According to my father of blessed memory, before 1960 when our British colonial masters granted us independence, the people of Calabar Province which is now Akwa Ibom, had existed as brother’s keepers, in love, kindness, peace, caring, humble and always protect one another, irrespective of gender and tribe. But, these cannot be said of today.
Overtime, I have come to discover that a typical Akwa Ibom person is possessed with the seven (7) strange spirits, namely; the Spirit of Pull-him-Down, Spirit of Hate, Spirit of Blackmail, Spirit of Gossip, Spirit of Destruction, Spirit of Egocentric and Spirit of Cruelty.
I elected to write this piece in order to attempt to stop the growing incidences of self-destruction being embarked upon by us. I was born into this state to hear that the people of the state once tasked themselves and contributed their hard earned resources to sponsor their sons to study abroad without any tribal or religious sentiments.
It shocked me to my bone marrow that each time an Akwa Ibom person is appointed into a high position of authority in Abuja, his kinsmen at home would start to throw all manner of diatribes at him/her. This act did not start today. It had always been that way, after the creation of Akwa Ibom state from Cross River state.
For instance, in 2009/2011, it was Senator John James Akpanudoedehe. He was appointed the minister of state for Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, by late President Musa Yar’ adua, and was celebrated across the country while, back home, his Offot Ukwa clan and people of his Uyo LGA led a delegation to former Governor Godswill Akpabio to disown him.
Senator Udoma Udo Udoma was appointed as minister of Budget and National Planning by President Muhammadu Buhari and was widely celebrated across the country, but we in Akwa Ibom rose up against his appointment, because of political party affiliation.
Then entered Senator Ita Enang’s appointment as the Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly (Senate) Matters. Placards and media propaganda were everywhere in the state demanding his sack over an alleged missing 2016 national budget from the national assembly. Even our supposed elder statesmen joined in the attack.
When the managing director of NDDC and commissioner representing the state, Obong Nsima Ekere and Mr Sam Frank were appointed by President Buhari, his kinsmen in the state, under Oron Union filed a suit in Abuja High Court, asking the court to nullify their appointments.
Few months ago, the member representing Etinan Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Elder Sam Ikon, was innocently accused of sexually harassing some ladies in America. He was not alone in the allegation. They were four federal lawmakers. But only Akwa Ibom people came out publicly to call for the head of their son (Sam Ikon). They even petitioned The Apostolic Church (his church), calling for his suspension and withdrawal of his ecclesiastical title of Elder. They said all manner of things in the media including that his beloved wife, had divorced him on account of the unsubstantiated allegations. But when Ikon and others were cleared of the allegation, nobody in the state up till now, has raised a single public statement to congratulation or apologise to him.
I don’t want to recount the sad incident of the Big Brother Naija 2017 Housemates Show and what Akwa Ibom born Ekemini Ekerete (Kemen) is passing through in the hands of Akwa Ibom people. Whereas, people of other states and across Africa saw what happened between Kemen and TBoss as not strong enough reason to disqualify Kemen from the show, we in Akwa Ibom have already crucified him. Oh! Akwa Ibom!
Now, we have shifted our seven evil spirits to Engr. Ita Awak, because of his appointment by Mr President as the Director in the Directorate of Air Worthiness Standards (DAWS), of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA). Before his appointment was made public, I started reading about his not being qualified to head the office from some online blogs operated by Akwa Ibomites three weeks ago. Why must it always be from Akwa Ibom people?
So, when on Tuesday, March 7, 2017, I started reading from some online reports of an arrangee strike action which a handful of sellout members of the aviation industry workers under the guise of Air Transport Senior Staff Services Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), National Association of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and National Association of Airline Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) purportedly embarked upon, I was not surprised, because I saw it coming.
Talking about qualification, 1983, Engr. Ita Awak enrolled into Nigeria College of Aviation Technology, (NCAT) Zaria and graduated as a licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineer in 1987.
What really baffled me was that, while the failed strike action was ongoing, two Akwa Ibom supposed elder statesmen were on live radio interview session in a private station in Uyo wherewith, they ridiculed all the federal appointments so far made from the state by President Buhari.What a co-incidence!
Now I agree with whoever propounded the statement that “Akwa Ibom state is an atomistic society perpetually at war against itself.”
Beginning from today, I have decided to declare 7 days fasting and prayers against these 7 evil spirits that have possessed every Akwa Ibom person.
Let my God arise and let these evil spirits catch Holy Ghost fire, fall down and die in Jesus Mighty Name, Amen!
• Franklyn Isong is a public affairs commentator