Tag Archives: Eket

The kids are targets because they can’t defend themselves—-Sam Ikpe-Itauma

2 May

By Ahaoma Kanu

Children at CRARN Centre Eket

He witnessed some kids being persecuted for a sin they were innocent of and that incident inspired him to start a movement that protects and takes care of the children perceived to be witches. In this interview, Sam Ikpe-Itauma, President of the Child’s Rights and Rehabilitation Network (CRARN) explains why he took up the challenge to become the defender of the children condemned by the community as witches and wizards.

Sam Ikpe Itauma, Founder of CRARN

I am Sam Ikpe-Itauma, the president of Child Right and Rehabilitation Network (CRARN). It was established 2003 when three children were attacked in a market close to where I am living when I came back from school in Calabar to visit my late mother who was hospitalised then. I enquired and found out that their only reason for being persecuted was because they came to beg and the traders believed that they were witches that were holding down the progress of the market and prevented people from making good sales. I intervened and talked to the people. I went back to school and on returning back home two weeks later, I discovered another two children held there; it became a continuous exercise. Before you could know it, other children in the different part of Eket and Akwa Ibom State as a whole were being attacked equally. I tried to work towards making government intervene in the problem and called on some of my friend that had some kind of influence in government for help and assistance to stop the killing of people who were branded witches. So in 2004, we got a friend who went to the government and was told that the situation could not at the moment be handled without involving a civil society organisation or a Non-Governmental Organisation. That was how we started CRARN.

When they government said that the issue could not be handled, did they mean that attacking the children alone was not a crime?

Unfortunately, the children issue and child abandonment due to witchcraft was springing on at different spots but the killing of the kids was not widespread before people started believing that the elderly ones initiated these children. We went to the police and reported these cases and we decided to drum up support for our cause but many of them thought that people were somewhere created information that never existed. Many were in doubt of what we were talking about even many people never believed in our website after we started but the information we were getting were real; children were being killed, thrown into the river, buried alive, burnt and tortured to death. Some of them were poisoned with a local berry called Eseri, but people never believed.

Do you have an idea how old this myth about witchcraft maybe?

The witchcraft persecution started exactly 10 years ago when a homemade video was released, the name of the film is The End of the Wicked and it was a very popular film in Nigeria and Akwa Ibom State. Before then, the issue of witchcraft has been there but it was attributed to the elderly and the wretched then; it has been there before I was born. It took a different turn when children became a target. You know, the elderly ones they call witches are not too strong; nobody will accuse an able-bodied man of being a witch. They cannot say that Sam is a wizard because they know I am big and strong but if you are aged and weak, you are a witch, that was then but the film when it was released in 1998 portrayed how the children are initiated into the witchcraft kingdom to attack people and cause all kinds of misfortune. In fact, any problem that any person experiences will be attributed to witchcraft; it got so bad that you could get drunk and blame a witch for drinking off your limit. We have carried out research and found that these witchcraft accusations does not exist, it is a non-issue because certain situations have made me believe it is a hoax. I also discovered that the Christian community in Akwa Ibom State is involved in the catalysis of this issue.

Ahaoma Kanu with chldren at CRARN Centre

Did the Christian community affect it positively or negatively?

On the negative side

Can you explain what you mean in clear words?

What I am trying to say is that the issue of witchcraft has been a traditional belief actually but the Christian community or pastors are now mixing the traditional belief with the Christian doctrine in such a way that the children are the victims. It gets to a point that one starts looking at Christianity as an institution of the problem that instigates catastrophes to so many families in the sense that they, through their divinity, bring confusion into these homes. When the churches started with their divinity and spiritually revelation of somebody being a witch, all the traditional doctors have closed their shrines and started up a church where they will equally reveal through their gods that someone is a witch; they have put up prayer houses and create fear in the minds of people by making them believe that someone is behind anything that’s wrong in that person’s life. I was once upon a time a believer that witches existed but now, I don’t think like that again. I remember that my father never took that issue seriously.

