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Power tussle divides Obio Offot community in Akwa Ibom

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Power tussle divides Obio Offot community in Akwa Ibom

…Village Head fingered

…I’m powerless, blame Family Heads, Chief Umanah

….”It’s a big lie, Chief Cyril Umanah is behind it not family heads” Chief James Jude.

The Village Head of Obio Offot, Chief Cyril Umanah has been accused of engaging in underhand tactics that is aimed at thwarting the agelong sharing of positions in the community.

This more was revealed by a competent source from the area who pleaded for anonymity.

The source told our reporter that the Village Head is colluding with some people to deny Nung Usoh family its right to produce the next youth president of the area.

Speaking in confidence, the source alleged that the Village Head has compromised standards because he has been bribed by another camp who are laying claim to the position even when it’s not their turn to produce the next youth president of the area.

According to him, the rotation is done on a family basis which the people have always maintained to ensure the peace and mutual coexistence of the people. He noted that with Nung Ekpe family having concluded their three years, it is the turn of Nung Usoh to produce the next youth president but the Village Head, he said, is bent on denying them (Nung Usoh) their right.

The source stressed that the office has never been subjected to nomination which he said the Village Head is advocating for in order to have his way. He added that the idea of nominating somebody to assume the position is designed to scheme out Nung Usoh whom he said has never produced a youth president.

Speaking further, he said that if they were to go by nomination, it should be the internal business of the family the office has been zoned to. His words: “The moment it is zoned to a family, one person is chosen from such family.”
Condemning the decision of the Village Head to impose Edet Awak on the youth, the source said that it is wrong and runs counter to the age-long existing zoning formula that has always guided the community.

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He called on good spirited individuals to prevail on the matter to avoid any breakdown of law and order in the area.

The source told our reporter that in the heat of the leadership logjam, the Unit Head of Nung Mkpe, Chief Ndareke Idaha, had summoned a meeting to resolve the looming crisis. At the meeting, according to the source, the situation was critically appraised after which it was seen that Nung Usoh was yet to produce a youth leader.

This, he said, led to the nomination of one Emmanuel Charles of Nung Usoh family for the position but a faction kicked and staged a walkout from the meeting, alleging that he’s not the right person for the office as family heads, they claimed, had an agreement to bring forth another person for the position.

The source noted that the faction that is against zoning is led by one Dr. Uwah who is rooting for one Edet Awak whom the source said was chosen by some dubious family heads in the area, who we learnt kicked against the arrangement.

It was gathered that Edet Awak is from Nung Udah family that has produced a youth president twice hence it’ll be a third time that the youth president will come from their family if he is allowed to assume the position.

It was learnt that the breakaway faction had mobilised their loyalists and met the Village Head where they reportedly told him that Nung Usoh had produced a youth leader through one Sylvester Charles who is now late.

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As a counter move, members of Nung Usoh family reportedly embarked on a fact-finding mission where they discovered that the claim that their Late Sylvester Charles was a youth leader was false. They found out that he was only the chairman, Electrification Project in the community.

After meeting the Village Head on the matter, it was gathered that he saw reason with Nung Usoh family and told them not to worry.

But the Village Head, it was learnt, started singing a different tune after he was allegedly given some money by Edet Awak who, a source said, sold a land to raise the money from which he gave the Village Head to smoothen his choice as youth president.

The Village Head, it was learnt, ordered the Unit Head to go ahead and inaugurate Edet Awak as youth president maintaining that Nung Usoh family won’t do anything.

With Nung Usoh family resisting the move and insisting on their right, a competent source from the area hinted our reporter that the Village Head is now bent on having Edet Awak from Nung Udah family inaugurated as the new youth president following the opposition that led to the cancellation of the earlier inauguration exercise which was stopped midway following a protest.
To actualise his mission, it was gathered that he has concluded plans to write the Police with the mandate to arrest anybody that may want to disrupt the inauguration exercise again and treat them as cultists.

It was gathered that this development has raised tension in the community. A source from the community told our reporter that if something urgent is not done to quell the leadership situation, a big crisis that may lead to loss of lives may be brewing in the area.

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When contacted, the Village Head, Chief Cyril Umanah, noted that he had wanted Nung Usoh to produce the next youth president, but said that he had to subject himself to the decision of the Family Heads whom he admitted have the final say on the matter.

He explained that he cannot but abide by the decision taken by Family Heads whom he said are the kingmakers, adding that he had “settled the matter with Nung Usoh family, “but they refused to listen to me” he said. He gave the name of the village head who did not back Edet Awak as James Jude.

