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TRAIL OF BLOOD AND TEARS: THE RETURN OF AHAB AND JEZEBEL – part II & III

21 Aug

 

                    Part II

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Godswill Akpabio’s betrayal of Ibibio parallels that of his uncle Ibanga Udo Akpabio’s betrayal of Ibibio Union in 1950s. This series looks into the betrayals, the deceits, and ethnic politics perpetrated by the Akpabios.

 

                                                

In 1927, Ibibio Union was born at Calabar. It wasn’t until 1928 that it was amalgamated with Ibibio Mainland Association in Uyo. In 1935, arrangement was put in motion to offer scholarships to 6 students selected from six Administrative Districts comprising of Abak, Eket, Ikot Ekpene, Ikot Abasi, Itu, and Uyo. The final selection of the students took place in June 1938. These were the students and their Districts:

1.     Bassey U. A. Attah    –    Agriculture –  Uyo

2.    Obot E. Antia Obong  –    Medicine    –  Itu

3.    Ibanga Udo Akpabio   –    Education   –  Ikot Ekpene

4.    Asuquo U. Idiong    –     Medicine    –  Abak

5.    Egbert Udo Udoma    –     Law    –      Ikot Abasi

6.    James L. Nsima     –      Education   –   Eket

During the selection process there were disputes in two Districts. One was at Ikot Ekpene where Mr. Ibanga U. Akpabio was opposed by Mr. U. U. Ekam who was then the Secretary of Ibibio Union, Ikot Ekpene. At the end, Ibanga U. Akpabio was preferred. The other dispute took place at Eket where the Oron group opposed the candidature of Mr. James L. Nsima, but without providing an alternative candidate except to insist that any candidate chosen should be from Oron group.

The Oron group led by Mr. Isong, then a Native Administration Treasurer at Oron appealed to the Central Union for intervention. Owed to non-intervention policy, the Central Union declined to intervene. As a result of this, Mr. Isong decided to withdraw his group from the membership of Ibibio Union with a view to creating separate scholarship for the Oron segment.

The occasion of the successful selection of the candidates for the scholarship was especially celebrated. Religious services were held in churches. Prior to the departure of the students to schools abroad, Thanksgiving Service officiated by Revd. Grover was held at Methodist Church at Ikot Ekpene. On August 1, 1938, the students departed from Port Harcourt through MV Calabar to Lagos, from where they sailed off the shores of Nigeria on August 3, 1938 in MV Apapa.  In that way the first phase of Ibibio Union scheme was concluded.

In 1941, Mr. Bassey Udo Adiaha Attah having graduated in Agriculture in United States of America became the first Ibibio Union scholar to return to Nigeria. In the meantime, and unfortunately, the death of one of the scholars, Mr. Asuquo Udo Idiong from Abak was announced from Canada where he went to study medicine.

In 1943, Mr. Ibanga Udo Akpabio and Mr. James Lawson Nsima who went to United States to study Education returned to Nigeria. Both were given rousing reception organized by Ibibio Union at Lagos. After both had settled down, they awaited Government approval for them to commence the organization and administration of a Secondary Grammar School at a site already selected and appropriated for the purpose by the Ibibio Union.

In the meantime, both Ibanga U. Akpabio and James L. Nsima were appointed Joint Secretaries of Ibibio Union. The site selected for the grammar school was at Ikot Ekpene. Arrangement for the acquisition of a piece of land on which a school building was already erected had been completed at Ukana along Ikot Ekpene – Abak road. In anticipation of the arrival of both Ibanga U. Akpabio and James L. Nsima, application for approval for commencement of the operation of the Secondary Grammar School to be known as Ibibio State College at Ikot Ekpene was submitted to government. While waiting for Government approval, Ibanga U. Akpabio and James L. Nsima were made Principal and Vice Principal, respectively.

The Government approval did not come as quickly as thought. About this time in August 1945, news reached Nigeria that another scholar, Egbert Udo Udoma who read law in Britain had been called to the Bar in London and that in addition, he had been awarded Doctor of Philosophy. This meant that Egbert Udo Udoma was both Barrister-at-Law and a Doctor of Philosophy. This feat was first of its kind in Nigeria.

