IBENO ( AKWA IBOM) PEOPLE DENY THE IJAWS

Oil Rivers State: Ibeno Leaders Writes National Conference

OPEN LETTER TO NATIONAL CONFERENCE LEADERSHIP AND MEMBERS.
PROPOSED OIL RIVERS STATE: COUNT IBENO OUT

The attention of the elected political office holders of Ibeno extraction has been drawn to newspaper and online publications on the alleged inclusion of Oil Rivers State as one of the States recommended for creation by the National Conference.

While we do not oppose the creation of an additional State, we vehemently reject any attempt at balkanization of the State with the aim of taking out Ibeno Local Government Area or any other Local Government Area for that matter out of the present geopolitical structure of Akwa Ibom State. This does not mean that we are opposing any people outside Akwa Ibom State from agitating for Oil Rivers State, but we state unequivocally that delineation of such a State MUST NOT INCLUDE any portion, village, community or square metre of Akwa Ibom State. We oppose it and for good reasons.

First, Ibeno Local Government Area in Akwa Ibom State, with the longest coastline in Nigeria is the primary and major reason Akwa Ibom State is the current largest oil producing State in Nigeria.

That accounts for the huge revenue profile of the Federation and of the State from the Federation Account.

Secondly, although most people of Ibeno are not happy that there is no commensurate Federal and State development presence in the Local Government Area to justify its uniqueness and indispensability in the wealth and fortunes of Nigeria and Akwa Ibom State, we believe that is not enough reason to jeopardize, severe, balkanize or in any way the communality, brotherhood, ancestral antecedent and our common heritage in Akwa Ibom State. In Ibeno, a brother does not run away from the house because his other brothers have denied him of his right portion of fish in the bowl of soup.

Thirdly, this whole talk of State agitation can only be a miscalculated and wrong approach to crying out against marginalization.

Fourth, we believe the Federal and State Governments are sensitive to our plight and will not look the other way when there is a cry for development through a uniting, not dividing and arm-twisting approach of State creation.

Fifth, although, we no more have a Commissioner in the State Executive Council today, the Majority Leader of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Okpolupm Etteh, is from Ibeno LGA representing Esit Eket and Ibeno State Constituency. We have a Paramount Ruler who is highly respected in the comity of Royal Fathers, a Local Government Chairman and Vice Chairman, 10 elected Councilors and leaders of thought. We speak on behalf of the people that elected us that we were neither consulted nor our consent sought in this ill-fated project. We would have counseled against it because we have the ears of the grassroot electorates of Ibeno people.

Sixth, it was the Queen of England that declared Ibeno a Protectorate in 1882 when the King of Opobo levied war against Ibeno people in order to annex Ibeno as a part of her territory. The Command Paper is there for the record. Now that we are the elected representatives of Ibeno people, we will not shirk in our responbility to ensure that our communality with Akwa Ibom State is protected and preserved.

Seventh, any agitation for State creation should be a corporate decision of the people of the State.

We, the elected representatives of Ibeno people, therefore, urge the National Conference to expunge Ibeno Local Government Area from the proposed Oil Rivers State. Ibeno will engage in any open process of State Creation when all the people of Akwa Ibom State will agree to determine how the State should be further divided when the need so arises.

Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Long Live Akwa Ibom State
Long Live Ibeno Local Government Area.

SIGNED:

Rt. Hon. Okpolupm Ikpong Etteh
House Leader, Member representing Esit Eket/Ibeno State Constituency, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly

Hon. Esther Michael Nnitor
Vice Chairman, Ibeno Local Government Council

Rt. Hon. Sunday Johnson
Leader, Ibeno Legislative Council (Councillor ward 4)

Rt. Hon. Charity Akpanowong
Deputy Leader, Ibeno Legislative Council (Councillor ward 9)

Hon. Mkpat Enyina
Councillor, ward 1

Hon. Ichulo O. Sunday
Councillor, ward 2

Hon. Kingsley Akwa-udo
Councillor ward 3

Hon. Emmanuel Anthony Mkpat
Councillor ward 5

Rt. Hon. Ikoabasi I. Uko
Councillor ward 6

Rt. Hon. Moses Itam Moses
Councillor ward 7

Hon. Douglas Noah
Councillor ward 8

Rt. Hon. George Udiaobong Ekah
Councillor ward 10

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