As militancy continues to claim lives and property in Etim Ekpo and Ukanafun local government areas of Akwa Ibom State, two aides to Governor Udom Emmanuel have written off the insecurity as a no-issue that should deserve any government attention, investigation by Straightnews has shown.
For more than three years past, Ukanafun and Etim Ekpo communities in Akwa Ibom State have been ravaged by cult war now militancy, resulting in the loss of more than 1,000 lives and property worth millions of naira.
At worst, public schools have been closed, Ukanafun Local Government Secretariat under lock and key, health centres, markets and churches shut, socio-economic life paralysed while many residents in the area are internally displaced persons in other towns and villages; others have been abducted for ransom and some women and girls have been kidnapped and abused by the militants.
The aides- Essien Ndueso and Aniefiok Macauley- special assistants to Governor Emmanuel on media in their different Facebook posts showed insensitivity to the plights of the people but were drumming support for the governor’s re-election bid by projecting his achievements profile.
Moffat Ekoriko, the Publisher of NewsAfrica in London who brought the issue to the front burner in his Facebook post on Friday under the headline POVERTY OF EXPECTATIONS stated ‘’I come from Akwa Ibom State in Nigeria. Elections are due in a few months’s time and would be contested by two distinguished professionals. The state is very rich, with annual government revenues of $1billion a year, more than that of many African countries.
Ekoriko, internationally acclaimed and an award-winning journalist from Ukanafun, one of the flashpoints, noted ‘’Paradoxically, it has myriads of problems, from being the state with the highest ratio of unemployment in Nigeria to an underperforming education sector. Two local government areas in the state (including Ukanafun, my home LGA) have been overrun by cultists. As i write, I cannot visit my village.
‘’You would expect that the discussion among the elite would focus on strategies for ending the irony of a rich state with an intolerably poor population. In other words, you would expect a conversation on how to translate the wealth of the state into prosperity for its people.
‘’Rather, the discourse is on who between the two candidates is anointed by God to lead. You would be forgiven if you think the candidates are running for the office of Bishop of Akwa Ibom State, not that of governor. Even the candidates for the legislature have coined exotic divine themes that would make the unsuspecting think they are pitching to be deacons in a church. No one is putting forward his programmes for a better life for the people.
‘’I am asking myself: how did we get here? Who did this to us? How can we have good leaders if we are pitching for candidates on the basis of their anointing and not competence? Sad.’’
Rather than Essien Ndueso, a special assistant to the Governor addressing the subject matter foraged to attacking Ekoriko thus ‘’Moffat Ekoriko, sir, there is no need twisting fact just for political gains. This is the first time a governor has come out clean to proscribe cult groups in our state. Recall that during the former administration, It was a very serious problem and the Governor then, came out to say that there are cultists everywhere even in his cabinet. He failed to do anything about it.
Ndueso, who had had an altercation with Cletus Ukpong, the Premium Times correspondent said, ‘’Today Governor Udom Emmanuel says his government has zero tolerance for cultism, nay insecurity. The worst terror kingpins who previously were political allies to politicians in the past, including the notorious Iso Akpafid who is from your own village, have been decimated, and the cleaning up is ongoing.
‘’Don’t forget that in the former government, two harmless statesmen, Sir Okon Uwah a former deputy governor of the state and Chief Albert Ukpanah, from your community, were murdered in cold blood right there in Ukanafun. I dare say you kept quiet and rather conferred on that administration the best government in Africa award, at a global media event in Dorchester, London.
Ndueso, who was a Personal Assistant to immedicate past state Governor Godswill Akpabio hit back on his former boss who defected from Peoples Democratic Party to All Progressives Party thus ‘’Can you tell me any of the political opponents of Governor Udom Emmanuel that has been attacked or maimed by his supporters? What happened to Sony Udom the campaign manager of Umana Umana in 2015? What about Udoedehe and his mum in 2011, narrow escape. He was again escaped death narrowly at Ikot Ekpene, for campaigning. Iniekung Etuknwa a governorship aspirant and his mother were attacked in 2011, while he was lucky to escape, the Mother was not so lucky. She was brutally murdered. Was Sam Ewang not also attacked? His wife was abducted and brutalized for several months, forcing Ewang to retire from the race in 2011. Moffat, you were a privy to this and never said a word.
‘’During the build up to the campaigns in 2015, you were present in ikot Akpan Nkuk, your local government headquarters when Your Representative, Emmanuel Ukoete said openly that he will destroy anyone that dares to challenge his re-election into the House of Reps. You kept mute.
‘’Today you come out to subtly condemn the Divine Mandate Campaign slug, knowing that it is the campaign vehicle of Governor Emmanuel. It sounds hypocritical to me. If your support goes to Nsima Ekere who is promising Akwa Ibom people nothing more than One Term or One Chance, then market him openly.
‘’And then what informs your false statement that our state gets N30bn a month? From 2015 till when the state was getting only 3-5bn a month, till date when it ranges averages 6- 8bn monthly,’’ he queried.
In the same vein, Aniefiok Macauley, a special assistant to the governor on media reacted ‘’ I wouldn’t have expected less than this from Moffat when he failed to secure media contract that would have gulped over 60 million from the state govt.
Macauley, who was a state correspondent to Daily Independent had a running battle with ex-Governor Akpabio, wrote ‘’ Has he told the public how many times he has come to beg CPS to get HE’s approval for him to do supplements in a magazine that is published only when he has supplements. When over 100 people were either killed or kidnapped in the build-up to 2011 governorship election involving Akpabio, there is no record anywhere that indicates that Moffat wrote to condemn the onslaught against the indigenes of the state most of whom were from Ibibio ethnic extraction.
‘’Instead he rather elected to give award to the then governor where several millions of Akwa Ibom money was spent in ferrying people to UK for a jamboree that added nothing to the failing and dilapidating educational, medical, social and security infrastructure at the time let alone created a single employment opportunity.’’