I received with gladness your notification for the 17th Virtual National Convention of Ubium Development Association (UDA), United States of America (USA) in which you also extended invitation to me to serve as Chief Royal Father and a Special Guest at this historic event.
I wish therefore to convey my kind acceptance and hearty commendations to the leadership and members of Ubium Development Association (UDA) for coming together in the United States of America (USA) to form a formidable community forum which has existed successfully for years now. Let me acknowledge that this is a clear patriotic act of recognising your roots and common heritage as one great family from Nsit Ubium Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. I therefore salute you as good ambassadors.
I take great interest in your theme for this year’s Convention being: “Promoting Diaspora-Ubium People Partnerships for Purposeful and Sustainable Community Development,” with a sub-theme, “Everyone Has a Role to Play.” Again, the theme is to accentuate the critical role of Akwa Ibom traditional institution towards the promotion of individual and group participation in community development. I applaud you for the various events lined up for this convention which culminates with a thanksgiving service on Sunday, July 25, 2021.
The theme for the 2021 Convention is quite apt considering the fact that there is unlimited gain, progress and strength in unity. A common platform such as you have developed through Ubium Development Association, helps in strengthening family bonds, recreates purposefulness amongst yourselves in a foreign land and keep you in positive contact with your community.
As said by J.K. Rowling, “We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.” An Ibibio adage says “Ubók mmum, ubók mmum, ke tuud Ukpa” –meaning literarily that with many hands can a big and heavy tree be pulled. I encourage you to remain focused in promoting the lofty ideals of Ubium Development Association which will surely impact on your home Community and Akwa Ibom State as a whole.
As you know, we are rooted in a robust and sublime ancestry. Our forebears were men and women of great foresights, industry and love for one another. The visionary and impactful activities of Ibibio Union in the early 1920s and thereafter in terms of commerce, education and agitation for the reorganisation of the Nigerian polity as a federation of states, have remained indelible in our history. It is out of that committed communal pursuit that our beloved Akwa Ibom State came forth in 1987.
Our forebears foresaw the ‘today’ that we have and worked for it. It is therefore incumbent on us to foresee a vibrant ‘tomorrow’ for ourselves, our children and the generations yet unborn. No matter what manner of comfort we may experience now, we must be really concerned about our future especially with the economic and insecurity challenges that we now have in our country.
The traditional institution in Akwa Ibom State remains very committed to issues of development in furtherance of its role as the custodian of the culture and heritage of the people. As chairman, Akwa Ibom State Council of Chiefs and member of the National Council of Traditional Rulers of Nigeria (NCTRN), I have in consort with co-royal fathers continued to proffer best strategies to engender peaceful co-existence and harmony in the state and beyond.
Of great concern are the challenges of insecurity. In Akwa Ibom, we have established working ties with the State Police Command to step up vigilance and ensure that our communities are better secured and insulated from acts of bandritries because security is everybody’s concern. You also have a role to play despite being in a foreign land. We have to support the Police through material provisions and offer articulate intelligence network to be able to stay on top of the situation. Without security, development is threatened.
In this wise, I encourage you to contribute to the socio-economic and political well-being, industrialisation and general development of Akwa Ibom State. It will be through our collective participation that our beloved State will meet our desirable expectations. Governor Udom Gabriel Emmanuel -led administration apart from other spheres of commendable development efforts, has enhanced air transportation in Akwa Ibom State through the establishment of Ibom Air, which is now flying across various parts of Nigeria with regional and continental reach in focus. Today, flight services in and out of Akwa Ibom State and other operational routes have been made easy.
We beckon on you as patriots to support the drive of wooing investors to Akwa Ibom State. Foreign direct investment as we have started seeing, especially under the present administration in the State, will boost our economy, offer employment opportunities to school leavers as well as curb youth restiveness.
I must commend our sons and daughters in the Diaspora, who often, in league with others, mobilise medical personnel to carry out free medical outreach services in various communities in Akwa Ibom State. These services have been quite beneficial as it complements the efforts of government and other institutions to take Medicare to the grassroots. We encourage such benevolent deeds and urge that same be extended to cover education and other social services.
On behalf of my wife, Akwaobongnwan Philomena Solomon Etuk, and family, Nsit Ubium Traditional Council, Supreme Council of Ibibio Traditional Rulers (Ifim Ibom Ibibio) and the State Council of Chiefs, I congratulate you all on this epoch making occasion and therefore wish you successful celebrations.
-Being remarks by His Eminence, Ntenyin Dr Solomon Daniel Etuk JP Oku Ibom Ibibio and Chairman Akwa Ibom State Council of Chiefs on the occasion of the 17th Virtual National Convention of Ubium Development Association (UDA), United States of America (USA) Held from July 23-24, 2021.