One of my very close Ibibio brothers and friends had a long telephone talk with me today over the 2019 Governorship elections in Akwa Ibom State.
The thoughts this conversation provoked got me to once again deeply reflect on the plight of my people; it got me to think hard on the unkind marginalization and the deliberately crafted total exclusion of people of my native Oro ethnic group in Akwa Ibom State from the political and economic leadership of the State.
As I reflected the more, I couldn’t help but recall that it was the Annang chap called Godswill Obot Akpabio that began and ensured this evil exclusion some ten years ago in 2007; and he did this even after an Oro man, in the person of Chief Otu Ita Toyo, had bent over backwards to help him, against all odds, to emerge governor in 2007.
The way and manner that Deacon Udom Emmanuel has been conducting the affairs of State and especially as it relates to the continued exclusion of Oro natives from the core political leadership of the PDP government in the State, there is no doubt that the governor is continuing with the hateful wishes and designs of his benefactor against the Oro people.
The crude hand that Godswill Akpabio dealt the Oro people, the pathological hatred that misguided him to enact a historic and monumental betrayal of the Oro ethnic group in Akwa Ibom State leaves an indelible, evergreen and painful scar in the heart and consciousness of Oro natives that will mar the political relationship between the Annang and Oro for decades to come.
Long before the disaster called Godswill Obot Akpabio happened to Akwa Ibom State and people, the core political leadership of the State used to be made up of Ibibio, Annang and Oro people. However, when this chap became governor, this changed. For the eight years Akpabio reigned, Annang was governor; Ibiobio was deputy governor, SSG, Speaker AKHA, and Chairman of the Ruling Party. The Oro natives were nowhere near where governmental decisions were made. This is still continuing under the Udom Emmanuel era.
The Ibiobio ethnic group has produced the governor, Speaker AKHA, chairman of the Ruling Party etc; the Annang have the deputy governor and SSG etc. And according to the Akpabio plot, the Oro natives are out of the equation.
I am deeply saddened by the unfair and unkind treatment of political exclusion and marginalization of my ethnic group in Akwa State. But I am not writing this piece out of bitterness or anger. I write to call our general attention to what some school of thought conceive as the immutable law of cyclicity in the affairs of men on earth.
As our experience of everydayness attests, this law demonstrates itself as the glorious sun daily raises and sets; it validates its constancy yearly as nature navigates through the four seasons from spring to summer to autumn to winter and back to spring. Each of the seasons lasts its allotted duration and another season comes at the expiration of one. No season, no circumstance, and no condition is permanent.
The only thing that enjoys permanency in existence are divine laws, two of which are the laws of cyclicity and karma, both of which work in tandem in the governance of the affairs of humanity.
Lessons from human history and my glimpse into the operation of these divine laws assures me that the evil that Godswill Obot Akpabio ill-advisedly used the privileges and powers of the exalted office of the governor to do against the Oro people shall not last for too long.
I am cocksure that the time shall come when Oro people shall progress from total exclusion to total inclusion and the majority Ibibios shall find reasons to and confidently forge a strong bond that will ensure both of them rule Akwa Ibom State together in unison.
It is my fervent prayer that when that tomorrow comes, men and women of good conscience shall rise above backward ethnicities and unhealthy hegemonic sentiments and advocate the inclusion of the Annang ethnic group in the daily rulership of our commonwealth. It cannot be fair to visit on the Annang the hatred that Akpabio visited on the Oro ethnic group.
*WE MUST FIND THE COURAGE TO REPUDIATE THE ETHNIC DIVISIVENESS AND MARGINALIZATION OF THE ORO ETHNIC GROUP THAT AKPABIO INTRODUCED INTO OUR BODY POLITICS. AKWA IBOM MUST DETHRONE THE EVIL THAT AKPABIO REPRESENTS AND BROUGHT INTO OUR DEAR STATE*