By Inibehe Udosen
A lot of people who, as I assume, are in love with my articles, are labeling me Osundu Ahirika. I still don’t understand why. But I will simply deal with issues and avoid being engaged in a meaningless cross –fire.
I said last time that Chief Edet Nkpubre has disappointed me by joining in an ethnic battle to rubbish Senator Godswill Akpabio who brought him out of oblivion to a position of influence. Before I dare to go any further, I will like to say here that the main grouse that Arc Otu Ita Toyo had with then Governor Akpabio was for bringing Nkpubre from obscurity, at his expense to become the national vice chairman of the PDP, South South.
Quote me anywhere, Arc Toyo is one of the most intelligent and dynamic politicians that the state can boast of. As a chairman of the PDP, he stuck his head and insisted that power must go to the Ikot Ekpene or Eket Senatorial district and at the end of the primary, Toyo damned the consequences and stood firm that Obong Godswill Akpabio, who won that nomination exercise should be returned as candidate. Attah and the cabals in the state flexed muscles with state political and financial mights. But Toyo, or should I say the majority had their way.
Thereafter came the decision of the Toyo –led administration to grant party nominations in the local government elections to only aspirants with tertiary education certificates, a stake above the constitutional requirements of senior secondary education that even President Buhari could not fulfill. Despite the insistence of some of the big boys close to the seat of power and the then governor that people should not be disenfranchised for reasons not constitutional, Toyo kept his cool and went ahead to unilaterally disqualify chairmanship aspirants without university degrees, an act that was viewed as capable of causing disharmony in the party. Even with the intervention by the party caucus, Toyo went ahead to cause a publication of his own cleared aspirants in some local tabloids.
When the time came for the national conference of the PDP in 2008, the position of national vice chairman, south south was zoned to Akwa Ibom State. Toyo was obviously the only candidate from the state, and it was obvious that he will have an easy ride to the position. However, with such petitions as to the illegal sales of nomination forms to female candidates in his state, illegal additional charges on governorship forms, and his perceived autocratic nature, Toyo became a political orphan of a sort, and a replacement was sort on the eve of the convention.
In my last treatise, I mentioned the role played by late Pastor Oyong Asuquo and Pastor Michael Bush in Nkpubre’s election. It was Oyong who on the eve of the convention, brought the name of Nkpubre as a worthy replacement to Otu Ita Toyo, after former Governor Akpabio had been convinced that an Oro son had better replaced Toyo in the race to avoid ethnic sentiments. That night, Michael Bush strolled from one media house to the other, in order to print a hurriedly prepared campaign poster for Chief Nkpubre and to place the campaign in the newspaper. Since Pastor Oyong is deceased, I regrettably have to mention Pastor Bush who is hearty and can attest to this. Throughout his reign, Nkpubre showed no character and displayed no firm control of the party in the south south, marking him out as a misfit and puppet who had no clear ideology to make a difference. It is believed that had Toyo’s sins been forgiven and he was allowed to emerge as chairman of the party in the south south, he would have been articulate enough to likely emerge as deputy chairman and later chairman of the party. Toyo himself was equally rewarded as chairman of APICO-AKWA Ibom Property and investment company and later chairman of Akwa Ibom local government service commission (at a time of massive recruitment of civil servants in the state.
So it is obviously wrong today for anybody to come out and say that Senator Akpabio hated the Oron people and that was why he refused to support Nkpubre as deputy chairman. Like I said before, Akpabio donated N10million naira to Engr. Ita Awak to leave Toyo’s garage and get a house of his own, he gave Awak an SUV and some jobs to enable him get back into the society. Yet Awak hates Akpabio to still label him a tribalist. As if he(Awak) had told Akpabio to take back his gifts because he is tribal leader.
If Akpabio was an ethnic jingoist who so hated the Oro people, how come he recommended two indigenes of the area as ministers for four years in the persons of Prof Ita Bassey Ewa and Mrs Akon Eyakenyi and neither of them brought a single project to Oro nation in their tenure.
Why did he nominate Engr. Etim Inyang as a Commissioner for NDDC in the last NDDC board?
How come the very Oro people that Akpabio singled out and empowered are the very ones up in ‘arms’ against him. Why do people like James Abang, Chris Abasi Eyo, Obonganwan Atim Okpoyo and Dr Esiokwong Udoh who had no recorded benefits in Akpabio’s 8-years of leadership hail him as a good leader, and Barr Ekpenyong Ntekim(former Akpabio’s Commissioner for Justice and Transport), Barr Effiong Abia( former Akpabio’s Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Chief Edet Nkpubre, Dr Okon Eminue(appointed by Akpabio as Chairman governing council of Akwa Ibom State University for full 5 years), Chief Otu Ita Toyo and Barr Victor Iyanam(Akpabio’s Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General) are the ones leading an onslaught against their former benefactor?
The people of Obot Akara, Onna, Oruk Anam and Mkpat Enin didn’t witness several roads and bridges in their localities during the tenure of Obong Godswill Akpabio, yet they recognized that leadership comes from above and that to respect a leader is to honour God. Their elders are not abusing the current or former governor, but are joining hands to build the state. Are we building or disintegrating our state by persistently fanning the embers of ethnicity that are nothing but the end products of selfish greed? One may not know why these Oro chieftains are showing such high level of ingratitude, but it is important that people are forewarned to assess the qualities of these so-called elders and show them that deception and treachery do not make a man.
If one wants to analyze the dubious notoriety in the character of the noise makers, they can do well to ask Awak about his achievements or story out of government between 2003 and 2015. Edet Nkpubre who is today called a statesman because Akpabio single handedly made him a vice chairman of PDP, should do well to tell the people of Oro what has been his landmark before 2008 and after his tenure as South South Chairman of PDP; this is the only way we can be convinced that they are not biting the fingers that fed them.
As they approach the younger people in meaningless antagonism with the government, wont it be better to ask them if they are fighting the interest of their people or are simply venturing into another wild betrayal game of greed.
Inibehe Udosen, can be reach via Mbiaya-Uruan, C/OThe Apostolic Church, 69 Oron Road, Uyo Akwa Ibom State firstname.lastname@example.org