Of late, an unnecessary ranting and mudslinging have been launched against me by some insidious characters, chief among them being Cyril Ekiko on the premise of leadership succession in Akwa Esop Imaisong Ibibio, one of the socio-cultural organizations in Akwa Ibom State.
The orchestrated campaigns of calumny first came up, which was either sponsored or speculated for publication by these rabble-rousers in a state-based tabloid, The Ink Newspaper of Thursday, December 31, 2020 with a banner headline: “Bassey Inuaeyen Emerges 4Th Ntisong Ibibio … Billed for inauguration in January … Why he was picked.”
When the news made rounds and came to my knowledge, I had wanted to refute because it was preposterous but was rather advised by Ibibio leaders and elder statesmen to ignore it. And I obeyed.
But surprising days after, Cyril Ekiko, Akwaiko lII of Akwa Esop Imaisong Ibibio with some cohorts, completely backpedalled from that agreed honourable path not to portray Akwa Esop Imaisong Ibibio in bad light least it be construed that it was entangled in leadership squabble.
However, after passing a vote of confidence on our revered Ntisong III, Dr. Essien Ekidem, from an emergency session on Wednesday December 30, 2020, Cyril Ekiko went on to unleash spurious and derogatory attacks against my person and reputation, stretching further to malign Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel through a syndicated news report on Monday, January 4, 2020, titled, “Elders Warn Udom On Danger Of Imposing Inuaeyen On Ibibio Nation … Reveal How Anointed Candidate Embezzled Over N55 Million”
The question is why this incendiary alarm by Cyril Ekiko? Have I ever lobbied him or anybody to be made Ntisong? The simple answer is nobody in this wild world will say I ever lobbied him or her to be selected as a successor to Ntisong Essien Ekidem, the current holder of the office. Ntisong III, Dr. Essien Ekidem enjoys immeasurable support, respect and goodwill from me. Attempting therefore to dent my image, integrity and reputation as angling for the stool is completely unfortunate and uncalled for, to wit, uncharitable.
To put the record straight on the issue of Ntisongship; touting my name as an anointed nominee is a false alarm and should be dismissed outrightly. I have received no call, letter or any form of communication on this. As earlier stated, The Ink Newspaper report of Thursday, December 31, 2020 came to me as a surprise. If there was an official communication to that effect that I have been selected for the office of Ntisong, I probably could have still declined because that is not within my immediate contemplation neither have I coveted it.
Close friends, including the Mkpisong Idongesit O. Nkanga of blessed memory had known clearly my disposition towards that office. It is not within my immediate consideration. What is my earnest craving is the political wellbeing of Akwa Ibom State and my ever passionate desire to be a partaker in the growth process. To this end, to be part of the course together with the Governor, stakeholders and Akwa Ibomites generally to find a credible, mature, focussed and God-fearing person to assume leadership of Akwa Ibom State in 2023.
What is more, as of today, Governor Udom Emmanuel and I have not had any discussion on Akwa Esop Imaisong Ibibio and its leadership. The Governor has not told me that he wants me to be any Ntisong. So why throw tantrums against me and extending same to the Governor?
To further unmask the futility of their minds, Cyril Ekiko and his cohorts raised an unsubstantiated allegation that I embezzled about N55 million donated to Ibibio Nation by the then Governor, Obong Victor Attah for the construction of Asan Ibibio Hall. Why did Cyril Ekiko wait till now, many years after Obong Attah left office, to spew such bogus accusation? Is it possible that such amount could have been donated and not followed up by the donor? Besides, I never put myself in a position where Obong Attah will leave his aides to pass money through me to anybody. That issue is certainly a saga I may not want to be pressurized to dovetail on what transpired. But sad and unfortunate that people who call themselves elders can sit down, create total falsehood and bandied it to members of the public, just to destroy whom the hate.
Fortunately, Obong Victor Attah is alive and can further put the records straight. It is not true as I did not receive either in parts or whole, the purportedly amount of N55 million. That can only exist in the wild imagination of Cyril Ekiko and his associates. On this particular issue of alleged embezzlement, I request official apology on it from Cyril Ekiko, otherwise, I will follow the legal path, with all the energy required, to seek redress as required by law. I will certainly not overlook such baseless, senseless and infantile diatribe against my person.
It should be known that Akwa Esop Imaisong Ibibio is one of the unifying groups in Ibibio land that is highly cherished by all of us. If there is any problem, there surely exist a robust internal mechanism and the capacity by the leadership to resolve it, without dragging its name, mine or that of the Governor to the mud.
If as Elders, which Mkpisong connotes, Cyril Ekiko and co, can recklessly exhibit such misconduct of bringing the internal affairs of Akwa Esop Imaisong Ibibio into public disrepute by engaging in mudslinging, blackmail and dishonor not only to me and the Governor of Akwa Ibom State; then they have only succeeded in telling the whole world how unwise they are. It is a sad commentary.
Akwa Esop Imaisong Ibibio means more than this. Elders should only react to issues with facts and not whimsically. Enough is enough!
Obong Bassey Inuaeyen
Tuesday, January 5, 2021