When considering the travails and afflictions that too many people in Akwa Ibom have endured for some years now, what is on the lips of the distraught people is the question, “When will our suffering come to an end?” This question, which is very important, cannot be answered without going back into history. But in this piece I will not take us back to the long history of the state which began with the struggle of our forebears for its creation. I will confine myself to what happened in the recent past, precisely from 1999.
‘’The pictures shown here were taken at Ibom Hall on that very memorable day that Heaven will never forget. The then paramount ruler of Eket, in concert with some other traditional rulers had taken the sand and crude oil of the state, handed them to Governor Attah and told him of their intention to ensure that the state was free from idolatry, and that God should make us live in prosperity, peace and unity”
1999 was the year Obong Victor Attah mounted the saddle of the state as governor in the month of May. And because the state is named for God, the Spirit of God led our royal fathers to do something that was unprecedented and which had and continues to have and will forever have either positive and negative effects on the people depending on which side the people stand. This was the covenant Akwa Ibom entered into with God on September 23, 1999.
The pictures shown here were taken at Ibom Hall on that very memorable day that Heaven will never forget. The then paramount ruler of Eket, in concert with some other traditional rulers had taken the sand and crude oil of the state, handed them to Governor Attah and told him of their intention to ensure that the state was free from idolatry, and that God should make us live in prosperity, peace and unity.
Upon receiving them, Governor Attah spoke moving words that clearly revealed his best wishes for the state. He in turn handed the bag of sand and the bottle of oil to Elijah Mboho and other preachers including Isaiah Issong and Cletus Bassey who in turn lifted them up and prayed that the God of Heaven should severely punish any or persons who would introduce and lead the people of Akwa Ibom into idolatry and Satanism seeing that the state was named for God and God alone. They cursed and invoked the power of God not to spare anyone who would compromise and plunge the people into anything evil in the state.
However, from 2007, the state witnessed a gradual slide or return to idolatry with the disappearance of babies and some older people who were used for ritual sacrifices in order to enhance political fortunes of some unscrupulous and mindless politicians. Nobody raised alarm over these evils except for some individuals and Global Concord newspaper who felt it should not have happened. The churches kept mum and the very traditional institutions and the preachers that dedicated the state to God through Obong Attah and prayed against idolatry, divisive tendencies, criminalities, oppression and subjugation decided to compromise with the murderous politicians all because of money and fear. They assembled at Asan Ibibio a few years later and invoked the various gods of the land and released them to cause all kinds of abominable acts which include desecration of churches by way of kidnapping of pastors, shooting and killing of members, introduction of mbiam as a means of oath of allegiance, introduction/ revival of cultism without which no one can flow with the system.
In spite of several warnings from God through some of His genuine prophets, the people gave in to the demands of Satan and thereafter serious manipulative methods were used to buy almost all traditional rulers and men of the pulpit in the state. My quarrel is not so much with the government and the traditional leaders but with Church leaders who are expected to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth, but who rather have become terrestrial in their attitude and behavior instead of looking up to Christ who is the Author and Finisher of our faith. They have made the Church to become a mere social club with only a thin veneer of religiosity. As a disciple and minister of Christ, I cannot keep quiet while false apostles and other religious charlatans destroy the flock of Christ through politics.
“Upon receiving them, Governor Attah spoke moving words that clearly revealed his best wishes for the state. He in turn handed the bag of sand and the bottle of oil to Elijah Mboho and other preachers including Isaiah Issong and Cletus Bassey who in turn lifted them up and prayed that the God of Heaven should severely punish any or persons who would introduce and lead the people of Akwa Ibom into idolatry and Satanism seeing that the state was named for God and God alone…”
Like David, I have a cause and I have to fulfill it even on pains of death. The reason we are where we are in Nigeria is that the present Church leaders have refused in their obstinate infidelity to speak up on issues that affect the Kingdom of Christ. They are instead compromising with our oppressors because of money and fear of death. They are not true shepherds of God’s flock; they are hirelings. That is why they don’t care what happens to the sheep in their care except for a few “insignificant” ones whose voices the political leaders have refused to give attention to.
