Akwa Ibom State Governor, Obong Godswill Akpabio, has been accused of intensifying his perceived war against the Ibibios in the state. The accusation of ethnic cleansing came in the wake of the sack of about twenty Personal and Special Assistants in the service of the state government last Monday.
According to information available to us, the erstwhile appointees were said to have been loyalists of the former Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr. Umana Okon Umana, and the former Commissioner for Finance, Bassey Albert Akpan, both of whom are believed to be interested in succeeding the governor in 2015. Both men have been removed from office by the governor as Akpabio is said to see their ambition as contradicting his desire to impose his choice of the new SSG Emmanuel Udom as his successor.
Although Udom is Ibibio like Obong Umana and Akpan, the mainstream Ibibios are said to be insisting that it wasn’t the governor duty to choose who would represent the ethnic group in the 2015 elections. The recent wave of sack is said to have further widened the gulf between the Ibibios who are the largest ethnic group in the oil rich state and their Annang brothers.
A source who spoke to us on conditions of anonymity said that the Ibibios had betrayed their kindred when they helped Akpabio to become governor for a second term and he is now baring his fangs on the same people that helped him to power.
Another source told us that Akpabio ‘s campaign, especially for the first term received so much financial support from Umana while the duo of Umana and Akpan were the main forces behind his re-election in 2011, “but he has paid both of them back in bad coins now. He has not only relieved them of their positions, he is also firing their loyalists and associates. It is a very terrible thing for which our people are not happy and we hope the governor would retract his steps fast as his behaviour is sympotamatic of someone who is losing his grip on power,” our source said.