Ikpafak Thompson Essien
This open letter is specifically directed to all the young men and women of Akwa Ibom who live in the state. It is very disheartening to notice that while a few of us in the Diaspora are shouting to raise awareness to the strategies Godswill Akpabio is using to destroy your future, you are sitting inAkwa Ibom State to help him destroy you, destroy your future, and the future prospects of your own children, including those yet unborn.
While Godswill Akpabio is stealing your money and selling the resources that belong to the entire people of Akwa Ibom State, you are spending the day drinking, womanizing, and getting doped on drugs. And then Akpabio and his local thugs (such as Uwem Ita Etuk and Isantim of Etinan) will hand you guns to kill those they don't like and you oblige.
While Akpabio is siphoning your money and practically raping your treasury, you are busy patronizing prostitutes at Maitama joints, which in essence mean you are infecting yourself with all sorts of sexually transmitted diseases. Some of you have AIDS virus and many of you don't even know it, because you cannot afford to submit yourself for medical tests. While Akpabio has awarded contracts to people from other parts of Nigeria to construct roads, bridges, hotels, and other aspects of infra structure, you are busy terrorizing your neighborhoods, kidnapping your elders, brothers, sisters, and shooting at each other.
Do you ever think about whyAkpabio distributed guns to you instead of encouraging private ventures that could offer you jobs? The answer is Akpabio wants to decimate you and reduce your presence and your self-worth to nothing. That way, you can never have the power to challenge his evil ways. Every day, I am contacted by you complaining about unemployment and poverty in Akwa Ibom State. How can you be employed when you can't even have the courage to stand up and be responsible by confronting Akpabio---your leader---with a demand for employment? You cannot spend all night hanging around Millionaires Club at Ewet Housing where the cartel sells you a bottle of Coca Cola for N1, 000.000 and expect to move forward in life. Have you ever paused for a moment to ask who owns all those expensive all-night drinking outfits? It is also disheartening to know that Akpabio will come and tell you naked lies and all of you will accept those lies as truths, without questions. Many of you know that it was Obong Victor Attah's administration which built the Meridien Hotel. Since it was opened for use, the Hotel has never been booked past 40% capacity. As it is now, Godswill Akpabio's Government is the one funding the Meridien; otherwise, it could have collapsed as a viable business a long time ago.
Now the question; how can Akpabio tell you that the Akwa Ibom State needs to build another hotel when the Meridian has never been fully utilized? This is the type of question you need to ask Akpabio because what you may not know is that every time Akpabio talks about building a hotel, he has already siphoned the money allocated to the project to his account in some foreign country. And Akpabio knows that no one would ever challenge him or hold him accountable. This is why it is important for you to wake up and start holding Akpabio accountable and inquire to know how he spends your money. It is also important to know that while you are busy killing for Akpabio, killing yourself, doping, and drinking yourself at Brook Street into nothingness, Akpabio has sold many of your assets to himself and others. Do you know that Akpabio sold Ibom Power Plant and is currently receiving monthly payments that run into millions of naira from NEPA? This is what Akpabio does not want you to know and if you take a look at the past State Budget Report, you will notice that Akpabio continues to allocate funds for IPP, in spite of the fact that IPP is no longer the property of Akwa Ibom State.
Same with the Uyo Airport. Same with the Meridien Hotel. And who knows, as I write this, it is very likely that Godswill Akpabio has already sold the Hilltop Mansion to himself and don't be surprised if you find out that Akwa Ibom State is paying monthly rent to some unidentified and bogus company designated as the owner of the Hilltop Mansion. I don't believe in violence and I will never condone violence as a means for societal change because history has proven over and over that violence has never been the appropriate tool for social and societal change. I believe very strongly in peaceful agitation as a tool for social and societal change. And I am calling on the youths of Akwa Ibom State to begin thinking seriously about using their God-given rights to agitate for change inAkwa Ibom State. In Egypt, the youths used the available technology to effect change, which led to the end of Mubarak without firing a single shot. The same thing happened in Tunisia, in Algeria and in other parts of the world. It is incomprehensible that in Akwa Ibom State, only one man---Godswill Akpabio---can steal the people's money, loot their treasury, kidnap, assassinate, and rape the people while majority, especially the youths, sit by without a single word of agitation. It is this passive mentality which has encouraged Akpabio to continue to lie to you and hold you and the rest of the State in contempt.
During the campaign for the 2011 gubernatorial election, Akpabio promised that if he is elected, he would offer you (the youths) the opportunities for gainful employment. After the election, to make it appear as if he is keeping up to his promise, in July 2011, Akpabio sent letters to hundreds of youths with a promise of employment at a salary of N307, 583.84 per annum (please see attached letter of employment). Akpabio lied, he has not paid any of you the promised salary, yet every month, reports indicate that the salary has been paid to you. What makes it annoying is that none of you is willing to confront the government of Akpabio demanding payment. Instead, you will contact your relatives and friends in America and Europe demanding money as if those in America and Europe don't have financial responsibilities of their own. How can you wake up every day and go to work, and at the end of the month, you are not paid for your labor, and as if to add insult to injury, the government does not even offer any apology or any explanation as to why you are not paid? In any society, right from Biblical times, it is the youths that always instigate, demand, and effect change in the society. The elders are always there to support the youths. But in Akwa Ibom State, it seems to be the opposite. The elders are getting weary and tired of this type of apathy.
A revolution or a demand for societal change does not have to be violent. Again, let me repeat myself by stating that I will never support or condone violence, of any kind, as a means for societal and social change. However, let it also be on record that if my life is in imminent danger, where the use of violence (as in killing my attacker) is the only option available for me in order to save my life or the life of any member of my family, I will use it. With this in mind, I am calling on all of you to change your ways, seek, and demand accountability from your leaders---from Local Government all the way to those that represent you at the federal level. You need to send a message to Godswill Akpabio that you are tired of his lies, that you are tired of his manipulations, and his lack of respect for you. The time to act is now. The longer you wait to hold Akpabio accountable for all his crimes and activities in Akwa Ibom State, the more time it will take to undo all the atrocities that Akpabio has committed since he became a governor in 2007 once he leaves the office.
There are several ways in which a civil disobedience could be organized without resorting to violence. Let me say that to march in the street to protest against Akpabio is suicidal because Akpabio is a devil who will not hesitate to order (bribe) the police to shoot and kill everyone; after all, who will question him. Because of such danger, I will never call for or support a street demonstration. As an alternative, I support and I recommend that everyone should demonstrate against Akpabio by staying at home. Yes, stay at home. We should not forget that few months ago, when there was a disagreement between the government and the organized labor over the implementation of the Minimum Wage Laws, workers stayed at home in protest and it eventually forced Godswill Akpabio to negotiate with Mr. Unyime Usoro, the Chairman of Nigerian Labor Congress (NLC) in Akwa Ibom State. As a result of that civil disobedience, today (May 1, 2012) we have read in the news that Akpabio has caved in and has promised to pay N20,000.00 (N2,000.00 above the stipulated N18,000.000) as the minimum wage in the state. If workers stay home, Akpabio will be forced to make sure that their wages are paid on time. If the masses take matters into their own hands,Akpabio will stop looting their treasury. If the people agitate and complain, Akpabio will stop running Akwa Ibom State as if it is his personal property where his brothers (notably Nsentip, Ibanga, and Prince Akpabio) sit at EXCO meetings and plan on how to loot the money allocated to Local Government Areas. The people need to tell Akpabio that Akwa Ibom State is for everyone, not just for a selected few.
Written by Ikpafak Thompson Essien Portland, Oregon