State Creation: Akpabio Faults Attah
Following a recent claim by the former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Obong Victor Attah that he championed the creation of the State as according to him, he received message from former military president, General Abrahim Badamasi Babangida asking him if he was no longer interested in a state for his people, the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio yesterday faulted Attah’s claim, saying that, “The creation of Akwa Ibom was not an event; it was a process”.
It would be recalled that Attah during a reception organized for him by Ibibio nation at Asan Ibibio, told the mammoth crowd that he was then in Kaduna when the former military president sent a message to him on his demands for a state.
He said, “Let me start by telling you about something that happened in 1987. I was in Kaduna and about the middle of the year, I received a message from the military President, General Ibrahim Babangida, GCFR.
“He sent to ask me if I was no longer interested in a state for my people. This happened for a long time, I had with respect and within the limit of friendship, harassed him to create a state for us.
“Sometime after that I was invited to the office of the Coordinator of National Security (CONS) at 12 Awoloow road, Ikoyi, and was asked to draw a map of what I thought should constitute the new state”.
But faulting Attah’s claim yesterday in a state broadcast to the people of the state on the 27th anniversary of the state creation, Akpabio said.
“The creation of Akwa Ibom State was not an event, it was a process. It was the culmination of the efforts begun by our forefathers at Afaha Oku in 1953 when they made the first demand for state creation in Nigeria.
“It was the reward of a relentless campaign by a determined people who stood together and kept tugging at the walls which came tumbling down”.
Akpabio stated that after the coup that heralded the General Ibrahim Babangida administration, a seven-member political Bureau headed by sylvanus J. Cookey reviewed Nigeria’s democratic experience, appraised the socio-economic and political problems facing the country.
He said the “Bureau noted that the creation of more states would ease political and social tensions, which had bred instability and frustrated the country’s march towards national greatness. Akwa Ibom people took advantage of this and we intensified our demand for a state of our own. We submitted memoranda to justify our demand.
“The Bureau members agreed that States should be created but differed on the number that should be created. But because of the intensity of our campaign and that of Katsina, they all were unanimous in the agreement that Akwa Ibom State and Katsina State should be created from Cross River State and Kaduna State respectively.
“The people of these two states had waged the most relentless and strident campaign for states to be created for them.
The Bureau submitted its report with several recommendations including the creation of these two states on March 26, 1987.
The Babangida Administration created Akwa Ibom and Katsina States on September, 23, 1987.
Meanwhile, some Akwa Ibom people have criticized parts of the governor’s speech that the dualized Eket-Etinan road is on-going or nearing completion.
Edet Effiong told our correspondent that the said road project is an abandoned project that may never be completed in the life of the present administration.
On his part, Asuquo Emma said the Eket-Etinan road mentioned by the governor in his address to the people of the state is far from commencing as there is no contractor on sight.
He called on the governor to live up to his promise by ensuring that the project is completed before he leaves office next year.