To be continued

Part III

Ibanga Udo Akpabio Defied Ibibio Union Resolution

                   

With the newly formed NCNC, Ibibio Union opted to join the party at Eastern Regional House of Assembly at Enugu. This was seen as a wise move as it paid a handsome dividend. By joining NCNC in early 1950, Calabar Province became prominent in the Eastern Regional House of Assembly. This let to Professor Eyo Ita, becoming the Leader of Government Business, a forerunner of the post of Regional Premier.

In defiance of the Order by Resolution of the Ibibio National Conference,  lbanga Udo Akpabio, Principal of Ibibio State College, Ikot Ekpene, had voluntarily put his name forward at the electoral college at Enugu and was elected as a member of the House of Representatives at Lagos. With that win,  Ibanga U. Akpabio became a member of not only of the Eastern Regional House of Assembly at Enugu but also of the House of Representatives at Lagos.

Having elected to become a member of the two Houses of Legislature in the country, it became quite clear that  Ibanga Udo Akpabio had chosen for himself an entirely new career as a full-time politician, hence a full-time member of Parliament. His new status was incompatible with his continuation in his previous office as Principal, lbibio State College, Ikot Ekpene – an office requiring full time employment, complete dedication and devotion. The situation was so embarrassing to the lbibio Union people as a whole that curiously enough, it was the people of lkot Ekpene District of the lbibio State Union who were the first to register a protest with the lbibio State Union as to the anomaly thus created.

Following this new status, in September 1950  Ibanga Udo Akpabio was rumored to have threatened to resign as Principal, lbibio State College, lkot Ekpene on the ground that he had prepared himself to go into full time politics in Nigeria. Owed to persistent rumor, Obong S. U. Etuk, a newly appointed manager of the College visited the school. It was reported that on the order of Ibanga Udo Akpabio, some undesirable elements as hirelings threatened to lynch Obong S. U. Etuk who managed to escape unhurt. Ibanga Udo Akpabio would neither confirm nor deny the rumor of his resignation.

On January 19, 1952, to avoid being blindsided and in absence of the Principal Ibanga Udo Akpabio who had been away in Enugu for the Session of the Eastern House of Assembly, the Ibibio State Union directed Chief S. U. Etuk to go to the College and help in the administrative aspects while  E. S. Etukudo was asked to act as the Headmaster of the College. On February 7, 1952, Chief E. S. Etuk appointment was made permanent. The dual role of Ibanga Udo Akpabio seriously affected his ability to function effectively as the Principal of Ibibio State College since he also had to attend to his constituency duties. Complaints began to pour galore into the Ibibio National Secretariat, Uyo.

His prolonged absence also became a source of great anxiety to the Ibibio State Union. It was becoming clearer that the activities of Ibanga U. Akpabio in connection with his membership of both Legislatures were deliberate. It then seemed apparent that he was no longer interested in continuing in office as Principal, lbibio State College, lkot Ekpene. This might have been the reason he refused or failed to obtain for the College recognition and approval for the Post Primary School Leaving Certificate Examinations and grants-in-aid by the Government, despite enormous sums of money spent on the College by the lbibio State Union for over six years since the College was founded in 1946.

To be continued
Dr. Tom Mbeke-Ekanem, REA
Moderator
Author, Beyond the Execution –
Understanding the Ethnic and Military Politics in Nigeria
Los Angeles, California
Email: tedey@aol.com
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Gov Akpabio’s Ethnic Vengeance: A Rejoinder to Thomas Thomas

17 Nov
By Anthony Ebuk
Sir,
your article on the subject Ethnic Vengeance; Why Akpabio Tortures the Ibibios, published last week in your Global Concord Papers and more widely in Ibom Forum is referred;

REJOINDER

Governor Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State

Governor Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State

Mr. Thomas Thomas, We have been on the same page on a lot of issues, we’ve had our different opinion on some but on this issue, I dare say you are dead wrong.
My brother and friend, I have read your over 6500 words of raw appeal to the Ibibio race to take arms against their brothers, the Annangs. You may have considered it a masterpiece, you have received so much misplaced accolades for such venom but the truth is that you have used a good medium to sow very bad seeds.
I read some comments following your article. One even recommended burning it to a permanent storage device (CD) in order to show the generation yet unborn. To make a memorial of it so that our grandchildren will someday say in absolute ignorance and innocence “I read what your grand pa did to my grand pa’s people and I hate you for it”.
Mr. Thomas, you have been quite unfair in your analysis. Your story has been heavily coloured to highlight the wrong personal sentiments you intend to force on your audience. This is malpractice of the first degree given your profession.
Global Concord has suffered extreme persecution under the regime of Godswill Obot Akpabio, I can attest as a witness, but it is not enough to generate ethnic bigotry against everybody whose blood line can be traced to anywhere bordering within Ekom Iman Junction, Mkpat Enin, Iwukem, Ngwa, Arochukwu to Ibiono Ibom.

