By Nelson Utip
It is a known fact that Akwa Ibom State is the highest crude oil producer today and by extension the largest contributor to the petrodollar that sustains Nigeria. This is made possible by the relative peace the state enjoys when viewed against other parts of the country who are great beneficiaries of the resources.
Recently, the All Progressives Congress, APC, in its usual confusion, desperation, and panic had set up a committee headed by Gov. Nasir El Rufai to look at the restructuring of the Nigerian polity and make suggestions thereafter. The committee’s report which was recently made public had recommended amongst other absurdities a revisit of the long-settled onshore/offshore oil dichotomy.
This is preposterous, provocative and uncanny, and tantamount flogging, in the forlorn hope of waking a ‘dead horse’. This is condemnable and amounts to fanning the embers of an inferno when we are presently faced with security challenges nationwide; the menace of the deadly killer herdsmen terrorizing the nation and uncontrollable Boko Haram terrorists. Is the party not saturated with the various crises ravaging the country since its assumption of office?
This issue remains sensitive and touchy for the people of Akwa Ibom State who had paid dearly in the past before the abrogation of that obnoxious discriminating and oppressive policy.
The attempt by the APC to re-introduce through the back door this settled issue is reckoned as an attempt to once again strangulate our people and subject us to serfdom. This is unacceptable to our people as nobody would lead us back to Egypt. We have since been liberated and in line with the Dakkada Renaissance the brainchild of our amiable Gov. (Dec.) Udom Emmanuel, we say no to this attempt.
In a recent Press Conference held in Uyo by Akwa Ibom Leaders’ Vanguard the APC’s move to re-introduce the settled onshore/offshore dichotomy was condemned in very strong and clear terms. The Leaders’ Vanguard lampooned the summation of the APC committee and wondered what warranted such a recommendation. Its leader, Sen. Anietie Okon, had declared and restated the position of the Akwa Ibom people who are not ready to accept and entertain any discourse on a matter that had long been settled. He warned that any attempt to do otherwise could result in dire consequences for Nigeria.
The group is startled by the complicity of APC chieftains from the South-South Zone. The party Chairman- John Oyegun had been a governor and even signatory to several memos by the peoples of the region on this same issue but maintains an uncanny silence against the people’s interest; this also goes for those from Akwa Ibom who are yet to take a position on this matter.
The fact that there is peace in Akwa Ibom State today must not be construed to mean a lack of will and ability to stand our grounds. Sen. Okon restated that the people are the owners of the land and if need be, would defend their God-given resources.
Akwa Ibom Leaders Vanguard is in unison with Akwa Esop Ima Isong Ibibio, Nto Efe Annang, Ekid Nation, Oron Nation, Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio, Esop Nlap Oro and other socio-cultural and political groups in the state on this issue. I hereby call on our lawmakers both State and Federal to unanimously speak up to condemn this evil agenda as their silence might be seen as acceptance of this absurdity.
El Rufai and his co-travelers, President Buhari and others involved in this scheme are hereby advised to bury the idea for good and for the peaceful co-existence of Nigeria.
One thing is absolutely sure; Akwa Ibom State will not accept this jaundiced joke taken too far. We will remain peaceful and law abiding, but we will reject anything that will take us back to those dark ages. All well-meaning indigenes of Niger Delta and Akwa Ibom State, in particular, should make sure that this evil embryo is aborted before it is delivered by the schemers who are jealous of the paltry 13% derivation enjoyed by the zone from the Federation Account.
- Utip, a lawyer, is resident in Uyo