In the Spirit of the Season?


Some dreams can generate panic in human society. Dreams, apart from serving as alerts between the spiritual and the physical existence, could assist people to be cautious and work towards averting adversities. Dreams, themselves are not tragedies. They can only be mere prophetic inclinations that could serve as prompters for humanity. If all human circumstances were prompted by dreams, many are dead who could have lived beyond their ages. Many still exist whose deformities may have merely been dreams that never came to pass.

The Christmas season may have pretentiously come like an adorable bride. The Season came, well packaged in the white blinking gowns. It came dancing into the scene through the beautified streets wearing Christmas trees and glowing lightings. It came so harmless basking in the euphoria of the painted streets and partitioned sections of the Christmas Village along Udo-Udoma Avenue, Uyo in the open field of the Ibibio Unity Museum. Residents of Uyo metropolis in Akwa Ibom State may have blown kisses to the unassuming bride which came so irresistibly alluring.

Like the famous Ulysses, Akwa Ibom people may have vowed to drink life to the less. Of course, a people saved by divine who cut them off from the amoral display of full moral decadence by the nudity contest in the 2019 Calabar Carnival, through the muddy roads that links the two states, should be glad to make their Christmas memorable. But what could be more memorable than a dreamlike flash of an imagination, where the software of government becomes corrupted?

The 2019 Christmas Corals and Festivals which gathered many foreign and local voices came in its full force. Monies were pleasantly spent to invoke God’s presence into the state and one could only imagine what would befall those who put themselves away from God’s spirit. Sadly the season of happiness became a season of sadness. The growing discord that came live while the Festivals lasted became a big fish. We gradually had some persons who were more enemies than others. All in all, there were pronounced enemies of the state whose actions soon showcased them in their full regalia.

Preacher at the event, himself the general overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adebajo offered a smashing prayer for the season. In the spirit of the season which should naturally be characterized by goodwill, love and blessings, Pastor Adeboye asked God to kill the enemies of the state. As a priest, the minister pleaded with God that enemies of the state should not see the New Year. Not circumspect and conscious with the spirit of the season, the church chorused a big Amen with an endless tail.

And so when the Commissioner for Lands and Housing, Pastor (Arc) Ime Ekpo ordered and supervised the demolition of private residents on the Christmas eve of Tuesday, December 24, it could understandably have been the extermination process of the enemies of the state. The people and residents of Nung Oku in the outskirts of Uyo metropolis in Akwa Ibom State were thrown into confusion during the Christmas season as they were unceremoniously visited by agents of government. An eyewitness said the machine operators returned early morning of Wednesday, December 25 to level the rubbles on the demolished sites.

Accordingly, “destructive equipment escorted by heavily armed soldiers numbering about forty arrived Nung Oku in Ibesikpo Asutan Local Government Area on Christmas eve”, reports say. The expanse of land, a neighbourhood of Kara Events Centre and the Godswill Akpabio International Stadium and the houses therein were all brought down. A certain Dr. Ambrose will return from the holidays in his native Abia State to see his two storey-building reduced to dust. Ubongabasi Edet had his four bedroom bungalow pulled down as well. Reporters observed that efforts to console the victims proved abortive.

Is it Mr. Bobby Bassey who was seen hopelessly relocating his family to an unknown destination? “I don’t know who will accommodate us at this point”, he lamented. The story came and was widely circulated by sorrow-binding members of the public who reigned prayers at the officials who could not allow these people enjoy their Christmas in peace. Same prayer that was raised by the general overseer, “Enemies of the state must not see 2020”, they repeatedly prayed. Getting to understand that no prior notice was issued to the victims by the state government for relocation even got the people sickened. How could God’s own state see such a level of calamity in this season of love?, one may ask.

It is no more news that the Lands and Housing Commissioner even corroborated the no-notice demolition saga. In a press briefing after the story was reported, the Commissioner said the portion of land was acquired by the state government from the inception of the present administration. He told newsmen that the portions were acquired for housing purposes and allocated to Army and Police Officers of Akwa Ibom State origin. He said government acquired, surveyed, and paid compensation to obtain a right of occupancy.

“The land had been surveyed and compensations were paid. It was even published”, said the Commissioner. “The village is aware that compensation has been paid even though the Village Head is now late”, he added. Saying the government had noticed encroachment on the area of land, Ime Ekpo added, “Upon investigation, the villagers said they were not the ones who encroached on it, adding that since the government bought the land, they never had anything to do with it again”, he explained.

Although Ime Ekpo said the illegal occupants were given a notice to leave the land and also invited to the office of the Commissioner for Lands and Housing, but refused to show up, he stated that it was not the practice to notify illegal occupants of government’s decision to demolish them. “We don’t give demolition notice on a structure that is illegal. Some persons have mentioned one Leo as the person who is in charge of selling that land to people. He even sold it to some Police officers”, Ekpo said. Asked why government has not arrested Mr. Leo, the Commissioner replied, “How can we go after him? We didn’t send him. What we know is that we’ve taken possession of our land. Whoever is affected should go back to Leo to get back his money”.

From the discussion so far, one discovers that the Akwa Ibom State government was more interested in destroying the buildings than anything else. Government has not shown concern towards apprehending a fraudster that defrauded its citizens. Questions are, have there been efforts by government to educate the people on such situations? Were they even served the demolition notice as stated by the commissioner? Or should we not believe that the commissioner was just saying so to exonerate himself from being convicted in the court of public opinion? All in all, while the people note that a hired priest has acted Balaam by coming to pronounce death on the enemies of the state, they may not be quick to forget that enemies of the state may still be looming large in government.

Ultimately, they may never come to terms with the fact that, while the Christmas season was being peacefully enjoyed elsewhere, theirs became a denial, reminding them that those who are dead to conscience have thrown them off from the spirit of the season.

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