You opened your article by quoting Godswill Akpabio say by the time he finishes his administration, there will be nothing like Ibibio, Oron or Annang. I applaud you on quoting him correctly; recently many commentators have chosen to misrepresent the quote by removing the Annang and Oron aspect in order to give it a different meaning altogether. He may have failed woefully in his effort to achieve same but in your effort to discredit him, you have become worse than he is.
In your desperate attempt to whip up Ibibio sentiments, you have made a roll call of Ibibio sons and daughters purportedly betrayed by Akpabio, I will attempt to review some. Whilst not holding brief for Akpabio, I just think it pays better if the known, is pigeonholed in the known, and the unknown can safely then be speculated.
I am a bit worried when names like Ambassador Edem and Mike Eduok, have their troubles traced only to Godswill Akpabio. In Mike’s case particularly, you have stated that it is because of his brother’s “perceived” opposition to the administration! Are you serious?
Recently your publication carried a confession of a certain B. U, whom you claim was responsible for some high profile killings and kidnappings which included Madam Udonwa and His Royal Majesty, Oku Ibom R. Obot. You said One Wayas, an Ibibio man, was fingered as the sponsor. Yet in a surprise backflip you’ve loaded the same crimes conveniently again on the Annang man, Akpabio. What are the generations who are reading you supposed to believe?
I was of the opinion that following such confession of a dying man, you will be up in arms demanding an explanation from the said Wayas. No, it does not fit your ethnic profiling. You’d rather kill the story than let Akpabio off the hook on this two. I may not be surprise at this rate to read that Akpabio paid the dead man to confess and later killed him with poison and another Ibibio Martyr would have been born.
Most curiously, all sinners have become saints in order to highlight what an Annang man has done to Ibibio men and women. “ A brilliant economist” describes Chris Ekong. Nsima Ekere of “recent memory” is suddenly revered in proper robes as Obong Nsima Ekere, the 2nd most abused person in the history of Akwa Ibom is today fondly referred to in his proper title “Otuekong “ Idongesit Nkanga. The AKPF Bishop Akpan makes the list and Obong Umana Okon Umana loses all the allegations and abuses. Very subtle, yet very effective adjectives abi?
These are our sons who until recently were branded and labeled by us, but today, they are perceived as enemies to “the enemy” we call them with their proper titles and run a brief commentary on their CV’s to highlight their lofty achievement before concluding that Akpabio had dumped them.
It had become apparent long before now that most of the sins against the Ibibios were perpetrated by our sons all in bid to have a report card that “showed working”. Having achieved their goals, attained good offices and maintained same, they have slowed down their activities. Today we soberly say they were used and dumped. Have we asked them to explain in English or Ibibio to what “use” Akpabio had put them to? Are we all not aware that Senator Udoedeghe beat up Sam Enwang (an Ibibio Elder Statesman and a titled Chief) at the PDP 2007 nomination grounds, in public all in the name of Akpabio? Did Akpabio send him to do that or was it all ginger? Has he ever made a public apology to the Chief and former Governor? Have we as Ibibio people ever bothered to demand same? Do we even care if the two are in talking terms till date?
We must first define what use Akpabio had put them to when the going was good, demand and extract public apology from them where necessary; that is proper penance. And not just conclude “dumped them”. When they were generously compensated and paid off.
Is it a coincidence or just natural that every person who has made your “dump list” is an extremely wealthy Ibibio man and woman? Have you cared to investigate their source of wealth? It does not bother you that the same man you claim dumped them also made them extremely wealthy with public funds, our common wealth, as long as their names do not end in Akpabio their loot does not count.
APPOINTMENTS / EMPLOYMENTS
Mr. Thomas, at this point you goofed out rightly. It is either your source of information was quite shallow, which I sincerely hope, or you were downright mischievous which now borders in the realm of malpractice.
In the first instance, the total number of lawyers in the entire Akwa Ibom state Judiciary is not up to 10. This includes those who studied whilst on the job. At what point were lawyers recruited in the Judiciary? It very malicious of you to have stated that the Judiciary employed 50 Annang lawyers as you said you could be sued by the Judiciary and Global Concord will be history.
I am also aware that there has been recent recruitment in the state secondary school board and Ministry of Local Government. I know quite a number of people that were successful who were not of Annang extraction. It is true that quite a proportion came from the Ikot Ekpene senatorial district but the 93 and most time 100% figures you’ve quoted are outrageously falsified and targeted at capturing and manipulating the imaginations and hate sentiments of the reading audience.
One is left to wonder why such sentiments as yours are not shared by people of Oron and Eket origin if same were true.

