The largest Annang socio-cultural association in the world, Annang Heritage Preservation, has endorsed Nsima Ekere as the Governor of Akwa Ibom State. In a communique issued at the end of its annual meeting in Ikot Ekpene and signed by the International President, Professor Ezekiel Ette, Ph.D. to its more than 51,000 members, the organization noted that Nsima Ekere is more qualified to serve as the governor of Akwa Ibom State. The organization particularly frowned at the wasted years of Mr. Udom Emmanuel’s politics of “ personal attacks, acrimony, vindictiveness and we-versus-them policy approaches. The organization asked rhetorically: “ Imagine how many jobs would have been created had the Four Points Hotel in Ikot Ekpene was continued. Imagine jobs lost at Le Meridien Resort and Hotel, The Tropicana, Ibom Specialist Hospital and Ibaka Seaport all abandoned to show spite to Godswill Akpabio.” The organization then concluded and called on its members to reject such myopic view of leadership at the polls. The Communique further wondered and asked rhetorically: “if some were treated this bad in Udom’s first term as governor when he was fully aware that he would need their votes for a second term, what will happen in a second term when he becomes a sitting duck and no longer is qualified to run for a third term?”
Annang Heritage Preservation is a not for profit organization that seeks to document and organize the Annang people to take pride in their culture. Chapters are found in all LGA of Akwa Ibom State and major cities in Nigeria and around the world. The full endorsement letter follows.
IT IS TIME TO DECIDE AND ANNANG HERITAGE HAS MADE ITS OWN DECISION
As a not for profit organization registered in the United States and with almost fifty-four thousand members, we take our responsibility of following the law seriously. We have, at various opportunities, announced that we are non-political and have taken the time to ensure that we do not allow political campaign posters and information supporting one political party or candidate. Yet as the election draws closer in Akwa Ibom State, our responsibility as the guardian of the interest of the Annang people requires that we study the candidates and their respective stands on issues that will affect our people in the next four years. We do not take this responsibility lightly and so we refrained from innuendos, rumors and assumptions.
It was on the basis of this that we went on a fact-finding mission and spoke with those on the ground at home in order to make a fair judgement. We were well aware of the importance of making an impartial decision and to ensure that personal prejudices were kept away. Given the facts of history and the judgements of individuals that have set us backwards in the past, we wanted to ensure that we are well aware that our future depends on the decisions we make today and so we reviewed the positions of the two candidates in Akwa Ibom for Governor and tried to speak with the candidates themselves. We dangled what seemed like a carrot to the candidates and made plain to them that our position is the interest of the Annang land and its people.
First we contacted Udom Emmamnuel, the present Governor, who is seeking a second term. Mr. Udom did not return our calls, but referred us to Mr. Inyangeyen, his right hand person. It took two days to get an audience with Mr. Inyangeyen in his private residence. We waited in the hot December sun with a sea of people for two days at the invitation of Mr. Inyangeyen who never seemed to have the concept of time.
The meeting was short with numerous interruptions from the governor’s LGA constituents. Mr Inyangeyen promised to call back and heard very little of what we were about. I wanted to raise issues about projects in Annangland and the obvious marginalization of our people, but had very little opportunity. Mr. Inyangeyen promised to call back but at the time of filing this report, the promised call had not come. I left the resident at Ewet Housing, disappointed not only at the shabby treatment but at the impunity and obvious dismissal of the Annang voter.
When we contacted Obong Nsima Ekere, the APC Governorship Candidate, he was at a meeting out of state. He promised to call back as soon as he was out of the meeting. And truly, he called back in forty minutes. He asked who we were and when we explained what our mission and vision was, he explained that our mission was aligned with his as the future governor of Akwa Ibom State. He told us about his contribution to the development of Akwa Ibom State as a former deputy governor under Governor Godswill Akpabio. “I am really concerned about the state of joblessness in Akwa Ibom State” Obong Nsima Ekere told me. “There are too many youths roaming the state with no job opportunities, most are university graduates. This is unacceptable and our team has a contract with Akwa Ibom” he announced. “We will create an enabling environment that will create 1.6million jobs in our first term if voted into power” Obong Nsima boldly pledged. He told us that governance is for the service of the people and that he fully intends to serve all of Akwa Ibom State.
We came away from the conversation with a few facts and resolve as follows:
1. Obong Nsima Ekere, like former Governor Akpabio is fully prepared to enter into service for all of Akwa Ibom and does so with anger at the waste and stagnation of those who have very little idea of the concept of servant leadership.
2. Projects initiated by one administration should not be abandoned by the other as a way to punish a specific group. Imagine how many jobs would have been created had the Four Points Hotel in Ikot Ekpene was continued. Imagine jobs lost at Le Meridien Resort and Hotel, The Tropicana, Ibom Specialist Hospital and the Ikot Ekpene Four Point Sheraton and Ibaka Seaport all abandoned to show spite to Godswill Akpabio. Such myopic view of leadership should be rejected at the polls.
3. Those who serve do so in the interest of the public good and hold the office in trust with the full knowledge that power belongs to the people. Those who serve are held accountable and continued service depends on performance as seen on improvements in the lives of citizens throughout the state not just one Local Government Area. Udom Emmanuel had his turn but wasted the last few years in personal attacks, acrimony, vindictiveness and we-versus-them politics. Some Local Government areas and citizens automatically became enemies which begs the question, if some were treated this bad in Udom’s first term as governor when he was fully aware that he would need their votes for a second term, what will happen in a second term when he becomes a sitting duck and no longer is qualified to run for a third term?
4. Any society that assigns a political office based on geography is courting disaster as we have witnessed in the last few years. We cannot afford to trade our progress for incompetence. It was crystal clear from the beginning that Udom had no political experience. In fact, he has not worked in the civil service and has no idea about how things work. We have seen the result, where some sections of Akwa Ibom State have become nuisance and nasty inconveniences. This could have simply been dismissed as comedic except that this incompetence affects the lives of real men and women. The PDP formula that assigned an office to Udom must be rejected for the sake of our lives and the future of our children. A second term should not be the right of an individual in the midst of hunger and suffering. Enough is enough.
Given the foregoing, and with the full support of all our people around the world, we call on all in Akwa Ibom to rise up and reject the incompetence of a man who sees great sections of the state as groups to ignore. We remind everyone that throughout history, humans have always thrown away the yoke of suffering when conditions call for such actions. The simple question to ask yourself is what humans have always asked in the past in selecting those they want as their leaders: “Am I better today than I was before Udom came?” For those who are well-connected with the clique, perhaps you are, but for the majority, chances are that you are struggling everyday trying to pay school fees and to put food on the table. There is a great chance that you may be looking for work or knows someone who is. We have seen the billboards and the messages in the airwaves that Udom has blanketed the state with public funds. He has coined such useless words as “Divine Mandate”, in an attempt to fool many that God sent him. This outright lie should be offensive to all good Christians. God does not like ugly and God calls all of us to excellence not incompetence.
This election is about your life. It is about your future and the future of your village, your town, your local government and your state. It is about whether you can find work or get treatment in a hospital if you are sick. It is more than a tooth-pick factory. It is about you! For all of us who take our role seriously, we have for these reasons endorsed Obong Nsima Ekere as the next governor of Akwa Ibom State in 2019. Please pass this to all of your friends and share widely.
Ezekiel Ette, Ph.D.
Annang Heritage Preservation.