Inaugural address MMI 9th President

Akparawa (Elder) Monday Etokakpan, JP

Akparawa (Elder) Monday Etokakpan, JP

AN ADDRESS BY AKPARAWA (ELDER) MONDAY ETOKAKPAN, JP, ON THE OCCASION OF HIS INVESTITURE AS THE 9TH INTERNATIONAL PRESIDENT OF MBOHO MKPARAWA IBIBIO AND INAUGURATION OF THE INTERNATIONAL EXECUTIVE COUNCIL ON THURSDAY, 24TH JULY 2014 AT UDO UDOMA HOUSE MBOHO MKPARAWA IBIBIO SECRETERIAT, ON UDO UDOMA AVENUE, UYO, AKWA IBOM STATE.

PROTOCOL

On Sunday 8th June, 2014, through divine providence and the collective will of the members of Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio, I was elected the 9th International President of our great organization along with other members of the executive council. This act of expression of concord was ratified by the Mboho General Assembly on Saturday, July 12, 2014. Today by the special grace of God, we are being inaugurated for a four year single term to serve Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio, the entire Ibibio race, indeed Akwa Ibom State and Nigeria at large to the glory of God.

MY GRATITUDE

I wish to express my sincere gratitude to our members for finding me and my executive council members fit for this privilege and responsibility. The meticulously planned and transparently executed electoral process makes Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio stand out as a leading organization and a pathfinder for other organizations to take a queue.

May I acknowledge the patriotic zeal of my predecessors whose untiring efforts have steered the organization to this height. Worthy of specific mention is this edifice which foundation was laid by the sixth past President’s administration, Akparawa Prince Godwin Ntuk Udeh, built upon by the seventh past President Akparawa Sylvester J. Akpan, Ph.D and brought this far by the eighth and immediate past President Akparawa, (Elder) Nse S. Ubeh. We will forever remember Arc. Henry Isangedighi, our Oron brother, for the free donation of the design to this building. Let me at this point invite all of us to rise for a minute silence in honour of the founding President, Late Akparawa Anietie Ekong who laid the Presidential foundation for the growth and development of Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio, a gravitational group of Ibibio people committed to the promotion of communal ideals and societal responsibilities.

2014 ELECTIONS HAVE COME AND GONE

As we fasten our seat belts for take off, let me reiterate here like I had done earlier to a smaller audience that the elections and electioneering campaigns are effectively over and well behind us. What is before us all, officers and members, is the arduous task of moving our organization to the next level from the relics of largely self-inflicted sores arising from individual and collective errors of judgment; mistakes against which we must all stand up to say NEVER AGAIN. Our organization right from inception on August 01, 1987 in Calabar, present day Cross River State has never remained static. It has been steadily moving upward,   taking in its strides, her own fair share of internal adjustments, alignments and   body checks. These dynamics are totally normal and need not overly bother us as long as we stay focused on the major goals and dreams of our union as espoused and handed down by our founding fathers.

Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio is indisputably the foremost socio-cultural organization   in Nigeria today with presence in all the geo-political zones in Nigeria, Europe, United States of America, Cameroun, South Africa and Israel.

MBOHO MKPARAWA IBIBIO MEMBERSHIP

For avoidance of doubt we have two broad groups of membership: Registered     Membership and Honorary Membership. Registered Membership is open to Ibibio sons and daughters by birth. On our roll today, we have over fifteen thousand registered members. The second category which is hononary as the name implies, is open to other individuals who may or may not be of Ibibio origin but persons whose relationship with the Mboho has forged or shall forge close, beneficial and harmonious co-existence with the Mboho and related organizations or interest. Usually these are persons who have contributed practically towards the development of the Mboho and Ibibio land and persons of high social and moral standing. This explanation has become necessary to answer questions I have been asked often by both members and non-members alike as to the statutory criteria for Mboho’s membership.