What were the initial challenges when you started the centre?

We suffered a lot by trying to convince the government; we tried to get them to listen to us and look at the documents we had been gathering so far. We tried to get the support of the wife of the then Chairman of Eket L.G.A and he was on our side and helped us a lot by talking to her husband. We involved the state government and I remember the Ministry of Women Affairs, then Prof. Ekaette Etuk was the commissioner and she helped us a lot at that time. Our major challenge was that the children were constantly being attacked by the community and we were attacked also, I mean our staff. We had to report all these assaults to the police and later to the State Security Service agents and I would say that they were very helpful to us. The DPO of Eket at that time, Udoka, was very helpful and had a listening ear to our cries then; he made sure that any of our properties damaged by the people were replaced. I remember a time we took the kids out on sporting activities around Eket and our action flared tempers from the community leaders; they sent people to warn us to stop bringing the children around them again but we continued with what we were doing. I later got to know that the people planted themselves on our way with guns to attack us so we reported the matter to the SSS and they foiled the plans and that made me know that government was really behind us.

You started this relief organization for these kids when you witnessed them been attacked, how were the initial early days and how rampant was the situation then?

Before the establishment of CRARN in 2003, I had been taking care of them since 2000. I discovered that children were being abandoned and stigmatized as witches and wizards, I also discovered that there was a pogrom was carried out on these kids and more than 200 were killed in Eket alone. It wasn’t an easy task. It was very rampant and it was because of the rampant nature of the situation that we knew we had to start off a movement to stop the killing in the community. It happened in our own community where some of the people accused were tied up and asked to confess to being witches, many denied and were killed while some more wise ones agreed to being witches but good witches that untie people’s lucks, those good witches were spared. We tried to talk to the people and enlighten them to stop killing people that they assume are witches and charged them to obey the Commandment of God which emphasizes that killing is a sin.

Like the Prophet that confessed to killing 110 kids; he might have killed that much. So it was rampant at that time and we cannot actually put a number to those that died but many died as a result of this menace of being branded as witches and wizards.

What are the ages of the kids that are labeled witches or wizards?

They don’t have any particular age they start from.

Can a year old child be branded a witch?

Even a three months old baby can be said to be a witch; it has become a maddening situation now and getting worse. They believe the spell is transferable to babies also. They may threaten maybe a child to know if he or she had been initiated the baby, the child will accent to their threats and they will now be left with the option to do away with the baby that they cannot question to know if she has the spell or not. Everything tends towards people without a say in the matter; people that cannot defend themselves, they are the victims. They cannot accuse able-bodied strong men or rich men in the society as being witches because such person will match them; they look out for the vulnerable ones to target. But I will say that the belief that people are witches is a myth that has been overblown to the extent that if a witch concoction and poison is kept here and people are asked to choose from, they would prefer the poison to the witch spell. It is really a problem here in Akwa Ibom State.

How many kids do you have at the centre?

The children keep running into sometimes 150-155; it keeps increasing and reducing in units of one or two but at the most five without efforts to reconcile some of then with their parents. The situation has become that of children being brought to the centre on a weekly basis. What we do is this; when we see a child come in, we take it upon ourselves the battle of reconciling that child with the parents.

How successful are those reconciliationss?

The reconciliation is a very cardinal process to us but also the moist difficult task that we are facing. Over the years, we may have reconciled up to 250 children with their families.

Do you normally run a check on the children reconciled with their parents to make sure a relapse of them being treated as witches doesn’t occur?

