rather than Oron people voting for anybody from the Eket senatorial district they should vote for somebody from Uyo? Where did they meet to say that? Did the man tell you he held the mandate of Oron people to say that? You see, the Eket senatorial district is going to produce the next governor. There are people within the district who have taken native oaths with some people outside the district. They will support those people whether you like it or not. The question is not whether the man in Oron is saying the same as the man in Eket or Ikot Abasi, the issue is, it depends on the political interest. What interest do you have? Do you think that an Eket, Ikot Abasi man whose sister is married to a governorship aspirant in Uyo will not support that aspirant? No, he will. I know the so-called prominent people from the various constituencies in Eket Senatorial District, including my own who are supporting the governorship aspirants from Uyo, But do those people speak for the senatorial district? That is the question. So when they say instead of Oron it should be Uyo, I mean that does not make sense.

What is your economic blueprint for Akwa Ibom State if elected as governor in 2015?

When I launch my campaign I will publish my manifesto to show the approach of the government I will lead in the areas of industry, agriculture, education, health and all that. So, taking one bit of it at this moment will not make much impact because as against what obtains now, I am not likely to come to government with the anger Governor Akpabio came with.

I am likely to come very well prepared and more organised with a proper programme for implementation so that if I build a road that road will achieve a particular purpose – not for the purpose of self-aggrandisement. My programme will be well explained in the manifesto. But I want to say that the trade and investment forum in Moscow is not a one-stop shop. It is a well planned thing. We are undertaking another one in June this year. I may not be there but it is all planned out that every year we must have an investment forum until we are able to actualise a marginal response to the entreaties of Nigeria to Russian investments. So, it is not going to be a thing that will be done one time and it is finished. We are doing it regularly in Moscow.

There is this impression that since you relocated to Russia as an ambassador, you have lost touch with your people and that you don’t relate with the grassroots. Won’t this affect your governorship ambition?

Well, I don’t know what losing touch means. That was the thought and essence of recommending me for ambassadorial appointment by the governor – that I should go there so that I could lose touch with the grassroots. But, unfortunately for him, I have not lost touch with the grassroots. I am rather closer to the grassroots. This insinuation frightens the people who thought I would lose touch. You are talking to me now in Nigeria, not in Moscow. I am here. And I do come home once in a while when it is necessary for the purpose of my job. And when I come to Nigeria I have the opportunity of visiting my home and I do meet with politicians. I am in touch with them. And when I can’t meet with them I ask them to come to Moscow and they come and listen to me and I talk to them. So, I am in touch. I read literally all the 85 newspapers published in Akwa Ibom State and I know what is happening. I do also contribute my thoughts on the state and nation issues. I recently granted an interview which was quite well read according to the sources I have spoken to. So I am in touch with the grassroots. I am a politician who is interested in contesting the

governorship election. So, I won’t tell you everything I do.

There is also the belief in many quarters that you are not youth-friendly and that the youths will not be accommodated in your administration if you become governor. How true is this?

Well, it depends on what youth-friendliness means. I have looked at the dictionary and I have not seen a phrase called ‘youth-friendly.’ So, I don’t know what they mean by it. But I have met some of the people who made the statement and they said what they mean is that I do not patronise secret cults and that I am not a member of the secret cults. Well, at my age I don’t need to be a member of a secret cult and I would not be a member of a secret cult and I will not patronise cultism.

Whoever is making that allegation is doing me a favour. But, if it is been friendly with young people, I can say I am very friendly with young people. I married at when I was 24 years old, and I had my first daughter when I was 25 years old. So, when I was 50 my daughter was already 25. And, I have been growing up with them. I am not like some people who married at 40 and they have a 10-year old first child at 50. I have grown up with my children and their friends. Anybody who knows me knows that my house is always filled up with young people at any particular time because of my children. So, if being ‘youth-friendly’ means cultism, they may be right because I don’t patronise cultism and I will never patronise it.

But if they mean being friendly with young people, then I can say I am very friendly with young people. The accusation that I am not youth-friendly came from my governor. He said the reason he couldn’t support me is because I am not youth-friendly. The question I will like to ask my governor is: Is he youth-friendly? How can the governor be youth-friendly and the youths are not employed? How can the governor be youth-friendly when literally 10 per cent of our youths are involved in crime, abducting people; armed robbery and all sorts of crime and then the governor is youth-friendly. And these children are there involved in all these crimes? How is he ensuring that these children are re-integrated into the society? So, I am not happy that anybody can make that kind of statement. If you have to make a comment about me, it is better you make a comment that sounds reasonable and intelligent.

What is your vision for a new Akwa Ibom State?

I don’t know whether there will be a new Akwa Ibom State or an old one. But I know that I have a document from which I intend to publish my views on how I would like to leave the state when I complete my tenure. Perhaps, that will be my vision. I don’t like all these catch-phrases like ‘Vision for a new Akwa Ibom.’ What is wrong with the old one? It is just a matter of telling stories to allow the system remain the same. But there are three issues that bother me. We have no health programme in Akwa Ibom State. We have no educational programme in the state, and we have no youth employment scheme. These are the things that bother me and these are the things I want to face. How do I ensure that children who have gone to school and have no employment are employed? And they must have quality education and

quality health. Our children are dying on the streets. Our women are delivering children on the vestries of churches because of lack of confidence in our medical sector. Our people are going to native doctors because there is no healthcare in the state. Not even the uncommon healthcare can solve the problem. We don’t have uncommon healthcare; uncommon education we don’t have.

But, what of the free and compulsory education programme of the Governor Akpabio’s administration?

When you have a teacher to 2,000 students? I don’t know how free and compulsory that type of education is.

What footprints do you want to leave behind as a politician?

I don’t have footprints for now.  I am still outside. When I step into the office of governor I would know the footprints I will leave behind.

-Daily Newswatch

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