Those who are happy with what is going on in the state and country generally – the divide and rule game, ethnic chauvinism and a return to Satanism – have not known the long-term implications of their actions. We claim that there is peace in the state, but I know too well, as
“However, from 2007, the state witnessed a gradual slide or return to idolatry with the disappearance of babies and some older people who were used for ritual sacrifices in order to enhance political fortunes of some unscrupulous and mindless politicians…”
much as many other Akwa Ibomites know that there is nothing like that for now because true peace is never negative. In human experience it is restored by forgiveness, literally a going forth in love such as is enjoined upon us by Christ in the words “love thine enemy.”
When all the opposites in the state, all the opposing attitudes, which are exemplified in those of Ibibio, Annang, Oron and Obolo – the cross that Akwa Ibomites hang today – when they are reconciled, not by surrender or by indecisive compromise but by the recognition of essential brotherhood, then and only then will there be true peace. It will come about only when we cease to live merely with our brothers in more or less amicable separation, and learn instead to live for each other, caring not only for ourselves but for our brother. Whatever we may call that kind of Akwa Ibom, it will not resemble any that we have known so far, for Akwa Ibomites are still in the grip of ethnicity and materialism and, whether it is Ibibio or Annang or Oron or Obolo that governs the state, the ruling interest is self-interest.
It is rather unfortunate that from 2007 till date Akwa Ibom is 100 per cent in the hands of Satan. God is no longer in direct control as demons and their human agents have been let loose in order to steal, kill and to destroy. There is a serious allegation that takes the form of rumour that there is a massive arm built-up somewhere in Ewet Housing Estate, Osong Ama Housing Estate, Ikot Ekpene and some other places. It is also rumoured that the Ibos and some thugs cum cultists have been trained and put on alert so that at the first blow of the “whistle” they will unleash mayhem in the state and destroy those who claim to be the majority. These may be mere rumours without solid foundation. But if it is true that there is no smoke without fire, then the security outfits in the country should begin now to spread their searchlights everywhere in order to prevent a catastrophe that will make the state ungovernable.
“They cursed and invoked the power of God not to spare anyone who would compromise and plunge the people into anything evil in the state…”
The good news, however, is that we have a God who never fails. He is a God who answers prayers that are offered with a sincere heart and in accordance with His perfect will. If those who entered into the covenant with God on behalf of the state were sincere with what they did, even after they have failed us, I am more than confident that going by that covenant God has an obligation to answer their prayers and honor the covenant. He will hear and answer the prayers the afflicted people have been praying over these harrowing years. This means that sooner or latter He will punish or destroy all those who have brought all these evils and idolatry back into the state.
It is interesting to recall that sometime in 2006, a man of God from Abuja and a non-native of Akwa Ibom prophesied that a governor would soon emerge in the state that would be an instrument in the hands of God Almighty. He said the governor would hold the people captive and spellbound and do whatever he pleased to the people by His permission as a means of chastening them. This means that the governor would be a school master sent by God to teach the recalcitrant people a lesson or lessons they would never forget. That man of God also added an interesting thing examples of which can be found in many places in the Bible. He said after the school master must have completed his divine assignment, God would have to deal ruthlessly with him in a way that would stun the whole world and thereafter prosperity, peace and unity would return to the state.
Are we living in that period or are we to expect that governor in the future? If we are in that dispensation, have we learnt the lesson that God intended for us? I had since stopped praying for God’s intervention in the affairs if Akwa Ibom because I am fully persuaded that since God is the one that ordained whatever we are witnessing and may continue to witness, He alone is the one, at the fullness of His time, that will say, “Enough is enough.” That will be the time this scripture will be fulfilled which says: “When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream.” Psalm 126:1, Psalm 14:7.
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