Yes, we go back and check them and it is also a difficult task doing that because some of them live at the riverine areas and in far places and these checks also need money for transportation for us. We have got on records from our volunteers that some of the kids are rejected. In July, some UNICEF officials came around and we went on checking some of the children that were reconciled and we found so many of them happy to be with their families. The reconciliation processes is of two types; reconciling a child who has been in the centre for quite a long time say three or four years is one thing and another is reconciling a child who has just been sent out or thrown away or abandoned. For the child who has been in the centre for a long time, we have two ways of talking to the parents. Firstly we try to let the parent know the child is not a witch and, depending on the response of the parent, we let tell them that the child has been delivered by some missionaries from America and the United Kingdom; many of them know we work with some foreign missionaries and they see us with them and they believe that the Whiteman has extra powers to deliver witchcraft. For those brought to the centre, we accept the children and don’t argue with them on whether the kids are witches or not because if you argue with them then it means that you don’t want that child alive in that community. We accept the child and tell them that we will deliver the child. We keep the child for some time and counsel the child and make him know that truly that he or she has never been a witch. Often times when these children are brought here, we ask them to initiate us into their kingdom; we give them bread or other edible things to infect with witchcraft and some of them will agree. We eat these things in their presence and nothing happens to us. After some time we will ask the child, why did you did not come to take us to your coven, some of them reply that they couldn’t because we are too strong. With time, that child will realize that we are mocking him or her. We find out that these children later become happy to know that somebody believes they are not witches and then they open up and confess that everywhere you say you are not a witch, you are beaten so the best thing for them is to comply and confess to being witches so they will not be beaten but thrown out. In doing that we change their mindset from believing they are witches. Some of these ones are very intelligent while some, due to the torture, cannot assimilate quickly. In dealing with these kids we have found out that these kids are threatened and made to pass through an ordeal which forces them to accept to being witches. I am happy that today that all that we have been shouting that these children are not witches is now a subject of concern in the country and in the world.

Yes, this is largely due to the foreign journalists that came around and made the world see what has been happening for so many years. How did you meet them?

The name of the journalist is Max Gaven and she came with her partner, Joost; we call them Max and Joost. They came across a news report in the UK Guardian that said that children were targets of Nigerian witch hunt. They came at a time we were about to launch our Prevent Abandonment of Children Today (PACT) campaign, they came to cover the event. They came here and conducted their interviews and research and because they were at Esit Eket, they believed that everywhere in Akwa Ibom was Esit Eket. So when they went back they wrote that it was only happening at Esit Eket but it is a serious issue in Cross River State and there is no denying that fact; it is happening at Bogobri, Watt Market, Calabar Road and so on. We have these kids at Aba in Abia State and spreading.  The UK Guardian must have gone through our website and saw the situation there before they wrote to us requesting to come and do a documentary. We consented to their request and they came in February and went back. Later they came back in April with the Channel 4 group and did the documentary that was broadcast. The result of the documentary is overwhelming but I must say that what you saw in the documentary is just a flash in the pan compared to the real situation but we thank God that the government is paying attention.

I saw some of the children going to school and will like to know how you hope to integrate them into the society?

We will always work towards reconciliation. Some of those children you saw are growing out of primary school age so we decided to start giving them primary education here in the centre. Many of them are being rejected in many schools around; they are stigmatized and rejected out rightly, which the government assisted in building with the hope that children from the centre can benefit from, had the indigenes of the community rising against having the kids come there. We withdrew them so that they will not harm them. We have volunteers and teachers that teach them and we are working hard to put other facilities in place. We thank the efforts of the then State governor, Victor Attah, who donated to the Stones Model School but we have been rejected and this reminds me that part of the fund that was supposed to be used for the feeding of these children was used to put up some blocks here.

How many teachers do you have at the moment?

We have seven teachers and a head teacher; we have three Live-in carers and two management staff and lot of volunteers. We are still optimistic of employing an accountant, security and many other hands. Right now, we don’t have the funds to pay but we believe that people will partner with us in this regard. The present State governor has also promised to help us. For those we have to put into secondary schools, we take them to very far schools because those nearby have rejected them and we are faced with the challenge of paying for their transport of which we don’t have much funds. Some children in the centre are being trained in some trades, like automobile, sewing, and other kinds of trade.

I saw the school compound and there was no fence around it which poses a security threat; I also saw the windows that have no blinds and I also did not see any medical centre out there and I want to ask how you take care of their medical needs because I saw some one-year-old children out there that are really vulnerable to diseases?

