I will start by reacting to the recent impeachment turned to resignation of the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker (who was lucky to be spared) of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Ignatius Edet and Okon Uwah respectively. Their sins, according to the courageous 22 lawmakers, include corruption, fraud, gross misconduct and abuse of office. I would like to know if the actions of the lawmakers would stop at accepting the situation which was created by the intervention of the executive governor or that they would live up to their billing by going ahead to probe and sanction the fraudulent, corrupt actions that they enumerated committed by the former Speaker, Ignatius Edet. If they failed to probe them, then they also stand condemned for condoning things inimical to the masses they represent; it will also show that they (individually) might even be worse than Edet, if given the chance for a shot at the position of Speaker.
In my article in the Daily Sun of Wednesday July 2, 2008, page 9, titled, “Stop Persecuting the 19bokwes”, I stated vividly my fear that the House would find it difficult restricting focus to essential matters of the State, when they inaugurated a mundane Ad-Hoc Committee to verify the issue of a printing machine supplied, installed and in use by state newspaper (Pioneer) for nearly eight years before the existence of the current House of Assembly. Of course, the final outcome of the issue which the state government media and apparatuses were deployed as if it was the only project the government had then on hand, is no more news. The state government was disgraced in the final analysis because it based its action on unfounded and unwarranted vindictive ground. On the streets and market places in Akwa Ibom then were raining curses on the executive and legislative arm of the government for daring to tarnish the integrity and image of our beloved daughter, Christy Essien Igbokwe, MFR, through whom God blessed our Akwa Ibom State with the present tag of ‘oil-producing-state’. It is the tag that has brought about the stupendous wealth now accruing to us and which many people believe is being mismanaged. My assumption on this matter has been proved right with the present happenings in the House of Assembly but I still fear.
My fear was further heightened, and it confused me and other Akwa-Ibomites, when I read two years ago in The Punch newspaper of Thursday August 7, 2008, page 32, that this same House denied an impeachment notice believed to have been earlier served to this same Speaker on the ground of misappropriation of N570 Million (meant for the House) and other ridiculous and ignoble things they listed, but, unfortunately he was still retained. It was reported that the Governor came to his aid by doling out the same amount to the House in order to save then Speaker.
Sadly enough, we are in a nation where the separation of powers between the three arms of government is quietly going extinct. The executive arm of government is in full control of the legislature and judiciary. Reading This Day of Tuesday, May 25, 2010, page 8 and Daily Champion of the same day, page 6, it was reponed that the Akwa-Ibom State’s Governor, Godswill Akpabio, enticed the members of the State’s House of Assembly with financial offer and car gift to reinstate the impeached Speaker. It was also reported that he released their project funds which had piled up since 2008 as a result of bad leadership, all in his quest to return a man who has, since he mounted that sacred position dragged the name of the House and the entire state in the mud. Yes, it could be that they were offered cash and car gift that made them deny the impeachment notice that was earlier served the Speaker, in 2008, as I mentioned in third paragraph. There is more to this than meets an ordinary eye, for a governor to go this far to return a man who had been condemned by all and sundry.
My dear Akwa Ibom people, it is high time we opened our eyes to lies and deceitful nature of government in our state. For how much longer are we going to be brainwashed with empty promises, and non-existing projects by this present administration in Akwa Ibom state. The government had even in a sponsored article first published in the Compass newspaper of Thursday 22″d April, 2010, page 47, written by one Muhammed said to the National Coordinator of Freedom and Democracy in Nigeria claimed to have constructed the Shelter Afrique Estate at Mbiabong (by Attah’s administration), the Ebiye Havens along Udo Udoma Avenue Uyo (by Group Captain Ebiye’s administration), the Akwa Ibom Legislative quarters, the Federal Low Cost Housing (by federal government), the 50 3-bedroom Bungalow in each of the 31 local government areas (by Attah’s administration), etc. I would not have bothered if the article was published in only one newspaper but it found space at later dates in other newspapers Leadership, Nigerian Tribune and The Nation. Many thanks to Akwa-Ibom Citizens Rights Group, for the sponsorship of an advert carried in all the national dailies published between the periods 3rd to 12tl1 May 2010, on Ibom Tropicana project. When Governor Akpabio’s gimmick advert was first carried in Saturday Vanguard of September, 19,2009, I had the premonition that it would join the long list of Akpabio’s media acclaimed but nonexisting projects. Honestly, I have no sentiment attached to this article, I do not know Akpabio in person neither do I have anything personally against him, but we must not allow evil to prevail over good. All the political shenanigans among our politicians in Akwa Ibom must stop at once.
As the new Speaker and the reinstated deputy have mounted the troubled seat, I would give my humble advise that they should showcase an outstanding character with moral and religious scruples, so that they would not be tossed about by the cabal that has held the state to ransom from the beginning of this present administration, to unleash inexplicable trauma to innocent dignitaries of the State. They should understand the sacredness of the seat they occupy and should carry out their duties without any fear or favour. In that way, the peace and tranquility AkwaIbom state is noted for would gradually be restored, and posterity would forever be grateful to us all.
Obong Sunday Udoh, wrote from Lagos
Obong Sunday Udoh