The leadership crisis that has rocked the Igbo community in AkwaIbom State for more than fifteen years has finally been resolved.Details of the resolution were contained in a document presented to the wife of the Akwa Ibom State governor, Mrs. Ekaette UnomaAkpabio, during a courtesy visit to her by the group at Government House, Uyo, yesterday.
Speaking on behalf of the group, Hon. Chief Godian Uzoma informed the governor’s wife that the Igbos had come a long way in the presentAkwa Ibom State, having settled in the area long before the civil war. He further noted that the civil war had led to the destruction of severalassets belonging to the Igbo people, but that because of the peaceful and prosperous climate of the area, Igbo’s came back after the war in 1972 and organised themselves into an umbrella body to foster peace and progress. Chief Uzoma however regretted that sometime in 1999, the leadership of the group succumbed to forces of disharmony which led to a protracted crisis within the Igbo Community in the state. He commended the governor’s wife for allowing God to use her as a pillar of support to the governor in his uncommon transformation of the state, especially the free and compulsory education policy that does not discriminate against non indigenes. He added that it was the same divine guidance that led her to initiate the successful peace process in the group.
Also speaking, Chief C. Y. C. Ezeumeakuka and Ichie BarnabasNwannewuihe, the former factional leaders of the Igbo Community and the Igbo Union Federated respectively, both praised the governor’s wife for her timely and harmonious role in brokering peace which had eluded the association for so long. The two leaders, in their separate statements, promised to abide by the resolutions reached at the reconciliation meeting and expressed their hope that the peace will last for generations to come.
Speaking on behalf of the women, Mrs. Bridget Okpala, PresidentOhanaeze Women, acknowledged the role of the governor’s wife in resolving the crisis, describing it as a feat that no one has been able to achieve in the past 15 years. She described Mrs. Akpabio as a peacemaker, nicknamed her the Esther of the Igbo people adding that the resolution of the crisis will impact positively on Ndigbo across Nigeria.
A leader of the group, Chief Richard Onuchukwu, tendered an apology to the wife of the governor for the protracted crisis which had, over the years, hampered the contributions of the Igbo community to the development of the state and their peaceful co-existence.
Presenting the resolutions, the leader of the Reconciliation Committee, Mrs. Maureen Aniekan Umanah commended the governor’s wife for allowing God to use her to resolve the crisis, noting that one of the resolutions reached was that any member who is at any time found guilty of contravening the peace accord would be banished from the state.
Responding, the wife of the governor, Mrs. Ekaette Unoma Akpabiocommended the group for finally sheathing their swords. She expressed deep regret that the crisis had at some point claimed the life of one of their leaders, noting that by spending so much on litigation and in-fighting, the group had lost so much resources and opportunities which could have been used for the development of their members.
Mrs. Akpabio, who holds the title of Adadioramma 1, urged the group never to succumb again to the forces of retrogression but to work together with the governor and the current administration to build a greater Akwa Ibom State that all Nigerians can be proud to call home.
The event also witnessed the presentation of a seven-member Interim Executive Committee for the Igbo Community which has a mandate to conduct elections within three months.
Also present at the visit were Mrs Asuama Sydney, Cordinator Family Life Enhancement Initiative, Dr Carter Onyezeiri and other members of the reconciliatory committee.
Mrs Comfort Williams (Mrs.)