Dear Akwa Ibom people, the last few days have witnessed the celebration of the 80th birthday of one of our greatest and most revered Son, His Excellency, Arc Obong Victor Attah, the former Governor of Akwa Ibom State and the champion of the Niger Delta struggle.
Obong Attah no doubt needs no introduction. His legacies are there and his place in history is indisputable.
Some unfortunate incidents happened during the events marking what many called the Pan Akwa Ibom celebration of Obong Victor Attah.
Ordinarily, everyone had thought that the celebration should have been devoid of partisan considerations, but some ne’er-do-well leaders of the APC attempted to do the unexpected.
Walk with me a little down memory lane.
Obong Attah became Governor in 1999. In 2002, an unknown name then called Godswill Akpabio was introduced to Attah by the late Chief Fidelis Etim, who is the governor’s bosom friend. Attah appointed Akpabio as his Commissioner on Late Etim’s account.
Obong Attah introduced Akpabio to the then President Olusegun Obasanjo as one young and enterprising man who will take over power from him when the governorship is zoned to Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District in 2007 as Attah proposed.
Attah not only made Akpabio Commissioner but gave him ALL the support he needed to succeed in all the Ministries he served as Commissioner. Not once was Akpabio’s allocation, imprests or entitlement as a Commissioner withheld.
When Obong Attah realised that Akpabio was not the kind of successor the state needed, because it became clearer that he was incapable of maintaining the peace, unity and harmonious coexistence between the major ethnic groups in the state, he decided to throw his weight behind his son In-law, Dr Udoma Bob Ekarika, but then it was too late because majority of Akwa Ibom people had already resolved, including yours truly, to support Akpabio to emerge as Governor in 2007.
Attah had all the powers if he had wanted to hijack the election to stop Akpabio from winning the primary and election; but he allowed the process to go on as peaceful and transparent as it was.
Recall that James Aniema of the then AC emerged the Governorship candidate and contested the 2007 election against Akpabio of the PDP. All through the election, no case of violence or assassination was experienced. Aniema lived at his Ewet Housing residence with key members of his campaign team. There was nothing as threat to his life. Why? Because Attah as Governor was a mam of peace who placed the interest of the state above self.
No sooner had Akpabio won the election did everything change. Akpabio’s unprovoked vengeance against Attah and other political opponents begun. His humiliation of Obong Attah started less than 48 hours after he was sworn in as Governor. He started by saying that Attah built only eight rooms with outdated furniture at Le Meridien Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort.
Not only was Attah denied the hotel to host his 70th birthday, Attah was treated with disrespect and contempt by Akpabio. Tragic was that this happened with the backing of some Ibibio coconspirators who are back parading themselves as today’s agent of change.
We can never forget that people like Senator J. J. Udoedehe, a great Ibibio son assisted Akpabio as Campaign DG to emerge as Governor. But what happened? Akpabio fought him and ensured that he had problems as Minister of State for FCT with the then substantive Minister of FCT and that eventually led to the sack of Udoedehe as Minister.
When Udoedehe decided to challenge Akpabio for the office of Governor in 2011, we all saw how he was framed up, arrested, and charged to court. We all saw how Akpabio and his gang opened fire in Ikot Ekpene and killed innocent Akwa Ibom youths whose only crime was to go to campaign in Ikot Ekpene, a town Udoedehe is In-law.
Akpabio did not end there. He masterminded the burning of hundreds of taxi’s and buses at the Idongesit Nkanga Secretariat and also sponsored the attack and burning down of the Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Office along Abak road and blamed the incidence and lose of lives on Udoedehe. It was a season of blood and death.
Recall also that this same Akpabio sponsored plot to impeach Nsima Ekere as his deputy Governor for corruption and abuse of office, the same man he is today presenting to Akwa Ibom people as his new agent of change.
I can remember the role some of us played to save Nsima Ekere from being impeached in 2012. I got intelligence that Nsima Ekere will be impeached. I called his line severally to notify him but he was not picking his calls. I called his media aide, Mr Inem Ina and told him that I have tried calling his boss to inform him of a plot to impeach him but he (Ekere) was not picking his calls.
Inem Ina asked me how I got the information. I told him it does not matter but he should convey my message to his boss. He told me his boss was about going for project inspection and that its not true as Akpabio was not even in the state to have been plotting to impeach Nsima Ekere.
I simply advised him to send someone to Akpabio’s house in Ukana if he will not see the same Akpabio he claims has travelled out of the state meeting with House of Assembly members, perfecting last minute plans to impeach Nsima Ekere out of office and political cycle of the state.
A security agent was sent to Ukana by Nsima and my Intel was corroborated. The Akpabio who had earlier told Nsima Ekere that he has travelled out of the state and that Nsima Ekere should go on project inspection on his behalf was actually in Ukana plotting to get his deputy Governor impeached.
It was Inem Ina himself who called me back to confirm what I told him about Akpabio’s conspiracy against Nsima Ekere and that was how we saved Nsima Ekere from being impeached. We quickly posted his resignation letter on social media and got major TV stations in the country to air the news of his resignation letter while Akpabio was still perfecting his impeachment.
Akwa Ibom people, ask them questions.
Back to Attah. When Akpabio declared war on Nsima Ekere, Obong Attah who today is still being humiliated by Akpabio and Ekere, was the saviour.
Attah stood up against Akpabio’s tyranny and impunity. Then, he had political value to them. Now at 80, the same people who God used Attah to make them what they are today have the effrontery to plot disrupting Attah’s birthday celebration.
