… The Rev Ntia Ntia, CAN Connection
By Lawrence Ekpo
Youths of Itu Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State have cried out over what they claimed to be the unlawful, disrespectful, corrupt and selfish interest exuded by the Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Barrister Onofiok Luke, the State Chapter of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and the member representing the area in the House of Assembly, Hon. Idongesit Ituen, in the politics and governance of the Local Government Area. The development, which the youths described as a macabre dance stirred by Speaker Luke and Prince Ituen, is already causing imbroglios across the Local Government Area. According to findings, the situation, if not carefully handled by the State Governor and stakeholders of the area, might lead to loss of life and property.
Confiding in our reporter under the condition of anonymity, one of the local government council stakeholders stated that “the problem started from the alleged financial misappropriation and impropriety on the immediate past Transition Chairman, Mrs. Elsie Esara, to the unlawful and disrespectful foisting of one Pastor Fortune Archibong Umoh by Onofiok Luke and Prince Idongesit Ituen on the people of the area who hold the principle of zoning and rotation of political offices sacrosanct.”
According to the anonymous stakeholder, “Idongesit Ituen took Pastor Fortune to the Speaker who in turn took the supposed Transition Chairman to the Senior Pastor of Full Life Christian Centre, Pastor Ntia Ntia, to package and hand him over to the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr. Udo Ekpenyong for onward delivery to the Governor. Unfortunately, after the Commissioner handed the boy to the Governor, the Governor did not consult with the stakeholders that have been working for him in the Local Government Area, which was against his earlier instruction that the stakeholders must meet to bring out a candidate of their choice.”
Explaining further, the anonymous stakeholder said “Now, the Governor said he has interest in Ward-1, which produced the last two Transition Chairmen but the people wanted him to shift it to Ward-2 which had never produced a Local Government Council Chairman. Unfortunately, that did not work because Prince Idongesit Ituen scuttled that move. So, when the new list of Transition Committee was formed and the Governor sought Senator Anietie Okon’s view, the Senator and other stakeholders protested and that ultimately led to the suspension of the inauguration of Itu Local Government Transition Committee.”
“Itu Local Government Area has ten (10) Wards and the stakeholders had agreed that each Ward should appoint a nominee. Because of that agreement, the House of Representatives’ member, Dr Henry Archibong dropped his own Ward from the arrangement so that other Wards can have a nominee each. But the botched list had two nominees from Ward-1; two nominees from Ward-9, leaving Wards-2, 5 and 8 empty. The choice of Pastor Fortune Archibong completely negated the zoning arrangement we have been enjoying in Itu. And come to think of it, Ward 1 has produced the Chairman in the last two transition committees. Why should Ward 1 produce two members from the same clan of Oku? Note that Ward 1 consists of two clans, Oku and Itu. This is madness by our assessment. The House of Assembly Member is known for his insatiable quest for excessive power. We remember how he used his position as State Assistant Secretary III of the PDP to cheat so many people and wards out from political engagements. When he became the transition committee Chairman in Itu in 2011, we also know how he allocated market stalls and shops to himself, family members and cronies. This is the same man who sponsored some renegades to write a petition bordering on financial impropriety against the immediate past transition chairman, Mrs. Elsie Esara. We understand that Ituen will never be part of any system that wants things done in an orderly manner. Ituen left his ward open and nominated Mr. Ukpono Nta from Ward 9, even after Mr. Aniefiok Udoh was already nominated from same ward 9 and village of Nung Ukot Itam. Why must he leave his ward? Is it that his ward does not have people that can fit in a transition committee?” he explained.
“To show you the level of insult, the House of Assembly member, Prince Idongesit ituen, with a disruptive intention, installed two nominees whereas Senator Anietie Okon; the Commissioner for Housing and Special Duties, Mr. Akan Okon, and the House of Representatives’ member, Dr Henry Archibong had one each in that list,” he maintained.
On why the Akwa Ibom State Chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), who should be nonpartisan, picked interest in the politics of Itu Local Government Area, a visibly angry stakeholder said “Why should CAN be interested in Itu politics? Rev. Ntia Ntia should not foray into politics lest he rubbishes his calling and anointing. I want to state here categorically that Hon. Idongesit Ituen is causing so much problems in the LGA using external forces because he knows he is not on ground and in-tune with his constituents. The Speaker of the State House of Assembly should see himself as an intermediary factor in the politics of the state and not as an impostor. Itu loves him as a youth but he should not take this love for granted. How can the Speaker condescend so low to think that he can upstage a man in the character and person of Distinguished Senator Anietie Okon, the undisputed Political Leader of Itu, by hiding under his Pastor, Rev. Ntia Ntia to foist Pastor Fortune Archibong (a pastor in his church) on the people of Itu. Is this one of the Speaker’s attempt to place his structures preparatory to his 2023 Gubernatorial ambition? Why does he want to start it with Itu LGA? We advise that our friendly Speaker desists from such act as it is capable of pitching him against the people of Itu. Rev. Ntia Ntia has built a reputable name in God’s Ministry and the best he could do is to remain so. He comes from Ibiono Ibom LGA and not Itu. If he wants to choose somebody for chairmanship, he should go to his Local Government and leave Itu alone. We respect his office because some of us are his members, but we will stop at nothing to resist, even with our blood any attempt to want to use his office as Pastor to rubbish an existing political structure of peace in the LGA. We are aware of his plans to use the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to stage a protest on behalf of Pastor Fortune Archibong. We will not fold our hands to see all of that happen. He should drop his kangaroo CAN ploy and allow stakeholders and senior citizens of Itu Local Government Area to take decisions on their choice of Local Government Council Chairman. CAN should be able to define their role in the society and distinguish clearly between politics and religion. Of course that inauguration could not hold water because God himself never supported it. The uprightness of the whole process that led to the selection of Fortune Archibong is surrounded with many questions begging for answers”, the stakeholder added.
On what the people want, the stakeholder said, “All we stand for is that our political leader must be respected and consulted when decisions as important as the choice of the LGA chairman are made. The Governor must understand that these men are trying to unsettle his stronghold in Itu, which means that their motive is evil. The Governor must also know that Senator Anietie Okon is probably the most resilient and outspoken elder he has around him in the state. When he is addressed in public fora as the Lion of the Niger Delta, it is not for fun”.
Our reporter reliably learned that the aggrieved youths from various Wards are ready for a showdown should justice, fairness and equity is sacrificed on the altar of greed, disrespect for stakeholders as allegedly orchestrated by the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, CAN and Prince Idongesit Ituen.