Ngba Ndiak Obolo, a socio-economical and cultural platform of the Obolo people of Akwa Ibom State, has said it will no longer take crumbs from the government and forces that had kept them marginalized for decades.
Speaking during its official inauguration, the Chief Host and Chairman of Ibeno Local Government Council, Mr. Ifum Henry, who expressed appreciation for the birth of Ngba Ndiak Obolo, said the envisaged bright future for the Obolo people can only be achieved through love, unity and peace.
According to the Ibeno Council Chairman, “I am a man of love, I am a man of peace, and I am a man of unity. Wherever I go, I speak these virtues and I want to see the conspicuous reality of these virtues in Obolo land. Time has come for Eastern Obolo and Ibeno to coexist in love and unity for the development of the area. And if we are saying No More Crumbs, we must first of all exude these virtues within us.”
Mr. Henry said he was glad that a new dawn has come to the people of Obolo, stressing “I am very glad because I know something new has happened. I know nothing can obstruct it when we agree to work together. We will ever be making progress.”
In his address, the Board of Trustees Chairman of Ngba Ndiak Obolo and former member of the State House of Assembly and, Sir Adasi Ubulom, said “Ngba Ndiak Obolo is a forum of men and women who have decided that they would by their sweat, cause the irrigation that will water the development of Obolo land. As the forum finds its foot solidly on ground, the Obolo people in unity will recover the years that the locusts have eaten.”
“We must not allow ourselves to be swallowed up by the unfriendly crowd around us. We must resist the temptation and attempt by our neighbours who in their selfish disposition see us as orphans and making plans to adopt us. They have called us the Niger Delta Ibibio in their History Books. But I believe my father, who told me that we are full blooded Obolos of the Ijaw tribe. My father told me that the Obolos have their history. My father in the 1960s told me as a young child that the Obolos included the Ohafia and the Oro. He didn’t tell me anything outside this. He told me that the Oboloman was a brave warrior. That the Oboloman believes in hard work, though always accommodating strangers sometimes to a fault,” he explained.
The former lawmaker said, though “Ngba Ndiak Obolo has been born, it can be killed by the metal objects of politics,” adding that posterity will not forgive any Obolo, who by selfish reasons embark on things that will cause the disintegration of the body.
Sir Ubulom ended by saying “We must support government at the federal and state level to succeed. But if we are marginalized, we must speak out, not by carrying weapons of war, but using constitutional windows. We cannot lay the golden egg and begin to go on forced fasting. This is ungodly. We have not been accommodated well in this dispensation. No testimonies on our lips. The Bible frowns at the situation where a slave rides on horseback, while princes go on foot like slaves.”
In his opening remarks, the International President of Ngba Ndiak Obolo, Apostle Samuel Ekah, said the emergence of the body “is a wakeup call to the Obolo people.”
He appreciated the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, for his administration’s magnanimity towards the people of the area, adding “what we really want is to take ownership of our wealth.”
Also speaking, the Senior Pastor of Insight Bible Church, Dr Sylvanus Ukafia, explained that “the event, which brings together the people of Obolo nation both at home and in the Diaspora, is intended to mobilize and galvanize the various aspect of Obolo nation into one progressive ethnic bloc that is capable of harnessing our vast potentials and abundant resources towards the actualization of our lofty dreams for the greater good of all.”
He commended the organizer of the event for the “very noble initiative, for the efforts they have made.”
Dr Ukafia further informed that “All over the world, people are realizing that there is strength in unity, and ethnic identity and nationalism are becoming important principle. Contemporary political reality requires that the people organized themselves based on shared identity to realize improvement in their condition of living. I therefore considered the theme of this event very salutary, viewed against the backdrop of our common experience as a so-called minority group in the Nigerian social formation.”
In their remarks, the Paramount Ruler of Ibeno and Eastern Obolo, Owong Effiong Archianga and Uboon Harry Etetor, the royal fathers charged the people of the area to make unity their watchword, maintaining that “with resolute minds, we can surely move mountain and cross the River Jordan to our promised land where the philosophy of No More Crumbs would be actualized.”
They also appealed to the body includes in its 2018 Action Plan, through sustain advocacy, the urgent need for the relocation of ExxonMobil Headquarters to Ibeno; completion of Upenekang-Atabrikang Road; construction of Okoroette –Elue Road; payment of 2012 and 2014 oil spills compensation to host communities, among others.
In his goodwill message, a former Deputy Vice Chancellor of Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Professor Ebong Eshett, said “we must remain united more than ever before, recognize talents that abound in our midst and project them as much as possible to the state and federal levels and ensure that the organization stamps its footprints on the of time.”
He further promised to help the body in mapping out strategies for the education of youths of the area “and ensuring that they make themselves available for the eventual political, social and economic development of Obolo Nattion.”
Ati Annang, foremost socio-cultural group, who also gave a goodwill message, lauded Ngba Ndiak Obolo for its right steps towards the emancipation of its people.
The body also demonstrated its solidarity and encouragement to Ngba Ndiak Obolo through the donation of financial support.
Highpoints of the event included cultural display and presentation of Award of Excellence to deserving sons and daughters of the area including late professor Eyo Ita; Professor Ebong Eshett; Rt. Hon. Okpolupm Etteh; Hon. Sammy Ekpenyong; late Paramount Ruler of Eastern Obolo, Uboon Ukafia Owen; Paramount Ruler of Ibeno and his Eastern Obolo counterpart, Owong Effiong Archianga, and Uboon Harry Etetor, among others.