An air of uneasiness hangs over the Nung Mkpe group of families in Obio Offot village, Uyo Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State, following a battle for who emerges as Chairman of the Nung Mkpe Unit Council.
Of the six groups of families in Nung Mkpe Unit, two – Nung Uboh and Nung Usoh – are slugging it out for the position. The position whose occupant stays in office for three years has always been occupied on rotational basis.
Nung Uboh group of family has Elder Raphael Uwah as its candidate while Nung Usoh has Etimbuk Akpan. Etimbuk Akpan is currently holding forte as Acting Chairman of the Unit. Nung Usoh is insisting that the zoning policy be respected.
Nung Uboh’s claim that it is not the turn of Nung Usoh to produce a Unit Chairman is hotly disputed.
Mr. Jude from Nung Usoh said: “If they (Nung Uboh) are claiming Mr. Patrick Akpan and Elder Raphael Uwah hasn’t occupied the said position, let them come out and swear, then we will advice our son, Etimbuk, to step down for their candidate. They are used to deceit. All we want is election. Anything other than that cannot guarantee peace.”
All went well till June 12, 2021, when an election was held for the office. The election, however, ended in a fiasco, this reporter can authoritatively report.
The Nung Uboh candidate, Uwah, polled 121 votes. While the Nung Usoh’s candidate, Akpan’s votes were being counted, trouble erupted as his votes topped the 121 scored by his opponent. His votes were not fully counted as voters fled for safety due to violent moves by some suspected hoodlums.
It was gathered that the Head of Obio Offot village, Chief Cyril Umanah, rebuffed attempts to force him to announce a candidate as winner of the inconclusive election.
Consequent upon the inconclusive election, the electoral committee fixed June 19, 2021, as date for fresh election.
Delegates from Nung Uboh family boycotted the exercise citing the Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB) examinations and ordination service of the Lutheran Church in Ibesikpo Asutan held same day as reason. They elucidated their reasons in a letter addressed to the village council.
The Nung Usoh family is however disputing excuses made by Nung Uboh, saying no eligible delegate for the election participated in JAMB examination neither was any ordained by Lutheran Church.
So far, date for a fresh election is yet to be held.
It is now gleaned that pressure has been mounted on the village head to proclaim a winner in the event of no election taking place.
The lingering issue has elicited animosity in the once peaceful community.
When contacted on phone by our reporter, the Obio Offot village head admitted that the June 12 election was inconclusive. He also confirmed that Nung Uboh made their reasons for boycotting the election known to the village council.
Chief Umanah, however, told this reporter that a new date for the election shall be announced and called for calm in the community.
When also contacted, Hon. Perry Ntuk, a veteran politician and influential member of the community said no one is afraid of participating in the said election.
He added that the community will always use a “good knowledge of history” on the Unit Chairmanship position in handling the issue.
(C) Ofonime Honesty