The New Year thanksgiving service tagged Ika 2020 by Nigeria Union of Journalists, Akwa Ibom Council turned out to be a homecoming event for some people.
The event held at Qua Iboe Church, Ikot Akpan Anwa in Ika local government area on Sunday was attended by Mr. Moses Ekpo, Akwa Ibom deputy governor; Ini Okopido, the state chairman of All Progressives Congress, APC; Comrade Sunny James, the state chairperson of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC; Obong Patrick Udofia, International President of Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio and Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Projects; Charles Udoh, Commissioner for Information and Strategy and Aniefiok Dennis, a member representing Etinan state constituency in Akwa Ibom House of Assembly, among others.
“For me, this is more like home-coming. My late father taught in the QIC Primary School, Ikot Akpan Anwa,” the state NUJ Chairman, Amos Etuk reminisced.
“I am an in-law in Ika. My sister was married here. We have children, grand children and great-great grand children,” Ekpo, the deputy governor stated.
Excited, he narrated with relish “Before the outbreak of the Nigerian war in 1967, I was working with the defunct Eastern Nigeria Broadcasting Service, Enugu. When the war broke out, I left Enugu and headed home for safety. Eventually, I landed and was accommodated in the QIC Missions House, Ikot Akpan Anwa. That house (he pointed) was like a guest even to the visiting colonial missionaries. The late E. W. Inyang, an indigene of this village, ensured that I was comfortable.
“Later, the Biafran soldiers knew that I was squatting in this village and they came and whisked me to Enugu. They detained me for 30 months until the end of the war before I was released. So, for me, this is my home. This event is like a homecoming to me.
“In those days, there were four notable mission areas that were very important to Qua Iboe Church founded in 1887. There were Ibeno in Ibeno, Adaha Enai in Etinan, Ikot Erong in Etim Ekpo and Ikot Akpan Anwa in Ika local government area,” the deputy governor recalled.
Ekpo, a veteran journalist and public relations guru, advised journalists to publish things that will bring about the development of the state, not those that will destroy the state.
He announced a donation of N3 million to the church and declared “Let peace prevail in Ika. Let this event foster the desired unity among the people of Ika and Akwa Ibom State.”
In his sermon entitled “Unity in the bond of peace,” Rev. Monday U. Enang, a resident pastor in Ika superintendency, emphasised the need for people to do things that could guarantee peace and unity.
Enang asked politicians to avoid bad representation, covetousness of others’ position and property, enjoining them to always protect the interest of the electorates in their scheme of office to enhance peace and unity.