When this reporter contacted Chief James Jude, Chief James said “It’s a lie that family heads has never involved in the process of selecting women leaders. Not to talk about the youth leaders.”

“If he (Chief Umamah) claimed family heads are the kings makers, why then did he instructed the unit leader Chief Ndareke Idara to go ahead and announce Mr. Emmanuel Charles to the village on the 16th of May 2016?

We will apply all legal machinery to ensure justice is done to this case. Nung Usoh family can’t and will never be intimidated” said Chief Jude.

Education

Akwa Ibom children ply dangerous river in rickety boats to access education

They suffer the risk of drowning in rickety river. Two children were said to have been rescued when a boat mishap happened a fortnight ago leaving them severely injured, after being rescued by a skilled swimmer

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Akwa Ibom children ply dangerous river in rickety boats to access education

Pupils using boat to cross over the river

Pupils using boat to cross over the river

‘We’ve lost faith in government’ – Village Head

By Uduakabasi Ikpat/Ofonime Honesty & Joseph Atainyang

Like a fairy tale, told in the days of old, when humanity coped with nature in most catastrophic circumstances, villages exist in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria, where school pupils would cross a deadly river on a daily basis to access basic education.

School children from four years old are exposed to harsh whether condition as they walk through swamps, get drenched before crossing a fishing settlement to where they acquire education.

Unlike what now obtains in modern cities in Nigeria, where children enjoy the luxury of being conveyed in air conditioned vehicles by parents and guardians to and from their schools, those of Ikot Mfon and Ndiya Usung Inyang communities in Etinan and Nsit Ubium Local Government Areas, respectively, are not so fortunate.

They suffer the risk of drowning in rickety river. Two children were said to have been rescued when a boat mishap happened a fortnight ago leaving them severely injured, after being rescued by a skilled swimmer.

The Ikot Mfon/Ndiya River serves as the boundary between the two communities.
The river is where a popular Catholic Missionary identified as Reverend Father Fintan drowned while spreading the gospel of Christ as far back as the late 1800s. His tombstone stands on the river bank.

The children attend Goodnews International Nursery School, Ndiya Usung Inyang; Qua-Iboe Church Central School, Ndiya and Comprehensive Secondary School, Ndiya. Meanwhile, the only educational institution available in Ikot Mfon community is the Saint Francis Catholic Primary School.

Ikot Mfon is in Ward 2, in Etinan. It has no social amenities like electricity, motorable roads, and having been cut off from the conjoined Ndiya community of Nsit Ubium LGA, has no attraction to its local market, where petty traders gather to sell their wares.

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Inhabited by local farmers, fishermen and artisans, and subjected to unfavourable conditions, the community is unhappy at the level of abandonment by government. They condemn a situation in which government officials would come to them during elections period, take their votes but run back to the state capital, Uyo, as soon as the political period was over.

Speaking with our team, the Village Head of Ikot Mfon, Eteidung Oscar Ekanem said the road from Ndiya which links the bridge to his community existed before the civil war.

Eteidung Ekanem said it is a federal government road leading to Ikot Ubo and also to Abak town. He lamented that the collapsed bridge had long failed without efforts to get it reconstructed, until the year 2016 when a lorry loaded with about 80 bags of kernel fell into the river, destroying the dilapidated bridge in the process.

Eteidung Ekanem, who spoke through village council chairman, Obong John Williamson stated that all four persons on board perished in the river, including a police officer, with only one survivor.

His words, “The road had been there before the civil war. We don’t have government attention here. They only come here when they need our votes. But after every election, they would leave us and run back to Uyo.

“That river has consumed many persons. All four persons died, except one in 2016 when a kernel merchant wanted to cross the bridge with about 70 or 80 bags of the product. The police officer who came with them also died. It was published everywhere in the media.

“The whole of this Ward II does not have electricity. When they brought electricity here, they diverted it to Udom’s (the governor’s) side. We shall never be part of this system again. We are not Ikot Mfon (grace family). They have counted us out of everything they are doing.

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“I am calling on the federal government to come to our rescue, knowing that the state government has no good intention towards us. They have come for inspection over 30 times. Nobody is doing anything about it. We are crying daily because of our children. Please, tell the government to come to our aid”, the visibly emotional man concluded.

Aligning his views with that of Eteidung Ekanem, a family head in Ikot Mfon, Obong John Francis Aaron observed that the situation is deadly, especially as children are daily crossing the river to acquire education, adding that it also affects the women who engage in commercial activities.

