A post on my friend, Ofonimeh Isong’s, wall under the headline: “2019 Desperation: Real Reasons why A’Ibom government shunned AKISAN”, was quite revealing.

An aspect of that post pointed out that the US branch of the Akwa Ibom State Association (AKISAN) took certain actions in connection with its 2017 annual convention, which, according to the original author, ridiculed the state government at ” expense to the people”

What is “the interest of the people”, at whose expense, it is now claimed, the government has been ridiculed?

Is AKISAN an appendage of the government?

Are those who, it is now claimed that AKISAN favoured, not Akwa Ibom citizens or are they any less from Akwa Ibom simply because they are not in government?

Of what general importance is the governments boycott or no boycott of the AKISAN Convention to the lives of our ordinary people, some of whom have never seen Uyo with their eyes, let alone being aware of AKISAN or the government for that matter?

This whole thing smacks of undiluted nonsense. I am getting increasingly worried that ego and pride are gradually and consistently being justified under the banner of state protocol.

In my view, AKISAN is a mere Association, the location of one of its branches in the United States being of no special moment. That government officials regularly troop to its annual convention in the US is nothing more than meaningless showmanship.

If a Maiduguri branch of AKISAN is ever established, would we hear of a government boycott or of Nsima’s chairmanship of the event?

The US branch of AKISAN must hold itself liable, and squarely so, for its own politicisation and for any consequence therefrom. I cannot see why their convention cannot hold without the Governor in attendance and without the government being involved. Their penchance for welcoming mainly politicians from home to important roles at the convention proper must surely raise strong questions with regards to the validity of their own internal objectives and with concern for the comprehensivity of the Association’s broader Akwa Ibom development agenda.

A proper sociology of the current challenges would establish a firm locus in the immediate history of the organisation’s relationship with the power elite of Akwa Ibom state.

While it is safe to believe that this relationship has been established for the promotion of the general good, it is no less safe to believe that underlying this objective has been the less altruistic tendency towards personal “enlightenment” within the dynamics of the relationship.

Herein rests the hand of the giver, the proverbial upper hand, and herein dwells the basis of the current distemper from the government. Having been the “hand on top” these past few political years, Uyo is used to calling the shots in distant America. Uyo is not used to any other role.

This is why the AKISAN project has, over time, come to be perceived as a government forum; as an extension of the governor’s PR Juggernaut, albeit targeted at the foreign league.

With these being said, however, hope is not lost. AKISAN may well now have the opportunity to return to its lineage and to its primary responsibility to its principal constituency in the US. It now also has the opportunity to revisit its official relationships with the government and to realise that, powerful as the government might be, its relationship with the state cannot be through the government alone and that beyond the government and the governor, there are six million other Akwa Ibom citizens here, there and yonder

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