I have been strangulated by the sentiment of ethnicity to avoid commenting on the issues which drag my clan (ONIONG) in ONNA Local government of A’Ibom state into the political ring with their brothers from other clans within the local government.
It stems from mounting contentions and outpourings of concerns with regard to the issue of marginalization vis-à-vis the sharing of
political offices across the four clans of Oniong, Nung Ndem, Awa and Awa Afaha which makes up ONNA..
It is instrutive to note that His Excellency the Governor, Mr. Udom G. Emmanuel, who hails from Awa Clan is misconstrued to have domiciled
political offices within the Awa axis and neglecting the other clans without proper assessment.
Injustice, parochialism, clanishness and divisiness are not alien our political clime, and these usually manifest the forms of base
sentiments, back stabbing, and segregation in the sharing of political
Unfortunately, these retrogressive tendencies have been imbibed by the
Oniong elites, who were privileged to be in the corridor of power,
wielding it without recourse to whether or not this inglorious state
of utopia is beneficial to other existing clans.
Tragically, this thorny pathway that is being walked by our leaders today, and might eventually be the walkway for posterity if apologies
are not rendered to appease the other clans that were victims of
political servitude because they didn’t have political godfathers in years
past to plead and advance their cause was initiated by my lineage.
Marcus Garvey posited that a people without the Knowledge of their
past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots, and is
easily displaced by any strong force.
Taking a walk back to memory lane, the Oniong I come from, who are
echoing today of segregation were once the deciders of ONNA politics;
they held sway the political strength of the Local Government,
dictating to other clans authoritatively for a very long time, leaving
them in the same shoes they find themselves today.
If I should wriggle round Garvey’s theory exhaustively, it is not out
of place to state inter alia that the emancipation mantra by a segment
of Oniong Clan from political slavery lacks moral justification and as
such portrays their agitation to jettison robust legislative
engagement to balance political office sharing in ONNA as a misplaced
It is misplaced in the sense that the actions of our yesterday leaders
had already given us a verdict within the jurisdiction of political
office sharing, indicating clearly that a zone can take turns
The lesson is not lost on us one which is that the political width can
pillar the hurricane of accusations and clamouring that will surely be
raised, thus, indicting our generations unborn to suffer for the sins,
committed by some elders who had sacrificed their conscience on the
altar of greed and selfishness.
I do not intend to bore us with the rhetorics of what happened in the
80’s/ 90’s (during the military rule), but from the transition to
democracy that birthed Olusegun Obasanjo as the President of the
Federal Republic of Nigeria.
It is worthy to note that the political office occupancy, birthed and
controlled by the powerbrokers in Oniong clan at the expense of every
other clan was incubating inter-clan enmity that has been brought to
the fore today.
Oniong clan was lucky to be remembered by Obasanjo’s administration to
produce the Secretary to the government of the Federation in the
person of Obong Ufot Ekaette (Oniong) in 1999, that era also produced
lat Engr. Udo Mboso (Oniong) as Executive Director NDDC, Chief Udokop
(Oniong) as PDP Chairman, Barr. Ini Ikott (Nung Ndem) as member
representing the constituency in the House of Assembly, Hon. Pat Ifon
(Awa) as Chairman.
In 2003, Ufot Ekaette (Oniong) remained the SGF, Hon. Akpabio Ukpa
(Oniong) as member representing ONNA state constituency in the house
of assembly, Hon. Iniekpo Akpanekpo (Oniong) as board member basin
authority, Hon. Godwin Ben, a.k.a Black (Oniong) as party chairman,
Late Charles Inyang (Oniong) as Local Government Chairman.
2007, Ufot Ekaette (Oniong) became the pioneer Minister of the Niger
Delta. Senator Eme Ekaette (Oniong) wife of the Minister became the
Senator representing Eket Senatorial District, Hon. Bassey Willie
(Oniong) as member representing the state constituency in AKHA, Hon.
Mrs. Owoideghe Ekpotai (Awa) as local government Chairman.
The political tempo changed when Bishop Samuel Akpan ( Awa) in his
gladiatorial might wrestled power from the Oniong decision making body
back to his domain.
It was the first time serenity and equity was remembered during
political office sharing, where all the clan was uniquely attended to
in 2011, Ufot Sunday (Awa) LG Chairman, Godwin Charlie (Oniong)
Member, AKHA, Osama (Nung Ndem) as Party chairman, etc.
Of all the privileges that was given Oniong, what did we use it for?
No tangible proof that we were once at the helm of affairs in both the
federal, state and local government respectively.
From the statistics above, do we now agree that it is baseless
chanting war songs as a result of marginalization and requesting that
the representation of four local government in the national assembly,
who has been in dire need for an eloquent and robust representative,
be slaughtered on the altar of sentiments?
Methinks, rather than create a fuss where it isn’t necessary, the
agitation for the balancing of political office sharing should be
centered in the offices that require only ONNA electorates and
stakeholders to decide and not when it requires three other
neighboring local governments.
Oniong clan seems to have forgotten that in ONNA, there is no second
term for any member of the house of Assembly and as such, the
incumbent that has done one term should be challenged to step aside in
other to allow Oniong the opportunity to mount the saddle.
It is advisable that as a people, we channel our resources and energy
to a more visual and optimistic winning challenge, than wallow in the
thoughts that will further plunge us into the quagmire of
marginalization peradventure it slides from our convictions.
Eket Federal constituency consist of four local governments, the decision of who should represent us in the green chamber is the prerogative of the four local government electorates and stakeholders
and as such, the outcry by one local government in regards their
internal marginalization is immaterial in this context. If Oniong at
the end of the day wins the contest, it will be viewed that the
product beats every other contestant on merit either by pedigree or
Competency, and not because one clan in one of the local government
that constitutes the federal constituency is marginalized.
I am true to myself even in the hazard of incurring others ridicule
than be false and incur my abhorrence.
Usenobong Udoh writes from Oniong West ward 2