First I will like to answer by thanking my colleagues in CRARN because they are so committed to their work. Yes we don’t have the facilities for them medically but what we do is that we take them to the hospital for treatment if a case is severe and at such time, we pay the bills; nothing is subsidized for us. There are cases that are just treated at the centre; we have volunteers that come here once in a while and again, most of the not-so-serious cases are handled by my wife, Elle, who trained as a nurse. We have plans of employing other nurses to be here permanently. We appeal to Nigerians and the government to come to our aid in this regard because on so many occasions we have emergencies that require immediate medical intervention.

I also saw some of the beds without mattresses and some of the kids were sleeping on the floor, is that despite what has been revealed, the government did not see these necessities?

When you talk about the government, I have a complaint; the information officer in the government house may not brief the governor very well on the situation on the ground. I believe that the governor is well aware of our needs here. I believe that the present governor, Mr. Goodswill Akpabio, is really concerned about helping us and has been sending some delegations here. The names of these kids have been taken and I want to believe that they are working out modalities on how to help us.

You told me last night that since the Child’s Right Act was passed, the issue has been taken more seriously than before and that you are part of the squad that is involved in the onslaught on erring pastors, how successful has the campaign been so far?

The government is concerned and since they watched that documentary, they became very aware of the situation. The State governor has ordered that these so called men of God should be apprehended. Last weekend, the pastor that claimed to have killed 110 kids was arrested; I did the reconnaissance for the police and he was apprehended. He is just one of the thousands of these Bishops that propagate this evil. I took the Channel 4 guys to him and he roped himself in thinking he was getting publicity. The government is actually arresting these pastors; we arrested more recently and it will be a continuous process. But the problem we are facing now with the police is that some of them that are indigenes of this part of the state are protecting their kinsmen and thwart our effort and get those to be investigated to run away; I have complained to the head about this attitude and they promised to look into it.

You said that you have been receiving threat calls and I will like to ask, are you not afraid because where the centre does not have much security?

We will soon erect a fence around the centre because it is very necessary that we do that but for myself and death threats, you know, I have put myself into this issue and I can’t withdraw it. I must see this fight to the end and whether I come out alive or not is inconsequential. This pogrom involves children and I will not abandon the fight. I am not saying I will be careless with my life and security, I know that these pastors being arrested have followers who may want to attack us in reprisal attacks, we know that but we can’t stop now because we have gone far. What we have done is likened, to us, planting a seed that is growing and spreading against the earlier belief of alleging children are witches. I will not step down and I know that God will be on our side.

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Archives: Akpabio’s Gunmen Invade Stigmatized Children’s Home In Eket

24 Apr

In fulfillment of an earlier radio pledge to go after the charitable organisations responsible for the upkeep of suspected child witches,’ Akwa Ibom State Governor Chief Godswill Akpabio has sent his killer squad after Mr. Sam Ikpe-Itauma of the Child Rights and Rehabilitation Network (CRARN).Child who was bathed with hot water by her fatherChild who was bathed with hot water by her father over witchcraft accusation Continue reading

“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

Two #Children, a Good #Samaritan, Banish From Homes, Seek Protection at #CRARN Centre

2 Apr
#CNNiReport: Three children yesterday arrived the CRARN Children Centre in Eket – Nigeria, a Centre that takes in children banished from their family homes by parents and relatives over the allegation of witchcraft practice. The children who came from different villages and communities narrated their ordeals in the hands of their relatives said they feared for their lives while on the streets,  that is why they sought refuge at CRARN Children Centre.

