I have been inundated with several telephone calls and electronic messages from Nigerians including Akwa Ibomites, home and in Diaspora, in all my social media platforms, shortly after my first commentary on the obnoxious “Property Charge Bill, 2016”, which I termed as “witchcraft against innocent Akwa Ibom people, being sponsored by the member representing Ibeno/Esit Eket state constituency in the Akwa Ibom House of Assembly, Mr Usoro Akpanusoh.
Like I said in my earlier article, this is one Bill too many. It has provoked emotions and anger of the people since news of its existence came to the public fore.
I will always stand with the masses and make my small voice heard. I am opposing this witchcraft of a Bill because it is anti-Akwa Ibom people and if passed into law would become a terrorist to the meager finances of the already impoverished people of a civil service state, as we are known.
On the heels of this, today, I have spoken with some members of the Akwa Ibom House of Assembly including the lead sponsor of the Bill, Mr Usoro Akpanusoh; those listed as co-sponsors: Mr David Lawrence – member representing Eket; Mr Victor Udofia, member representing Ikono; Mr Nse Essien, member representing Onna; Mr Monday Eyo, member representing Uyo; Mr Uduak Udoudoh, member representing Ikot Abasi/Eastern Obolo; Mr Aniekan Bassey, member representing Uruan; Mr Aniekan Uko (not a co-sponsor), member representing Ibesikpo Asutan and Mr Ime Okon, member representing Ibiono Ibom and chairman, House Committee on Information and Strategy. I also had an informal conversation with the Speaker of the House, Mr Onofiok Luke, on the same matter.
My interaction with these lawmakers, especially, the supposed co-sponsors of the Bill have established one thing; “They were not consulted before their names were inserted as co-sponsors and they have disassociated themselves from it because the Bill is anti-people. They cannot turn against the very people that elected them.” For want of space, I will publish what each of these lawmakers told me about this controversial Bill in the Monday edition of Radar Newspaper, so keep a date.
Again, one thing is certain; this Bill is evil and if enacted, will suck dry the remaining blood in the nervous system of every Akwa Ibom man. The Bill is a systematic digging of our graves. Little wonder Section 2(1) (b) of this ‘satanic’ Bill exempts; “Cemeteries and Burial grounds” from properties in the state to be taxed by government.
What a wicked world? Is this how to reward your people for electing you into power? Thank God, the member representing my Mkpat Enin State constituency, Mr Otobong Ndem, is clever not to be among the co-sponsors of this anti-Mkpat Enin Bill, trust us; by now, he would be addressing various Mkpat Enin town hall meetings on why he wants to dig our early graves after getting our mandate?
My family and community have instructed me to speak against this Bill. They recommend a trashcan treatment for the Bill. Mr Speaker and Honourable Members, there is no need wasting public funds on public hearing in the name of this ‘witchcraft’ Bill. Just quietly export it back to wherever it was imported from. We thank you for your kind efforts towards generating revenue for the state, but for this particular one, the people say no to it!
I call on all Akwa Ibom people especially those whose lawmakers are involved in this witchcraft practice to start the process of recalling them. They have over stayed their welcome in the sixth assembly. They have run out of what else to pass as Bill, that is why they are now digging our graves with this ‘Pit of Hell’ Bill.
If not, be ready to attend burial ceremonies on a daily basis, because, this is a deadly disease that will kill faster than hypertension.
I think, Akwa Ibom people deserved a better deal from their representatives and all those in power. The people have suffered enough oppression and deprivation from the hands of politicians in this state. If we are not called “illiterates” for seeking mere cogent answers from them; we would be “idiots” for asking them nagging questions.
The thought of this demonic Bill as just reminded me of the song, “Which Way Nigeria?” released by the leader of the Ozzidi band, a popular Nigerian Pan-Africanism musician in the early 1970s, the late Chief Sunny Okosun, as I join him to ask ‘which way Akwa Ibom?’
• Franklyn Isong is a public affairs commentator