…warn governor against impending bloodshed
BEING A TEXT OF A WORLD PRESS CONFERENCE BY ILIMA OBOLO, FOR AND ON BEHALF OF THE PEOPLE OF EASTERN OBOLO ON THE SIGNING OF THE AKWA IBOM STATE MAP ESTABLISHMENT LAW 2023 BY THE GOVERNOR OF AKWA IBOM STATE MR UDOM GABRIEL EMMANUEL HELD AT OKOROETE TOWN
Gentlemen of the Press
- We are constrained to address you once again on the provocative, offensive illegal, contemptuous and unconstitutional Akwa Ibom State Map Establishment Law 2023 recently passed by the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly and assented to by the Governor of Akwa Ibom State Mr Udom Gabriel Emmanuel.
- You will recall that the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly on the 16th Day of September 2021, had attempted to set in motion the process to redraw the existing map of Akwa Ibom State through a resolution. The motion for the said resolution was sponsored by an Eket man, one Rt. Hon. David Lawrence, member representing Eket State Constituency. Shortly after the passage of the said resolution, the social and print media was littered with copies of a purported new Akwa Ibom State map which graphically showed the balkanization of several Eastern Obolo communities such as; Atabrikang, Edonwik, Okorombokho, Elekpong, Ikonta, Obianga, Amauka, Okorobilom, Ozubor, Isiotoyo, Amanglass, Bethlehem, Iwofe and even parts of Okoroete being ceded to Mkpat Enin, Ikot Abasi and Onna, the Local Government Area of origin of the outgoing Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr Udom Gabriel Emmanuel.
- Arising from the above, the people of Eastern Obolo approached the Akwa Ibom State High Court of Justice, filed suit number HU/341/2021 and obtained judgement, whereof the presiding Judge, Hon. Justice Edem E. Akpan, granted all the reliefs and most importantly restrained the Akwa Ibom State Government from continuing with the process of mapping or remapping.
- It is instructive to note that the Akwa Ibom State Government has neither appealed the judgement nor complied with the positive restraining orders of the court. Surprisingly, having failed in the first attempt, the same Eket man, Rt. Hon. David Lawrence who represents the forces behind the remapping agenda, through a bill, reintroduced the vexatious issue of remapping in the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly and within three days, the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly hurriedly passed the said bill into law.
- As you already know, the passage of this obnoxious and controversial law generated serious tension in the state with mass protests across the affected Local Government Areas of Eastern Obolo, Ibeno and Mbo. The Obolo people in Akwa Ibom State, at separate meetings with the Governor of Akwa Ibom State had unequivocally rejected this law and had approached the Federal High Court of Justice, Uyo in suit number FHC/U/CS/49/2023 seeking amongst other reliefs the setting aside and nullification of the said law. All parties in the said suit, had been duly served with the originating processes. As it stands today, all parties including the Governor of Akwa Ibom State Mr. Udom Gabriel Emmanuel are fully aware of the pendency of the said suit.
- Ladies and Gentlemen, in a clear show of might, display of impunity, executive recklessness, authoritarianism, abuse of power, disobedience of the judgment of court of competent jurisdiction, total disregard to the judicial process and rule of law, the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr Udom Gabriel Emmanuel clandestinely assented the said bill with the accompanying new map into law on the 20th day of April, 2023.
- As speculated, the features of this map clearly confirm the fears and apprehension of the people of Eastern Obolo and Obolo people in general. By this new map, the boundaries of Eastern Obolo Local Government Area has been satanically adjusted and skewed in favour of Onna, Mkpat Enin and Ikot Abasi Local Government Areas. By this vain imagination of the authors and architects of this new map, Onna, Mkpat Enin and Ikot Abasi Local Government Areas will now become littoral Local Government Areas with unfettered access to the Atlantic Ocean and positioned to benefit from the 3% host community development fund from the oil companies operating off-shores which presently is within the exclusive littoral territorial precincts of Eastern Obolo, Ibeno and Mbo Local Government Areas and will remain so for eternity.
- We want to make it abundantly clear that the action of the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr Udom Gabriel Emmanuel by assenting to the said law, is not only an afront to rule of law but manifestly self-serving, insensitive, mischievous, divisive, and an open invitation to self-help, lawlessness, anarchy, breach of peace and possible break down of law and order.
- We call on Obolo people to be on the alert across all the boundaries and to use every legitimate means to defend the Obolo territory from the land grabbing imperialists and expansionist elements.We urge the Governor, Mr Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, to reconsider his decision and rescind his unpopular action so as to avert the looming crisis as the governor cannot afford to leave a legacy of crisis and bloodshed as part of his completion and succession agenda.
- We further call on the elders and religious leaders in Akwa Ibom State, the Federal Government of Nigeria and the international community to urgently intervene in the interest of peaceful and harmonious coexistence of all ethnic nationalities in Akwa Ibom State.
- Consequently, we hereby urge Exxon Mobil Producing Nigeria Unlimited, Amni International Petroleum Development Company Limited, Conoil Producing Limited, Sterling group of companies, Total E&P Nigeria Limited and other international oil companies (IOCs) operating within the territorial boundaries of Eastern Obolo Local Governent Area to maintain the status quo ante bellum and not to be misled by the so called new map
Enough of this maginalisation, opression and injustice.
Long live Akwa Ibom State
Long live Obolo land.
OBOLO ITIKI IYA