Speaking to newsmen at the Centre, Ms Esther Edem (surname changed to conceal identity), a 13-year-old girl from Edo, Esit-Eket and the senior among them, said she found the other two girls roaming the streets and discovered upon inquiry that they were abandoned by their parents. She said she took them to their family home where she lives with her uncle and gave them food. When her uncle came back from work, she reported the incident to him and requested him to take the children and meet their parents if they could accept them back. Blessing said instead of yielding to her request, her uncle launched an attack on her and ordered her to leave his house with the two girls immediately. She said her uncle revealed to her that he had been suspecting her of being a witch all this while.
“I was thinking he was going to be happy and try to help the girls out of their dilemma. I was surprised when he pounced on me with anger and a spank. He asked me to leave his house immediately, so I left the house and did not know where to go. While roaming the street in the middle of the night, and as we sat in an uncompleted building, Ima came with an idea that we should go to CRARN Centre, a place she had been about six years ago. That’s why we came here.” Esther told reporters.
Ima who brought them to the CRARN Children Centre said her grandmother packed out and left their rented apartment in Ekpene Obo, Esit Eket where they were staying and asked her to find her way because she can no longer take care of a witch. She said she was in CRARN Centre in 2010 at the age of five and was reconciled with her grandmother who had been very good with her until a prophet told her  that she was still possessed by the evil spirit and has been responsible for her misfortunes and business downtown.
The youngest of the trio, Blessing Bassey, said she attended a prayer session on a Friday night (which locals called Tarry Night) after her two siblings were kidnapped by unknown gunmen, one of the Pastors in a  small church close to the Mary Slessor Health Centre, Effoi – Eket denounced her as using her magic power to cause the kidnapping of her two siblings and causing the family to go broke. She maintained that things changed for the worst since that fateful day and her parents began a string of torture on her every night before she was finally sent out the house.
The Child’s Right and Rehabilitation Network (CRARN) Centre was founded by Mr Sam Ikpe Itauma in 2003 while still a college student when he rescued four “witch” branded children from the hands of angry youths who wanted to kill them for coming to a nearby market and begging for alms. Itauma was not, however, available for comments when reporters visited the Centre. But the Centre manager, Ms Carol Akpan said there were cases of new children flocking into the Centre with no adequate support to cater for them. She regretted that some children could not be accepted, except in extreme or emergency cases, but referred to the government centres or  taken to their communities for immediate reconciliation and reunification with family which has always  been a very difficult task.

WHY YOU WILL NOT BE OUR GOVERNOR.

4 Aug

By Dr Sam Etuk

*WE are tired of ungubernatorial speeches

For weeks I have been contemplating writing this letter, but discarded the idea 12 times. But since Akinwande Oluwole Soyinka says that, ‘The man dies in all who keep silent in the face of tyranny’.-The Man Died (New York: Harper & Row, 1972- p. 13), I think I have seen enough tyrannies to force me to speak up because I don’t want to die. Yes it is not in my character to die as a coward, though all of us in Akwa Ibom State are being forced to take that option, we should see and speak not. When you speak friends desert you and declare you a no go area, some even blackmail you for pittance just to satisfy their bandwagon fear of the unknown, but I will opt out of the spineless crowd and differ from such idiosyncrasy, because I know cowardice is a devastating weakness, for the sake of myself, my Children and their future, I will speak up today, I don’t need any supporter. The truth must be told. I have not compromised my integrity, no not yet not within the labyrinth of lies and confusion, elevated by threats and stock piling of ammunition for their perceived craving for power.

For weeks I have been contemplating writing this letter, but discarded the idea 12 times. But since Akinwande Oluwole Soyinka says that, ‘The man dies in all who keep silent in the face of tyranny’.-The Man Died (New York: Harper & Row, 1972- p. 13), I think I have seen enough tyrannies to force me to speak up because I don’t want to die. Yes it is not in my character to die as a coward, though all of us in Akwa Ibom State are being forced to take that option, we should see and speak not. When you speak friends desert you and declare you a no go area, some even blackmail you for pittance just to satisfy their bandwagon fear of the unknown, but I will opt out of the spineless crowd and differ from such idiosyncrasy, because I know cowardice is a devastating weakness, for the sake of myself, my Children and their future, I will speak up today, I don’t need any supporter. The truth must be told. I have not compromised my integrity, no not yet not within the labyrinth of lies and confusion, elevated by threats and stock piling of ammunition for their perceived craving for power.

