Akwa Esop Imaisong: Ibibio Elders warn Governor Emmanuel against imposition
The alleged move by Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, to foist his own choice of leadership on Akwa Esop Imaisong, the apex socio-cultural organization in Ibibio land, has received disapproval from prominent Ibibio elders.
The concern of Ibibio stakeholders arises following reports touting Obong Bassey Inuaeyen as a candidate favoured by the governor to replace Obong Dr. Essien Ekidem as the Ntisong Ibibio.
Speaking with newsmen in Uyo over weekend, Mkpisong Dr. Cyril Ekiko, the speaker (Akwaiko lII) of Akwa Esop Imaisong Ibibio, doubted if Governor Udom Emmanuel has actually involved in the choice of Inuaeyen as the next Ntisong Ibibio, maintaining that the making of Ntisong Ibibio is not within the competence of a state governor.
Mkpisong Ekiko said if the Governor had really nurtured interest in the installation of a new Ntisong, he would have informed the leadership of Akwa Esop Imaisong during one of the meetings with him as such would have offered opportunity to intimate him on some conditions surrounding Ntisongism.
On how he first heard about the ambition of Obong Bassey Inuaeyen, the spokesperson of the Ibibio group said it was mentioned to him by late Otuekong Idongesit Nkanga, the then chairman of Committee for A Way Forward of Akwa Esop Imaisong, who said Governor Udom Emmanuel was in support of Inuaeyen’s ambition and that there was nothing the group could do about it.
Mkpisong Dr. Cyril Ekiko further disclosed that Nkanga had claimed that the governor wants the next Ntisong to emerge from Ikono-Ini axis in order to give them a sense of belonging to Ibibio nation.
But according to Ekiko, Obong Inuaeyen is not qualified to be Mkpisong in the first place, explaining that Ntisong is usually selected from the class of those that belong to Mkpisong council.
The Akwaiko also pointed out that Obong Bassey Inuaeyen has not held any critical position in the socio-cultural group before, noting that his poor record of attendance to meetings shows he is not a committed member.
He further accused Inuaeyen of embezzling about N55 million including cash donated to Ibibio nation by the then governor Obong Victor Attah for the construction of Asan Ibibio hall.
Speaking with our correspondent, a source who did not want his name in prints also corroborated the claim of embezzlement, saying that N30 million was first donated by Obong Attah followed by N25 million but Obong Bassey Inuaeyen pocketed the entire donations.
The source said since Inuaeyen is the chancellor of politically-oriented front called Ibom Patriot, he therefore is unfit to lead Akwa Esop Imaisong Ibibio, a socio-cultural group devoid of political sentiment.
He further claimed that the preference of Obong Inuaeyen by Governor Udom Emmanuel would create a possibility of rallying Ibibio in support of his 2023 succession plan.
Also speaking, Obong Dr. Okokon Etuk a.k.a. EMCO, former acting chairman of Uyo local government council and member representing Uyo Urban in the old Cross River House of Assembly, condemned Governor Udom Emmanuel’s purported involvement in the selection process of Ntisong Ibibio, saying it would tantamount to what he described as the pollution of the Ibibio socio-cultural institution, seeking divine retribution on those attempting to destroy customs and traditions of the group.
Meanwhile in a statement issued by the Mkpisong Council of Akwa Esop Imaisong Ibibio following an emergency session on Wednesday 30th December, 2020 which was signed by Akwaiko, Mkpisong Dr. Cyril Ekiko, the group said Ntisong III, Dr. Essien Ekidem, is still enjoying confidence reposed in him by the organization.