My dear youths of Akwa Ibom State, I write you today as your father, who contributed immeasurably to the creation of our dear State and who means well for your future. We are at a threshold in the history of our dear State, a time where we must determine whether to continue with the hypocrisy, the immorality and the deceit of the last eight years, or to make a clean break that would lead to true empowerment of our people.
I feel that we cannot truly talk about tomorrow without talking about the youth. We worked to get the military government of General Ibrahim Babangida to graciously create this State on 23rd September, 1987. We did this not for us the passing generation but for you the future generation. We look up to the youths to soon take up the mantle of leadership and take our State to the glorious tomorrow and make it the envy of other States in Nigeria.
Today, Akwa Ibom State has come of age. With our abundant God-given resources as expressed in the constitutional 13 per cent derivation principle, you do not only have the right to demand massive development of social infrastructure, including effective housing, qualitative education, but most especially there is no justification for an Akwa Ibom State indigene to be poor. No! These and more are some of the issues I want to take up with you in this short epistle.
It was reported that Governor Godswill Akpabio during an inter-denominational church service at Ibom Hall ground on 21st September, 2014, to mark the 27th anniversary of the creation of our State, asked you to rise up against your elders. It is disturbing enough that a person in the gubernatorial position who should be speaking words worthy of emulation would utter such, shockingly he chose the sanctity of a religious service and God’s altar to utter this.
I want to start by telling you to discountenance the governor’s advice. Governor Akpabio wants to destroy your future. No generation that rebels against its elders survives to tell the story. It is a law. It is a principle of nature. What Governor Akpabio has asked you to do is against God’s word and against our values as a people.
In Exodus 20 verse 12, God specifically said: “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee” (KJV). This is a law. Saint Paul writing on this law thousands of years later in Ephesians 6 verses 2 – 3, said this: “Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise;), that it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth”.
The Bible has made it clear that respect for elders comes with blessings of longevity while disrespect for elders comes with a curse. Drop the evil counsel by Governor Akpabio, so you will be blessed and so that it will be well with you in this land. You must therefore listen to the wisdom of the elders, both your parents and the political elders of the State, so that you will eat the good of the land now and in the future.
We are a people of culture and values. We are noted for our respect for elders. You must respect your elders, so you can be an elder and enjoy the status of an elder and be honoured by the younger ones. The future belongs to you but you will not take hold of the future by rebelling against your elders as the governor said. Rather you will take hold of the future by making the elders a connection between today and tomorrow. Once you look down on your elders or fail to take counsel from them, as the governor charged you, then there will be no tomorrow for you. You will be like a river that forgets its source and which is bound to dry up.
Now let me go into the reason behind Governor Akpabio’s destructive advice; the 11th April, 2015 governorship election and the issues arising. The governor wants you to overlook the real campaign issues and focus on fighting the elders. He knows the political elders of the State are aware of the real issues and what has happened to the State in the last eight years. That is why he wants you not to listen to the elders.
Akwa Ibom State earned over N3 Trillion in the last eight years. Please ask yourself where the evidence of this fortune is in your lives. It may interest you to know that the Akpabio administration is leaving a ‘generational’ debt of over N500 Billion! So he has also mortgaged your future.
Governor Akpabio still seeks to borrow more money from Zenith Bank, so that there will be extra money to misuse. Are you aware that Julius Berger has not been fully paid for the stadium? Are you aware that all the contractors in the State; Setraco, Alcon, Gitto, etc, have left the State enmasse? The ebbing administration leaves a massive scale of corruption behind. While the people suffer in poverty and unemployment few persons in Akpabio’s cabal acquire choice properties around the world. Is that not a reason for change?
Akwa Ibom State is the richest State in Nigeria. But we have nothing to show for it in the last eight years because the people had remained poor.
So at the onset of the administration, I had requested only one thing from Governor Akpabio: empower the youths by giving them loans to improve their productivity, earning and purchasing power. He told me outright that he would not do such a thing. I was surprised but he has maintained his stance till today.
Recently, the wife of the governor Mrs. Unoma Akpabio, assembled 10,000 youths at the governor’s lodge and gave them N10,000 each with instruction to go and fight for her governorship candidate, Udom Emmanuel. Is this not a misuse of our human resources? The same people who had impoverished you have taken a little from your money and given you to go and die for their selfish project. The governor has explained that it was his wife that handpicked the PDP candidate.
Today, our undergraduates are paid a paltry N5000 as bursary allocation. Yet the administration still steals N500 as so-called “administrative fee” leaving our students with N 4,500. This criminal cheating MUST not continue.
Now, Umana Okon Umana, the APC governorship candidate has promised to pay N50,000 because it is possible. He has also promised to create 10,000 small-scale businesses within the first year. This again is possible. All the APC will do is to plug the holes in the State’s bag and stop the massive stealing. Then funds will become available to empower the people.
Umana will not run a government of deceit devoted to a few white elephant projects like football stadium (which is not even a sports stadium) and round-about water fountains and use these to confuse the people while the people continue to go down in poverty. This is a poser: If Governor Akpabio has empowered you meaningfully over the last eight years, will his wife see any impoverished youth to recruit with the insulting sum of N10,000 for her personal political war?
My dear youths, the security situation in our State is worrisome and I am sure you know. The APC just published a detailed inventory of the reign of terror, murders and kidnappings under Akpabio’s watch at pages 55, 56 and 57 of The Nation Newspaper of Thursday, March 26, 2015. Most disturbing is the list of 105 Akwa Ibomites kidnapped or assassinated during the period.
As detailed and verifiable as this list is, the State government has not deemed it important enough to make a formal statement on this publicized atrocity. Are you not directly or indirectly affected by these atrocities? This I know: the blood of the dead will speak like the blood of Abel at the appointed time! The suffering of our kidnapped and tortured people will be the fillip that will usher in the change you need.
I will end this epistle by urging you not to sell your birthright. Listen to the elders of the State. Embrace change. Move on with the rest of Nigeria. The same way Governor Akpabio has chosen to attack elders rather than address issues of mis-governance was the same way his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) preferred to keep attacking the person of General Muhammadu Buhari instead of addressing issues of corruption and insecurity in Nigeria. It is now history that Nigerians chose change which was loudly announced on 28th March, 2015.
I must commend President Goodluck Jonathan for his non-violent and godly nature. While he preached that nobody’s political ambition is worth the blood of any Nigerian, here in Akwa Ibom State lives are wasted for the political ambition of some people. When President Jonathan saw that people preferred change, he allowed it, and that is the peace we have today which is being celebrated globally.
Governor Akpabio has seen the looming change and he is ready to fight it using one Austin Okojie, the State INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner; a man infamous for electoral heist in several States. He also plans to use the Police and some of you, the youths, to resist change.
The same way I call on the REC, and the Commissioner of Police not to allow themselves to be used as he did during the March 28 elections, I also call on you the youths not to allow yourselves to be used again. Food for thought: Have you ever seen the children of any of the Akpabios’ acting as a political thug? So why would you be used?
The same change that has taken place in Nigeria is what Umana Okon Umana represents. The ball is in your courts. I advise you to allow Akwa Ibom State to be in the same political alignment/party with the incoming APC – led Federal Government. It will be beneficial to you. Governor Akpabio cannot love you more than your parents and majority of elders of the State.
Be wise so that your tomorrow will be bright. Don’t take to Gov. Akpabio’s devilish advise; for he doesn’t wish you well.
God Bless Akwa Ibom State Youths.
God Bless Nigerian Youths.
Dr. Ime Umanah
(Ufan Ndito Ubuene).