In the past months, I have had to defend some gubernatorial aspirants from Akwa Ibom State, who are angling for the 2015 ticket before my very cerebral children. They believe venturing into politics in our clime is a waste of time, they are not interested in the dubious financial gains, because  they believe their parents’ antecedent is worth dying for or protecting forever. They are always proud and keep reminding me of their great grand Uncle cum father, Sampson Udo Etuk, the Ibibio Union icon, who denied himself overseas scholarship, whereas he was in charge of the funds and administration of the educational award, to allow others, who did not have the wherewithal like him to proceed abroad under the scholarship scheme to further their education, why he sponsored himself and later his children.

Today’s politicians would rather pilfer the money to build mansions for themselves and their siblings, and rape the society of such a great opportunity. The likes of Sampson Udo Etuk have long gone; even his colleagues at that time were very   much undecided about issues that favoured others. One is proud to be chiseled out from such honoured and celebrated stock. These kids   yearn to keep the legacy.

 

I read Assam Assam’s letter to Udom Emmanuel with stoic calmness that was why I chose to read it around midnightor about 30 minutes past midnight. I needed that kind of a serene environment to enable me digest the letter and perfectly decipher what he was trying to convey, knowing that “The greatest threat to freedom is the absence of criticism”-Wole Soyinka.

I know he wrote it and did not need to pay a letter writer to do it for him. He may be a cantankerous person as his critics claim including Udom Emmanuel, but  he  intelligently marshaled out his points, forget his so called antecedence, but his language were civil, although he flew off the handle in few places, it was logical. He did not dissipate his energy trying to lie to tell the truth or malign personalities, he focused on issues of import.

 

Days after, my loquacious human right activist colleague, Clifford Thomas woke me up from my sleep and dropped a printed version of the Udom Emmanuel’s reply on my lap. I was not disappointed because as most replies (advertorials) from the Akwa Ibom State present government connote, so many innuendoes were used to convey his message.

Udom Emmanuel

Although Udom made his points, such submissions were beclouded by the personal attacks on Assam, which made the letter amateurish. The art of discrediting your adversary before correcting any perceived cuff could work in a court room, but Udom can bear me witness that as a boardroom player that he is like me, it is usually counterproductive rather bare facts and truth work. Udom disappointed me and others of that class. He might have made his point but it was not very convincing for a man who hopes to rule us. Politics is a different ball game, one slip can affect the mindset of your supporters, forget about the executive rascality which is a Nigeria power fort, but when the time comes, the true supporters will be revealed based on your words.

While contemplating writing this letter I stumbled on my friend, Fani Kayode’s article and this quote attracted me: ‘”why should we speak out? Why should we bother? What difference will it make? Why should we risk our lives? Why should we swim against the tide? Why should we bother fighting against the government or the authorities because we can never win?” These are deep and difficult questions but thankfully Dante Alighieri provided the answer to some of them when he wrote that ”the hottest place in hell is reserved for those that remain neutral in times of great moral crisis”. This is not only true but it is also deeply profound.’

It emboldens me and I just let off a wry laughter because most of us have been hounded into the pit, and our mind is seared, without feelings. Those who perpetrated the 2010 hideous crimes are still around- The threesome. Therefore when those mean men arrogantly want to break every bone to triumph in a democratic set up, don’t forget we had been watching your back for years.

