The Akwa Ibom Liberation Movement (AILM) has condemned the All Progressives Congress (APC) over the timing of President Muhammadu Buhari’s visit to the state.
AILM President, Prince Emmanuel Sam, in an open letter on Saturday, said the decision of APC to fix Friday, 28th December 2019, for the flag-off of Buhari’s second term campaign has been received with mixed feelings.
The letter addressed to Buhari explained that echelon of the traditional institution in Ibibio, the majority ethnic group in Akwa Ibom State, had scheduled the coronation of her President General (Oku Ibom) on the same day.
Sam wrote: “This letter is informed by the glaringly spiteful decision of the leadership of APC to ridicule that very important traditional event by fixing the date of your campaign to coincide with it. The coronation of Oku Ibom Ibibio and reunification of the vast kingdoms of Ibibio under one leadership after more than a decade of wrangling, distrust, and interference particularly under Godswill Akpabio’s regime, is of utmost importance to every well meaning son and daughter of Ibibio nationality. The date of this event was fixed about two months ago and same was communicated to all the ‘who is who’ as well as organisations in Akwa Ibom state, without bias to political parties and affiliations.
“In fact, by privilege of having our members as part of the planning of the Ifim Ibom Ibibio event, we are aware that invitation letters were sent to leadership of all other ethnic nationalities in the State, socio – cultural groups, the clergy, security agencies, political stakeholders and your party. Thus, we can state that the leadership of the APC was aware of this date, yet decided to fix your presidential campaign to coincide with it.
“We are surprised, but somewhat not very surprised that suddenly the APC has fixed your campaign on that day in absolute disregard to the piety deserving of such day in the life of the people of the great Ibibio ethnic nationality and Akwa Ibom State. A question may suffice here, Your Excellency. Is the APC fighting the Ibibios? Is the party fighting the highest Ibibio traditional stool or its occupant? It seems clearly so.
“Your Excellency, may we bring to your attention that the attitude and action of your party men towards the event have evoked a broad feeling of resentment and a consensus that the APC presidential campaign flag-off is another lavish streak to dishonour the Ibibio collective patrimony. We are somewhat not very surprised by this recurrence. In our stream of consciousness, we have seen this type of contraption play out many times when Chief Godswill Akpabio was governor.
“Your Excellency, perhaps it would be important that we fill you in on why this broad concern is raised. The last occupant of the Ifim Ibom Ibibio, Edidem Robert Obot, the Oku Ibom Ibibio lll and Paramount Ruler of Nsit Ubium Local Government Area, was gruesomely murdered in his palace by ‘unknown’ gunmen eight years ago. That was in 2010 under the watch of your newly adopted son and former governor of our State, Chief Godswill Akpabio. From when the monarch was murdered till the end of that administration, Akpabio’s government did almost nothing to fish out the perpetrators of that heinous crime.
“A presidential campaign would not be scheduled on the same day with the enthronment of the Emir or an Oba, if it were in Kano or Ogun State. The Ibibio people love the President and respect his office. However, it will leave a strong, unconquerable feeling of dismission and disrespect towards the office of the President, should the President continue with the planned campaign in Akwa Ibom on Friday, the 28th.
“Mr. President, we strongly appeal to your conscience to respect our traditional institution and reschedule the launch of your campaign in Akwa Ibom State to another date, if it pleases you to respect public opinion on this.”