One fateful Sunday in January, 2016, I was there seated in the parlour of His Excellency, Amb. Etim Uye alongside some illustrious Oro sons and daughters. I think my brother, Michael Akadakhaene was there with me.
It was a meeting of Oro Think Tank (OTT) and I was the Secretary. The disappointing outcome of the 2014/15 epic struggle produced a lull in the Think Tank. The meeting was convened to review that struggle.
It turned out that one of the originators of the propaganda which accused Oro leaders of collecting Two Hundred and Fifty Million Naira(#250,000,000) from Governor Godswill Akpabio to frustrate the Oro 2015 project was with us at the meeting. He didn’t have prior notice of the agenda of the meeting.
He had earlier gone to Ikpoto Okon Osung to confess that while Oro leaders started leading the agitation for Oro Governorship Project, he was supporting someone outside Oro for the same position.
In that camp, they reasoned that to weaken Oro’s bid, they must discredit the leaders. That was the origin of the story of Two Hundred and Fifty Million Naira (#250,000,000) bribe which has stigmatized some Oro leaders who gave up so much for the struggle.
So, while reviewing the 2015 experience at that meeting, Ikpoto Okon Osung characteristically mentioned the man, disclosed his ignoble role and latter confession as part of the review. Chief made no issue out of it, the reason the man smiled sheepishly while his act of wicked sabotage was publicly reviewed.
Although I didn’t believe that infantile propaganda against those leaders, I was stunned nonetheless by the disclosure of its source and purveyor.
I thank God for imbuing me with the ability to think and analyse events before arriving at conclusions. While almost all my friends believed the stories, I kept asking what the “bribe” was meant to achieve when Oro leaders were addressing press conferences, appearing on live TV programmes, publishing booklets, interfacing with traditional and political leaders across Akwa Ibom State and Nigeria to drum support for the Oro Governorship bid.
By this time, it was clear to everyone that Governor Akpabio was supporting Deacon Udom Emmanuel. I maintained that the objective of such inducement would either be to sway the leaders into the Governor’s camp in support of the Deacon or to sedate them into indifference to the detriment of the Oro Governorship struggle. Anything other than these wasn’t plausible. It sounded illogical to me. I felt vindicated when the shocking revelation was made at the meeting.
The wicked propaganda probably emboldened PDP delegates of Oro extraction to vote against the decision of the leaders because the leader’s moral authority was maliciously weakened by enemies within.
This time around, Oro youths are championing the long overdue and deserved recognition of their community as oil producing. The level of determination is something I have never witnessed in Oro. From all indications, even with the little extension secured by Senator Akon Eyakenyi, our leaders are extremely careful in approaching the matter because of how sensitive it is.
Nobody in Oro today, no matter how highly placed is willing to carelessly dabble into this matter. But the wicked propagandists who are the real enemies of Oro have resumed their stock in trade. They have started concocting imaginary meetings and non existent bribes. The objective is to discredit and weaken the moral authority of the leaders in order to prolong evil against Oro. It’s now beyond argument that there are Oro sons who benefit from our collective misfortunes and woes. Obviously, they aren’t ready to repent. They shouldn’t
They’ve started churning out ridiculous and unbelievable stories which cannot survive the tests of logic, objective and sincerity. But they came too late because there’s no single individual or group of persons who can halt this moving train. It’s beyond an individual; it’s movement of the people.
Anyone who makes useless allegations to cause disunity and weaken us will be compelled to substantiate them. “Once bitten, twice shy”. Before you spread cock and bull stories or acts scripts written by internal enemies, ensure you arm yourself with facts because it won’t be business as usual.
Enough of the propaganda; enough of the distractions.