The office of a governor is respectable and should be treated as such. No amount of provocation should make a respected governor lower his esteemed position because he wants to trade words with a mad man on the street or show the public that he also has guts. Such brash bravery is not expected from anyone who aspires to such an office, this is why like many respected Akwa Ibom people, I am disappointed. The diatribe is a reflection of what we should expect if any of such ilks becomes our governor. I also wonder what we mean by backdoor even the one expressed by our governor, Chief Godswill Obot Akpabio was vaguely presented and if one reads meaning to it now, stones will start flying from all cylinders including the unintelligent passersby. This is one area we have not defined as we try to reinvent the story of Absalom. This is why we should succinctly present it before I write my own definition, which I have the journalistic license to do because for two good years I studied interpretative reporting, before they start accusing me of quoting Absalom, sorry backdoor out of context. Also I have THE POETIC LICENSE to be vague too. The Bible has been so battered by our claims to Christianity and respect for God, yet our actions do not portray the character of godly people. Perhaps, it is the religious titles that get our head swollen. According to the forerunner of Christianity, Jesus, the Christ, FORGIVENESS is a virtue in Christian living. It is highly desirable –even the Lord’s Prayer that we invoke on ourselves daily teaches us the right thing to do- “Forgive me my sins as I forgive those who sin against me.” Therefore it means if I don’t forgive others I will not be forgiven. God did not place this conditionality on us, we did it by ourselves by invoking it anytime we pray and should be responsible for it.

Mark my words our impetuous braveness will not make us governor of Akwa Ibom State nor claims which are underlined by lies. The Ibibio Elders Forum, once said to be a campaign team of a guber aspirant and not recognized by government as a reputable organization (advertorial signed by government appointees on behalf of the government stated this clearly) despite its founding father being late Dr Clement Nnyong Isong, our quintessential former CBN governor and civilian governor of then Cross River State, is now being used by aspirants to pep up their political profiling and their media touts resorting to blackmailing the group of those distinguished and accomplished elders, whose ages range from 55 to 90 years. A stone that was rejected….. Why claim an endorsement that has not happen,  the same Elders Council also hosted other aspirants and none turn around to claim, we’ve been endorsed by Ibibio Elders Forum.

Don’t let me say more. Once again accept my compliment and sincere gratitude for expressing your interest in contesting to serve us, but desist from insulting our sensibility, as more letters are coming from my stable in the near future.

Sincerely

Sam Inyang  Etuk

2015 Election: Gov. Akpabio Promises To Kill Anyone Who Opposes His Succession Bid.

20 Jul

By Thompson Essien.

During the 2011 gubernatorial race in Akwa Ibom State, scores of people were assassinated, billions of naira worth of properties were destroyed, ballot boxes and other voting materials were carted away at gun points, many people were injured, maimed, and raped—all in the name of politics. Akwa Ibom people rightfully blamed Akpabio for the mayhem, though some of his supporters vouched for his innocence. Since then, many people, such as me, have labelled Akpabio as a man with a killing instinct, who has no regard for life.

