A foremost socio -cultural organisation in Akwa Ibom State, Oron Union recently held an Economic Summit under the aegis of Conference of Branch Presidents. The event which held in Oron Community House, Lagos ended in a hearty thanksgiving to God by Oro people resident in Lagos and beyond.
According to a release signed by the Publicity Secretary of the organisation, Omen Bassey, the event which was hosted by the Lagos branch of the Union opened on Saturday with a Keynote address presented by the Commissioner for Economic Development, Akwa Ibom State, Dr Emmanuel Onwioduokit explored the theme “TURNING EMBARRASSMENT OF RICHES TO ORGANIZED DEVELOPMENT ”
According to the release, the Commissioner urged Oro people to invest in their community in order to create wealth and check capital flight. He advocated the transformation of beaches and waterways in the area into recreational assets for income generation. He sued for support for the state government and for political office holders of Oro extraction.
The Chairman of the occasion and former Attorney General of Akwa Ibom State , Barr Ekpenyong Ntekim lamented the impoverishment and minoritisation of Oro by its exclusion from the levers of power.
In his address entitled “CONVERTING CRUSHING ADVERSITY TO OPPORTUNITIES”, the President General of Oron Union, Chief Dr E.E.B. Edunam decried the absence of binding Memoranda of Understanding between Oro communities and oil companies operating in Oro. According to him, this situation enables oil companies to short change Oro. He noted that Oro deserved a better treatment for providing the bulk of the resources which sustain the Nigerian economy. The release stated.
The President, Oron Union, Lagos Branch, Prince Offong Ntofon explained that the theme of the Conference was chosen to remind Oro people of the enormous opportunities available in their land, adding that Oro could do better economically if its rich natural and material endowments were properly harnessed.
The Press Release further stated that a former Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Power and Steel, Dr Edet Ekerendu addressed the Summit on “ORO NATION: THE JOURNEY OF A THOUSAND MILES- THOUGHTS, ACTIONS, AND DEVELOPMENT TRAJECTORY “.
He was said to have narrated the struggles, travails and triumphs of Oron Union from its establishment on 23rd May, 1925 till date. He questioned the refusal of the authorities to accord the five Local Government Areas that constituted the Old Oron Local Government Area their due oil producing status until the National Assembly passed a resolution to that effect after a spirited fight by Oro people championed by Hon Robinson Uwak when the latter represented Oron Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives.
Among other resolutions, the Conference appealed to the Akwa Ibom State government to expedite work on the Ibaka Deep Seaport in order to stimulate the economy of Akwa Ibom State and create jobs for the teeming unemployed youths in the State.
It reiterated the demand of Oro people for the appointment of a qualified son or daughter of Oro as Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The Founders’ Day Thanksgiving service was officiated by the Bishop, Methodist Church Nigeria, Oron Diocese, Bishop Effiong Esedeke while the event drew participants among branch Presidents of the Union across Nigeria,His Highness, Offong Efiong Matthew Unanaowo, Clan Head of Esekung Okpo and representative of AHTA Oro, some members, Council of Oro Traditional Rulers(COTR ), members of the Central Executive Committee(CEC) of the Union, many illustrious Oro sons and daughters among them, Major General Isidore Edet, General Officer Commanding 81 Division, Nigerian Army, Prof (Mrs) Eka Uweh of the University of Calabar, Col. Joseph Eduoku, Mr Asuquo Amba,Deputy Commissioner of Police, Oyo State, Dr Emmanuel Ekuwem, CEO, Teledom Group, Engr/Barr (Mrs) Nkpubre Nkpubre, former Managing Director, Nigerdock PLC, Mr Maurice Ukpong a Lagos based businessman and former President of the branch, Dr Bassey Antai, former Commissioner for Health, Akwa Ibom State, Mr Nkereuwem Joshua, Superintendent of Police, Barr Abang Mkpandiok, a Lagos based Legal Practitioner.
By Omen BASSEY