I thank sincerely Governor Udom Emmanuel for honouring Obong Attah. Posterity will judge him right and honour will never depart from him and his house.
But Akwa Ibom people, who could have thought that these enemies of Akwa Ibom state will take their vengeance and impunity to Attah’s celebration? Akpabio who was nothing till God used Attah to make him what he became, boycotted the Symposium and State Banquet. Not just that; frustrated and bitter that the Akwa Ibom State Government have honoured Attah, he exhibited the mischief he is famous with by organising a fake reconciliation meeting between two Ibibio sons, Senator J. J. Udoedehe and Obong Nsima Ekere.
Why did Akpabio wait till the day and time the Akwa Ibom State Government held the state banquet in honour of Obong Attah for his fake reconciliation meeting? Surprisingly, two Ibibio sons one would have ordinarily thought are sensible enough to see through Akpabio’s mockery could not. Akpabio manipulated them to attend a fake reconciliation meeting than attend the state banquet for Obong Attah on time.
Nsima and some APC chieftains who many thought would allow Attah’s birthday celebration to go on successful without their dubious politicisation of the event, failed public expectations as usual. From the APC, it was only Obong Rita Akpan, Dr. Maurice Ebong, Otuekong Sonny Jackson, Engr. Ben Ukpong and Obong Umanah Okon Umanah who arrived the venue before commencement and stayed till the end. Nsima Ekere who is dreaming to be Governor and will want people to respect him and his office, showed uncommon disrespect for the office of the Governor and Obong Attah the celebrant by leading APC thugs to invade the venue of the event 1 hour, 45 minutes after the event had started.
To further show the lawlessness and impunity he is known for, he caused a stir, breached security and disrupted the event. His thugs would have caused mayhem but not for the timely intervention of DSS agents who were at the venue. What a way to honour a former Governor by a man dreaming to become a Governor! What a way to honour the same man he runs to when Akpabio was moving against him.
Akwa Ibom people, please think outside the box.
Nsima Ekere continued the humiliation Akpabio directed him to do to Attah by storming out of the venue after sitting for barely 40 mins or so. I was a bit surprised that the likes of Atuekong Don Etiebet and Senator Ita Enang who ought to have been conversant with protocol would be part of the mob that insulted Attah and his guests. I doubt if they will want to see 80 years let alone be celebrated at their old age.
We have gathered to rejoice with Attah as a man of peace. Can we say the state will be peaceful if the likes of Akpabio, Nsima and the APC have their way; a people who invaded the House of Assembly with thugs on the day the House sat and pass a resolution to immortalise Attah?
Attah at the banquet gave us a story of how he contested the Governorship election with the late Dr Ime Umanah and while on the campaign trail, their convoy came across each other, he stepped out, Ime Umanah did same and they both embraced one another and exchanged pleasantries without any harassment from any supporter and how he told Ime Umanah, “I will defeat you” only for Umanah to also repeat same and both pledging to congratulate either of them that wins the election.
This was an era where contestants were seen as political opponents in a game where there will be winners and losers. But what happened in Akpabio’s time? Political opponents were seen as enemies that should be kidnapped, killed and murdered in cold blood.
Akwa Ibom people, these same people who will beg Attah to support and endorse them when Akpabio was persecuting them, are the same people now used by the same Akpabio to humiliate Attah. Was it not the same Udoedehe whom Attah supported and endorsed his candidature when he was hunted by Akpabio who had the guts to arrive Attah’s birthday celebration 2 hours, 15 mins after the banquet had commenced only to noisily go about shaking people’s hands to show he has arrived in clear breach of protocol? And why was he late to the banquet of a man who helped him become who he is today. Attending a fake reconciliation meeting between him and Nsima Ekere brokered to by Akpabio? Are the Ibibio’s now this foolish under Akpabio’s spell?
This is the same Akpabio whom Nsima Ekere and Udoedehe repeatedly brandished as devilish. I have lost count of the number of times Ekere, Udoedehe and the new saints of APC addressed the press and spoke loudly about how bad Akpabio was. How Akpabio’s impunity took over the state. Today, he is their king and leader.
Akwa Ibom people, the time has come for us to grow up.
To Akwa Ibom youths, the time has come for us to think well before deciding to ruin our lives. This man buying you guns, bullet proof cars and vest mandating you to kill; have you stopped for once and ask where are their children? Have they also bought their children the guns they have given you?
Akwa Ibom people, please stop, think and ask questions.
Nsima has been in NDDC for more than two years. How many times have Akwa Ibom youths benefited from the annual NDDC allowance to youths of the nine Niger Delta States? The only one they hurriedly gave in December 2016 was released after I blew the lid on the fraud that engulfed the stealing and embezzlement of the funds meant for Akwa Ibom youths.
If Nsima Ekere cannot be trusted in little things, how do we think we can trust him with great things?
Akpabio administration that APC branded as wasted years is now their reference point as the best performing administration in the state.
Akwa Ibom people, please stop sleeping, wakeup and ask them to tell you the real truth about their Re-Union.
Akwa Ibom people, ask questions.
Stop believing every nonsense they say or post on social media.
If they can humiliates Attah at 80, not minding what he contributed to their Political life, if they can humiliate Attah whom they used his press statements as their Political weapon against the Akpabio era of impunity in Akwa Ibom state, then stop and ask yourself questions before it is too late.
I endorse this message.
Prince Emmanuel Sam, The Unstoppable Voice of Truth.