Gov. Godswill Akpabio

As they are preparing for the 2015 election, it appears as if Akwa Ibom people are going to be saddled with the burden of what happened in 2011. So far, Akpabio has issued a warning—-which many have interpreted as a coded message for his killers.
Speaking in Uyo during the the foundation-laying ceremony for the construction of the People’s Democratic Party Secretariat in the State, Akpabio said those who want to contest against a candidate of his choice must bow down for him or face death.
Hear him: “Just as God threw Lucifer unto the Earth, those who have betrayed the governor of Akwa Ibom State will not enter the Government House. And because of impatience, Absalom (son to King David) wanted to take over by killing King David. And when David heard, he asked the people to leave him. This did not end up well with Absalom. He died before his father. Those who want to take power through the backdoor will die and the PDP will continue,” he said. (Source:http://www.punchng.com/politics/death-awaits-politicians-se http://www.punchng.com/politics/death-awaits-politicians-seeking-power-through-backdoor-akpabio/eking-power-through-backdoor-akpabio/.)
Those who are close to Akpabio unanimously agree that with mounting opposition, especially from those who once dined and wined with him, inside him, Akpabio knows that he is facing a humongous opposition to his plan towards imposing a successor of his choice.
Those close to him say Akpabio is fearful of the manifestations of a lame duck governor. They say unlike when he was an incumbent in 2011, this time around, he may find it more difficult than he anticipated to stand up to and defeat the voices of opposition against his sole ambition to impose a successor of his choice on the people.
Some observers agree that while it might be one thing for Akpabio to successfully bribe through and intimidate the hierarchy of PDP for the emergence of Udom Emmanuel as the PDP candidate in the State, it will be another task for Udom (or any choice of Akpabio) to win the governorship race——though some people have speculated that Udom may not, after all, be his final choice.
Also, his critics have observed that Akpabio is very scared of losing and that this fear is what is priming Akpabio into issuing irresponsible statements in public places, including the threats to kill his opponents, under the false assumption that such threats will deter potential candidates to withdraw their ambition to contest against his choice of a successor.
Another issue that is making Akpabio to tremble is the awareness that he may eventually lose the State to either another faction of PDP (such as Umana Okon Umana and Albert Bassey Unity Vanguard—just to mention one possibility) or to the opposition (such as the APC, under Senator John Udoedehe and Group Captain Sam Ewang Unity Vanguard.)
One analyst summed it up with these words; “Can you imagine the outcome if Umana, Albert, Udoedehe, Ewang, Okpolum, Bishop Akpan, and maybe Iyanam and Esuene decide to settle their differences and team up (together) to fight Akpabio? The politics in Akwa Ibom State will change—instantly! If such a scenario were to occur, all that speculations of President Jonathan being on the side of Akpabio will be nonsense. Akpabio himself would likely run into hiding and abandon the State before May 29, 2015.”
But no matter the outcome, the politics in Akwa Ibom State can be conducted without assassinations and kidnappings. It is very shameful that an individual, who is privileged to  occupy the position of Chief Executive Officer and Chief Security Officer of the State will issue statements in public that say he will kill those who are planning to exercise their civic rights and responsibilities.
Godswill Akpabio’s threats to kill his opponents must be condemned without any conditions attached. The attitude of Akpabio is primitive, which in the year of our Lord 2014, a leader who holds such killing instincts should not be allowed to occupy any political office in our society.
Say no to imposition. Akpabio must be probed!
Written by
Ikpafak Thompson Essien
The Voice of the Poor Masses
Defender of the Oppressed
Social Critic
A native of Ibibio nation of Ubium Republic extraction, now living in the safe and beautiful city of Portland, Oregon, where no AKPF, ADUMA, ADV, and Akwa Ibom State politicians can reach.

 

Assam Assam Vows To Frustrate Akpabio’s Succession Plan.

18 Jul

Nigerian Ambassador to Russia and the Belarus, Chief Assam Ekanem Assam (SAN) has expressed his intention to resign to enable him contest the Akwa Ibom State governorship election in 2015.

Ambassador Assam E Assam.

Assam, who stated this at the weekend while addressing hundreds of his supporters from the 31 local government areas of the state at his country home in Idua, Eket LGA, disclosed that he would tender his resignation letter to President Goodluck Jonathan by next month (August).
Assam vowed to stop Gov. Godswill Akpabio from imposing a candidate on the people of Akwa Ibom state during the forthcoming governorship election.
He denied the rumour making the round that President Jonathan had asked him to withdraw from the governorship contest, maintaining he would go ahead and contest and win the race for the Akwa Ibom State Government House.
According to him, his entry into the governorship race would disrupt the succession plan of Governor Godswill Akpabio whom he said was hell-bent on imposing his successor on the people of the state.
“I have the energy, capacity and political will to stop Akpabio from imposing his successor because I have always said; Akwa Ibom people are too republican for an outgoing governor to impose a governor on them”, he boasted.
He asserted that the only person he was contesting the governorship office with was Governor Akpabio, adding that the day Akpabio withdraws from the race he would have no opposition to his way to the Hilltop Mansion.
“I want to tell you all that the only person I will contest the governorship with is Akpabio and the day he withdraws from the race I will have no opposition. Akpabio is the only obstacle to a free and transparent party nomination and election but I am glad because the People’s Democratic Party has started the process of a free and fair nomination and election”, Assam said.
Assam promised to revitalize and reposition education to international standards, localize the economy, industrialize the state, create jobs for the teeming unemployed people, fight corruption and stop capital flight if voted in as governor.

Culled from Weekly Insight News

 

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