Akanimo Kufre (Uyo)
The 4th largest ethnic tribe in Nigeria, the Ibibios honoured Gov. Udom Emmanuel in a grand reception ceremony at Asan Ibibio, Uyo on Monday at an event which almost coincided with the governor’s birthday on Tuesday 11th July, 2017.
The well attended event was graced by former military administrators, governors and three serving governors of Abia, Imo and Ekiti states.
It was made known at the grand reception that ‘Ibom’ was the Ibibio ancestral father whose first known home was ‘Nubi’ in the Southern Sudan and later Benue valley in the present Benue state of Nigeria. The Ibibio believes that Ibom lived in the valley with his family and later left with his followers during the great dispersal, wandering southwards until they founded Ibom village in Arochukwu district, where they lived for quite some time until the Aro-Igbo invasion of the Ibom country infuriated the Ibibio and compelled them to leave and moved to the present day Ibibioland.
The Ibibio race comprises the Central Ibibio, usually referred to as Ibibio, the Western Ibibio also known as Annang, the Southern Ibibio also known as Eket, the Northern Ibibio or Enyong, the Riverine Ibibio, which is made up of Ibeno and eastern Andoni.
The former military governor of Akwa Ibom state and chairman, central planning committee, Otuekong Idongesit Nkanga could not hold back his excitement on the success of the event. “we are proud people, excited about the success of this event. For us who organized it, this is the first stage. The strategy is that we will get people properly organized, focused and in one direction so that when we want to do something there will be less sweat. Because if people don’t have direction, there will be unnecessary stress. We believe the governor has done very well, it is natural things in this part of the world if your son goes into the field and he comes back then you celebrate him, if he exhibits bravery and valour you give him higher responsibility. That is what has happen! I think the people have spoken well and say he should go back to complete.”
“Why honour Udom now. He has four year tenure and he is just about half way,” he said, adding, “when we did similar one for Godswill Akpabio it was in 2009 which he finished in 2011, this one came in 2015 and we are doing it in 2017. The half way gives us enough time to assess him, if he didn’t do well you would probably have seen us on the street demonstrating against him. But he has done well that is why we are celebrating him so that when we are saying something we are talking from the position of strength. If immediately when he entered office we started celebrating him you wouldn’t know if he will be able to do well so that is the one that is called fanfare, if at the end of his tenure we probably would have been too late. We wouldn’t have had time to tell him he didn’t do well or that for the interest.”
For his developmental stride Otuekong Nkanga scored governor Udom with a distinction. “As a conservative examiner I will deem it fit to score Gov Udom performance as 9 over 10. I will leave that 1 point for the two years left, for him to galvanize and harness the people for positive result.”
Reacting to clamour for Nigeria’s restructuring, the former presidential air lift group, now NAF, commander said, “Ibibio nation stands for a bigger and stronger nation Nigeria. Some countries when mentioned you don’t know where it is because of their very small size. A bigger Nigeria is suitable for us but there must be true federalism, there must be a restructuring so that everybody would be seen as equal citizen. We don’t want a situation where somebody is seen as a second class citizen. Thank God that everybody has a state. At that level of government as far as restructuring is concern states must remain so that people can develop on their own. But wherever Ibibio people will want to remain if there is unlikely reason, maybe there is a break up which we don’t want we will fight against it. We will always negotiate for our people and know where we are going.
“Nobody will take us for granted, we are not going to be an appendix to anybody. We must sit and negotiate whatever is brought to the table and take what rightly belongs to us.”