By Henry Umoru
Ibom State caucus at the 2014 National Conference has kicked against planned moves to create Oil-Rivers State, saying that it was designed to scuttle the final report of the Conference.
In a protest letter to the Chairman of the Conference, Justice Idris Kutigi, the 13 delegates led by former governor of Akwa Ibom state, Obong Victor Attah, former Minister of Lands and Survey, Chief Nduese Essien, described the recommendation to create the new state from Akwa Ibom and Rivers states as treacherous and harboured a hidden agenda.
According to them the plan is at variance with decisions taken during plenary at the Conference.
Noting that the provision was now contained on Page 4, Line 11 of the “Draft Constitution” produced by the Conference secretariat, they said to dismember some parts of Akwa Ibom state to form an “Oil Rivers state, “was not only treacherous but amounts to a hidden agenda by people whose aim might be to scuttle the final outcome of the Conference.”
The letter read in part: “This action is at variance with the Conference decision of the Committee on Restructuring and Forms of Government. The conference decision as correctly reflected on Page 281 (b) of the draft report was that ‘the third state to be created in the South-South zone will be named later along with its state capital.
“This inclusion is a slight of hand, unholy and completely unacceptable to us as there was no prior discussion with Akwa Ibom state and her delegates on the matter.”
The delegates who noted that they support the emergence of new states where deserving, stressed that the process should be in consultation with all relevant stakeholders, adding, “as the true representatives of our state and people at this conference, we have been mandated to reject totally and disassociate ourselves and our state completely from this provision. We assert that no part of Akwa Ibom State should be excised to form a new state.”
The conference is expected to present its final report to President Goodluck Jonathan tomorrow.