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When Ememobong challenged Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio to return to path of progress, unity

Akwa Ibom strengthens access to justice as CJ swears in 182 customary court members

The Ibibio people are a coastal people in southern Nigeria. They are predominantly found in present day Akwa Ibom and parts of Cross River States. They share a lot of similarities with the Efik people, and are regarded as the fourth largest ethnic group in Nigeria.

During the colonial period in Nigeria, the Ibibio people through the famous Ibibio Union asked for recognition by the British as a sovereign state, and this demand brought them prominence as one of the virile and dynamic ethnic groups in Nigeria.

To assert themselves as focal race with the ability to further the development of their people, on the 1st of August, 1987, twelve patriotic Ibibio sons came together to form what has since metamorphosed into a renowned socio-cultural and pressure organisation, the Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio.

Though its main aim at formation was the promotion of the Ibibio culture, tradition and dignity of the Ibibio, nay Akwa Ibom people, the organisation is also out to promote social and economic development of its members. The cardinal programmes of Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio are the promotion of inter-ethnic relationships within the body politics of Nigeria. As a mark of this, Mboho has indeed deliberately admitted into her membership though honorary, but distinguished and eminent non-Ibibios.

While the contributions and vitality of Mboho Mkparawa Ibibio in pushing and shaping national discourse, especially as it affects the Ibibio race may not be in contention, there are however, growing concerns in some quarters about the seeming lull that has characterised this once-upon-a-time vibrant and vociferous organisation.

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Whereas the current leadership of the apex Ibibio socio-cultural organisation headed by the 11th International President Akparawa James Edet, (NPOM) has identified that something is urgently required to relaunch the group out of hiatus, it is imperative to note that since his inauguration in July last year, Akparawa James Edet has hit the ground running with laudable programmes, including the instigation of moves deliberately designed to return impetus to the organisation, thus ensuring that it would not only bark but also have the courage to bite when it becomes necessary.

At the last general meeting of the Central Working Committee (CWC) of the organisation, held on Sunday, 8th January, 2023, at the International Secretariat Complex, Udo Udoma Avenue, Uyo, the Guest Speaker, and Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Akwa Ibom State, Ini Ememobong, profoundly raised thought-provoking questions which stirred up palpable disquiet in the body and spirit of many of the attendees.

While the Commissioner called their minds to a number of critical issues affecting the unity of the Ibibios, he emphasised that as one of the largest ethnic groups in Nigeria, there was the need to clearly define what the “true identity and dream” of an Ibibio person is, within the context of the polity of Nigeria.

“We must not allow politics to break the cord of our unity as a people. We must come back as a race and ask ourselves some critical questions. The Ibibios must find time to retreat, not with antagonism towards one another, but with internal cooperation towards how we can strengthen our bond.”

Also, he said: “We must understand that political powers are derived from economic powers. Therefore, we must encourage our people to invest in critical sectors of the economy. Mboho must also be an agenda-setting organisation for the government, and we must be objective about it.”

While advocating for the establishment of a non-partisanship conflict resolution mechanism with a bias to manage and resolve all intra and inter tribal differences within the Ibibios, Ememobong called on all elders of Ibibio extraction to leverage their privileged status with a view of achieving a just, equitable, fair and a harmonious state.