MY MEMBERSHIP STATUS

Prior to the elections, there was a propaganda casting doubts in some quarters as to my formal induction as a member of our great organization. Some of you had come to me to seek some clarification on this. Therefore to assuage your understandable concerns on this, let me categorically state here, that I was formally inducted by the third past President Akparawa Okon Imerh as a pioneer member during the formal inauguration of Nsit Ibom chapter on 29th May, 1993, and the records are available. The said records were presented to the Mboho Advisory Council on Friday, May 9, 2014 in the heat of the controversy, and it was formally resolved. I am therefore eminently qualified to serve as your International President. This therefore lays to rest and permanently too the ghost of this allegation.

A CALL FOR LEADERSHIP

A flash back at our yesterday will show a societal screen play whose major characters were persons well advanced in age. Thanks to God that we can now boast of a Governor, National Assembly Members, Federal executive council members, States Assembly members and State Executive Council members that are youthful, young at heart and progressive in thoughts. This therefore leaves us members of Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio without excuses to take up daunting leadership roles more than ever before.

GOVERNOR GODSWILL AKPABIO’S SCORE CARD

Let me commend our member and Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Akparawa (Dr) Godswill Obot Akpabio, CON for turning a hitherto pedestrian State to a destination of choice within seven years on the saddle. His infrastructural development and transformation initiative is highly commendable. I think the two terms of Governor Akpabio’s administration of Akwa Ibom State have been very successful and a great lesson to successive leadership and the led in the future. While the politicians should strive to bring out candidates of substance from the primaries, let the populace guide them to bring out credible candidates that will sustain the tempo of development and even surpass the legacies that will be left behind by Governor Godswill Akpabio. Let us shun all forms of violence     and social vices now, during and throughout the elections.

 

STATE OF THE NATION AND THE ON-GOING NATIONAL CONFERENCE

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen let me also briefly comment on the current political situation in our country. The present state of our nation demands a great deal of caution from both leaders and the led, we are face to face with a crisis situation which if not well handled may lead to chaos, anarchy and disintegration. Nigeria is weighed down not only by uncertainties but also by moral, economic and political problems such as corruption, insurgencies, cultism, kidnappings, boko haram and ritual killings. Let us continue to present our country Nigeria, her leaders and the followers to God in prayer so that all may turn a new leaf and be saved from the bleak future that beckons. This country needs stable democratic polity and it is going to take the collective desire, collective sacrifice and sincere contribution of all the tribes, ethnic nationalities, geopolitical and religious groupings that populate this contraption called Nigeria to attain that.

However events and developments in the ongoing National Conference in which delegates from the North and some from the West seem to be united in their plot and conspiracy against the people of Akwa Ibom State by specifically seeking to reintroduce the evil order of off-shore/on-shore oil dichotomy is certainly not going to promote such stability. Their calculation is to reduce Akwa Ibom back into penury and this will surely spell the end of Nigeria as presently constituted, if successfully pushed through. This is because Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio and the rest of Akwa Ibom people have resolved and are poised to resist with the last strength in us any attempt howsoever and by whomsoever to cower Ibibio people and Akwa Ibom people into a union in which we are considered only good enough to remain in servitude even in the appropriation of our natural inheritance.

Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio notes here with pains that Section 134 of the 1960 Constitution and Section 140 of the 1963 Republican Constitution which were the grundnorms and bedrock of the Nigerian State had recognized 200 nautical miles of our continental shelf as areas belonging to each littoral Region for the purposes of computing 50 percent derivation. This served the North and the West well until oil exploration and exploitation became the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy and General Yakubu Gowon abrogated these provisions to enable him and his junta annex the oil resources to their selfish gains by introducing the off-shore/on-shore dichotomy. The outcry from this crass injustice forced the abolition of this unpopular decree thrice in 1975, 1979 and 1992. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo in complicity with his tribesman Bola Ige re-introduced this insidious policy in 2001. And by the time the dust settled we were placated with a paltry 200 feet isobath which the same owners of Nigeria are today dreaming to withdraw. While the bickering and grandstanding by the northern hegemony go on in Abuja the people of Ikot Abasi, Ibeno, Obolo and Oron are in squalor and diseases occasioned by oil spills that have systematically destroyed aquatic life and eco system, gas flaring polluting the atmosphere and pipeline network that have dispossessed us of our farmlands. Once again, we state that we will never continue in this serfdom.