The Youth Leader of Ikot Mfon, Mr Francis Udofot and Celestine Johnson, a youth of the community, decried the anguish they experience in the area. They said the community boasts of human capital that engages in agro based activities, as they are blessed with enormous vegetation and arable land. They mentioned that they have crude oil and oil palm.

Our team spoke with school children who shared their thoughts on the circumstance. Happiness Anietie and Maurice Etuk are Basic 5 pupils of the Goodnews International Nursery School who said they are always scared while crossing the river.

Grace Peter, Basic 4, and three children of the same parents: Mary Patrick, Matthew Patrick and Gabriel Patrick of Basic 3, 2 and 1 all from Usung Esuk of Ikot Mfon village called on the government to step into the matter and safe them from imminent danger.

Market women, including Comfort Morrison from Ikot Ante, Bibiana Michael from Ikot Mfon and Eno Evangelist from Ndiya lamented that their businesses which hitherto had flourished, was currently crumbling after the collapse of the linking bridge. They informed that their fare is always N100 to cross over to another side of the road.

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Meanwhile, a local miner of sharp sand, William Jeremiah, together with Ekomobong Samuel told our team that the two communities have been living peacefully ever before the bridge collapsed. They narrated that many people do not find it easy to cross the water.

They maintained that the school children would even stand in the rain for a long time and sometimes return home when there is no canoe to paddle them to the other side.

However, the federal government under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has constantly been announcing her interest in developing the local communities and linking them up with cities to boost economic viability. The government has promised to prioritize the development of every part of the country.

In his Democracy Day Address, President Buhari repeatedly stated that his government would ensure the construction of critical feeder roads in the local areas so as to facilitate the transportation of food and other commodities.

Meanwhile, the member representing Etinan Federal Constituency, Barr Onofiok Luke could not respond to the development as calls and text messages sent to his cell phone attracted no feedback.

Ikot Mfon Community is however blessed with prominent scholars like Prof Ntiero Umoren of the University of Uyo and the late Dr Dennis Umoren, while the neighboring Ndiya of Nsit Ubium is blessed with the former Akwa Ibom State Secretary to Government and Managing Director, Oil and Gas Free Zones Authority, Mr. Umana Okon Umana, as well as Mr Inyang Unya.
Their people called on them to properly relate with relevant government agencies in order to wipe their tears away.

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AKWA IBOM GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL SPEAKS ON IBOM AIR BEGINNING OPERATIONS

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AKWA IBOM GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL SPEAKS ON IBOM AIR BEGINNING OPERATIONS

The Commissioner for Special Duties and Aviation Development Akwa Ibom State, Mr. Akan Okon has disclosed that the State owned airline, Ibom air will kick start operations this month.

The Commissioner who made the disclosure today when he took members of Foreign Services Academy on an inspection tour of the Obong Victor Attah Intl. Airport said the state government had met all requirements for the newly acquired airplanes to start operations.

“The State Government has put all the necessary finishing touches for the airlines to start operations. We are only waiting for the regulatory body to finish its own part of the process and we are good to go”, he said

Mr. Okon also seized the opportunity to call on the Federal Government to support the growth and further development of the airport since its a national asset that contributes to the growth of the Nation. Furthermore, he reiterated the fact that the airport is hundred percent built and managed by the Akwa Ibom State Government.

While showing members of the Academy round the second runway currently under construction, the Special Duties and Aviation Commissioner explained that the second taxi way was necessitated to provide an alternative take off point in cases of maintainance.

This he said would forestall the incidence in Abuja where the Nnamdi Azikiwe Intl.Airport was shut down during maintainance operations. He therefore commended Governor Udom Emmanuel for thinking it wise to undertake the second runway project.

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What Will Happen To Akpabio If He Decamps To APC -Reno Omokri Reveals

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What Will Happen To Akpabio If He Decamps To APC -Reno Omokri Reveals

Reno Omokri, a former aide to ex-president Goodluck Jonathan, has said that former Governor of Akwa Ibom state, Senator Godswill Akpabio, will have all his sins forgiven if he decamps to the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Reacting to Akpabio’s visit to President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday, Omokri said in a tweet, that even the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), will “pass over” him.

“Behold Akpabio, all your sins have been forgiven. When @officialEFCC sees the broom, EFCC will Passover!” he wrote.

Akpabio, who won his seat in the Senate on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), is believed to be set to decamp to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).

The lawmaker’s meeting with Buhari came after the President’s Special Assistant on Prosecution, Okoi Obono-Obla’s post on Facebook on Saturday night.

Obono-Obla stated that Akpabio will be received into APC on Thursday by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo and other top leaders of the party at a rally in Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State.

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