The Akwa Ibom Liberation Movement has written an open letter to President Muhammadu Buhari on the 2019 campaigns, with emphasis on the flag-off of the president’s second term campaign. campaign
The letter reads thus: “Your Excellency, the people of Akwa Ibom State have received with mixed feelings the report that the leadership of your party, the APC in Akwa Ibom State has fixed Friday, 28th December 2019, for the flag-off of your second term campaign in the State.
Ordinarily, we would not have an issue with your visit to our dear State, but a great event which will unify majority of the people of Akwa Ibom State had been fixed for that day. You are aware of the esteemed respect traditional institutions command within the distinct cultural diversities in the country, particularly the echelon of such institutions.
The echelon of the traditional institution in Ibibio, the majority ethnic group in Akwa Ibom State, is referred to and addressed as Supreme Council of Ibibio Traditional Rulers (Ifim Ibom Ibibio). It is this institution that has the coronation of her President General (Oku Ibom) on Friday, 28th Dec.
This letter is informed by the glaringly spiteful decision of the leadership of APC to ridicule that very important traditional event by fixing the date of your campaign to coincide with it. The coronation of Oku Ibom Ibibio and reunification of the vast kingdoms of Ibibio under one leadership after more than a decade of wrangling, distrust, and interference particularly under Godswill Akpabio’s regime, is of utmost importance to every well meaning son and daughter of Ibibio nationality.
The date of this event was fixed about two months ago and same was communicated to all the ‘who is who’ as well as organisations in Akwa Ibom state, without bias to political parties and affiliations. In fact, by privilege of having our members as part of the planning of the Ifim Ibom Ibibio event, we are aware that invitation letters were sent to leadership of all other ethnic nationalities in the State, socio – cultural groups, the clergy, security agencies, political stakeholders and your party.
Thus, we can state that the leadership of the APC was aware of this date, yet decided to fix your presidential campaign to coincide with it.
We are surprised, but somewhat not very surprised that suddenly the APC has fixed your campaign on that day in absolute disregard to the piety deserving of such day in the life of the people of the great Ibibio ethnic nationality and Akwa Ibom State.
A question may suffice here, Your Excellency. Is the APC fighting the Ibibios? Is the party fighting the highest Ibibio traditional stool or its occupant? It seems clearly so.
Your Excellency, may we bring to your attention that the attitude and action of your party men towards the event have evoked a broad feeling of resentment and a consensus that the APC presidential campaign flag-off is another lavish streak to dishonour the Ibibio collective patrimony.
We are somewhat not very surprised by this recurrence. In our stream of consciousness, we have seen this type of contraption play out many times when Chief Godswill Akpabio was governor.
Your Excellency, perhaps it would be important that we fill you in on why this broad concern is raised. The last occupant of the Ifim Ibom Ibibio, Edidem Robert Obot, the Oku Ibom Ibibio lll and Paramount Ruler of Nsit Ubium Local Government Area, was gruesomely murdered in his palace by ‘unknown’ gunmen eight years ago.
That was in 2010 under the watch of your newly adopted son and former governor of our State, Chief Godswill Akpabio. From when the monarch was murdered till the end of that administration, Akpabio’s government did almost nothing to fish out the perpetrators of that heinous crime. Instead, he preyed on the unfortunate incident; using his office as governor, Akpabio incited the royal fathers against each other.
There is no denying the fact that he funded the fractionalization of Ibibio traditional institution which fuelled rivalry among the paramount rulers. He did this to avoid being called to account for his stewardship by this revered institution. Eight years after all, the Ibibios will be having yet another glory day on December 28, about 11 years after Akpabio reportedly said he will reduce the Ibibios – the fourth largest ethnic nationality in Nigeria- to an ineffective majority.
We doubt if His Excellency, our dear President would want to join the killjoys within the APC in Akwa Ibom State to tow this infamous path. As an elder statesman and a traditional title holder with vast knowledge of African traditions, it is held in all cultures that the coronation of a monarch attracts blessings to the land, engenders peace, and affords opportunity for reconciliation, and reunification of aggrieved sections.
The strong community bond such event creates is what the APC seeks to destroy. A presidential campaign would not be scheduled on the same day with the enthronement of the Emir or an Oba, if it were in Kano or Ogun State. The Ibibio people love the President and respect his office.
However, it will leave a strong, unconquerable feeling of dismission and disrespect towards the office of the President, should the President continue with the planned campaign in Akwa Ibom on Friday, the 28th.
Mr. President, may we restate that we see a parochial intention tinted to disrespect the Ibibios by Akpabio who insisted on your visit to Akwa Ibom on the 28th. If the pieces of information bandied are anything to go by, it appears Akpabio bribed your campaign council to get your campaign flag-off fixed for the 28th in Akwa Ibom State with the sole aim of taking attention off the Ibibio grand coronation. Akpabio must have bribed almost everyone through the ranks of your campaign structure with the loots he took away from Akwa Ibom State.
Why is Akpabio in a hurry to host Mr. President? The same Akpabio in 2015 did everything including the dramatic shutdown of the Ibom International Airport to stop you from landing in Akwa Ibom State for your campaign. Beyond that, he and his wife said you were “lifeless and clueless”. Everyone right-thinking Akwa Ibomite is watching what this treacherous power bargain with Akpabio will leave of the President’s reputation which is slimming down.
Consequently, we strongly appeal to your conscience to respect our traditional institution and reschedule the launch of your campaign in Akwa Ibom State to another date, if it pleases you to respect public opinion on this.
Prince Emmanuel Sam,