With respect to Political appointees, you have cherry picked offices held by people of Annang extraction. You were very careful not to tell us how many Ministries there are in Akwa Ibom State. Of the 20 Ministries in Akwa Ibom State, only 4 are headed by the Annangs thus; Information, Works, Special Duties and Agriculture. I will agree that it is only in Nigeria that 4 would be greater than 16. Are there not Ibibio people heading major Ministries like Health, Education, Finance, Environment, Economic Planning, Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Commerce, Lands, Justice, Women Affairs, Sports etc. or are there no Ibibio People in the offices of the SSG, Deputy Governor, Speaker of the House of Assembly, the Chief Judge of the State etc.
There were only 8 Board chairmen listed by you, is it not also true that 8 of 27 is a minority in that category that has 35 boards chairmen?
Only I special adviser out of 6 is from Annang? What are you talking about?
You even went as far as listing a Special Assistant, a private matter as Director of Protocol and even Chairman Akwa United Footbal club? How low could you get! Just scavenging for every dish washing position, as long as an Annang man is named. Were they not entitled to positions of responsibilities because an Annang man was the Governor?
You could have made a comparative analysis with Attah’s administration and shame would be on you for causing such a storm in a tea cup.
Of all, the most parochial is your listing of Pastor Praise Okon of AKBC. This man was not imported from space to be AKBC Director; from Editor II in AKBC Radio, Head of Current Affairs in AKBC, Press Secretary to Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Principal Press secretary to the Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Deputy Director News and Current Affairs, AKBC, deputy Director Programmes, AKBC, Acting DG and Substantive DG of AKBC he has of course risen through the ranks.I am not entirely sure but I guess he has headed AKBC since before this Administration. It is even more amusing when you consider that his predecessors His Royal Majesty John Ekwere (Deceased), Emah Andy (Deceased), Dr. Ini Ebong were all of Ibibio Stock. How specially unfortunate is his headship of AKBC.

We talk about tribal sentiments, I guess you would agree that it is rather you who has attempted to look at the scene through a deeply colored tribal lens and you have attempted to use your pen might to whip up serious ethnic disaffection where there has been none.
I have not been a fan of Akpabio from time immemorial, I have never voted or campaigned for him, I believe he is directly or indirectly responsible for the insecurity that besieged the state shortly before his second term elections. If I have the opportunity, I will gladly prosecute him for financial impropriety. But he is still Godswill Obot Akpabio, not an Annang Man and that’s a world of difference.
As you continue to fan the embers of tribal sentiments, I hope your children and grandchildren will not be burnt in the inferno that would be occasioned by the outcome. We hear Hutu and Tutsis and we say Ruwanda is far away from us. The lessons are there to be learnt just ask a Jos man of the Zango kataf crises, it has never been about religion, this is how they all started. A couple of careless statements here and there and the people begin to run with it in the end nobody knows how to bell the cat.
Global Concord is the only local paper we have in Akwa Ibom. I read you because I believed you had the courage to tell the truth not the courage to be in opposition. What benefit is it to Akwa Ibom if we now read coloured stories from your stable just to appear to oppose? Then you are not better than Pioneer Newspaper who are docile yet stable and do not spew hate.
Let no politician derail us. Once this hate begins to spiral out of hand, they will be far off in Europe and the Americas with their kit and kin and you and I will face the slaughter. Elections of 2015 will be lost and won, but not on the altar of Ethnic Bigotry. Whoever is ready to contest elections should come out and tell us why we should vote him or her and not use you to tell us Akpabio has failed because he is Annang and He will succeed because he is Ibibio or Oron or Ekid. Selfish greedy people they all are.
I hope that one day, you will undo the damage you have done to the Ibibio race with this article, we are a noble race, not bigots . I pray we keep it so.
Regards;
Anthony EbukUyo, an Ibibio son, writes from Uyo.

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