Emphatically we restate here our support for true and fiscal federalism. We are for resource ownership and not resource control like what obtained in the first Republic.

SECURITY OF LIFE AND PROPERTY IN AKWA IBOM STATE

Within Akwa Ibom State we are willing to continue to play our age long hospitable host to all Nigerians and foreigners but we like to warn all concerned to reciprocate this by not taking our love and kindness for granted. We urge visitors and settlers in our land to live in harmony and not undermine the peace reigning in our state. Specifically we do not expect or tolerate importation of violence or insurgency of any scale into our land. We call on the State Government and its security apparatus to be extra vigilant and hard-working to maintain peace and order in the face of perceived threat to the tranquility in our State.

 

MY AGENDA

Dear guests and fellow members, I have been sworn in today as the 9th                         International President of Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio. I have taken the oath of office and allegiance along with my compatriots in the present executive council, our responsibility is to serve the organization and Akwa Ibom State well to justify the confidence you have reposed in us. On behalf of myself and the executive Council, I promise you positive leadership that will not abdicate our duty of furthering and defending our corporate and generational interest, a leadership that will strive for the best through good examples, a leadership that will be transparent, carry members along and not be self-centered.

In pursuance of my vision and mission for the organization, I have set an agenda for my administration which together with my executive and the collective goodwill of the members, will strive to achieve by the grace of God. These are:-

  • We will continue to build on the solid achievements and laudable programmes of the previous administrations. This include prosecuting all remaining internal and external finishing works as well as furnishing and provision of necessary infrastructure befitting of an ultra-modern Secretariat and Community Centre.
  • Seeking and enhancing the welfare of our members as strong and visible   stakeholders in the state and nation from the next political dispensation starting in 2015.
  • Investment in Mboho unity Schools to attract more intakes and make it self-sustaining within the life of my administration.
  • Take off and full operation of Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio Micro-Finance Bank   before the end of 2015.
  • We will work with other stakeholders to position the organization/Ibibio nation in its place of prominence as the 4th largest ethnic nationality in Nigeria while striving to build a proactive, virile and stable organization where peace, love, unity, progress, fairness and justice shall be guiding principles for service to our members and fatherland.
  • We will continue to build bridges of unity and promote peaceful co-existence among other ethnic groups in our state based on mutual respect and the recognition of Ibibio as the largest and the prime stake-holder in Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria.
  • We will also, as a matter of exigency, work to review and amend our current constitution to make the Mboho more virile, stronger and much more responsive to our needs and current realities.

Furthermore, let me state that my presidency will not join issues with anybody or divide and rule the organization in any form for any reason. This is because I am conscious of the fact that I need every member to succeed. Consequently, I hereby extend my hand of fellowship to all members of Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio and Ibibio sons and daughters all over the world to come and let us build together.

Accordingly this administration, in due consultation with the relevant organs of the organization, will be disposed to reviewing all cases of estranged members wherever and whenever there is sufficient proof of remorsefulness from such erring member and each case will be treated strictly on its own merit. And where amnesty is to be granted same shall be considered without undue prejudices. In all cases the overriding consideration will remain the interest and reputation of Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio which I have today sworn to uphold.

I intend to continue from where my predecessors stopped and together with my           executive, I will pursue vigorously viable economic programmes for the empowerment of the organization and her members.

Ladies and gentlemen we have just 4 years. Yes 4 short years within which to deliver all that we have to do. This 4 year-tenure has started, counting down from today. So I urge every one of us, as true and practicing men and women of God, to exercise a little bit of love and mutual respect for each other and be charitable and truthful in our criticism where and when we have to criticize.

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen, members of the press, the Grand Patron, Advisory Council, Royal and Spiritual fathers, associates, admirers and the general public, the task ahead is enormous and I count on your support. I therefore plead with you to continue to keep your doors open for we will always call for wise counsel and inputs in the course of trying to achieve the targets we have set for ourselves.

 

Thank you and God bless.

Akparawa (Elder) Monday Etokakpan, JP