Unknown to most Akwa Ibom people, there exists an indigenous Igbo community in Ukanafun Local Government Area called Ohaobu but whose name and claim to the hosting right to a gas facility are highly contested by their neighbours
Akwa Ibom’s Indigenous Igbo
By Inemesit Ina
Whenever ethnicity is mentioned in Akwa Ibom State, what easily comes to mind is the tripod – Ibibio, Annang and Oro. It took a long struggle before Ekid (people of Eket and Esit Eket Local Government Areas) and Obolo (people of Eastern Obolo and Ibeno Local Government Areas) could be accepted by the Big Three in the 1990s as separate ethnic groups from the Ibibio.
But unknown to most people of the state, there exists three other indigenous ethnic groups in the state – Efik, Igbo and Ogoni, the Small Three, whose kith and kin are more in neighbouring Cross River, Abia and Rivers States.
The Efik, who speak almost the same language with the Ibibio and Annang, is the most populous of the three, what with three Efik-speaking clans (mainly descendants of Efik settlers who speak Efik as a first or only indigenous language) in Akwa Ibom State. These clans include two in Itu Local Government Area (LGA) and a substantial, if not majority, part of one in Okobo LGA. Interestingly, Itu is in the Ibibio heartland while Okobo is one of the five LGAs of Oro Nation.
The Igbo and the Ogoni are ensconced in a village each in Ukanafun and Oruk Anam, two neighbouring LGAs dominated by the Annang.
Geography of Akwa Ibom’s Own Igbo
Ohaobu Ndoki, as Akwa Ibom’s indigenous Igbo call their village, is located in Southern Ukanafun Clan and precisely in Ward II. The village is about seven kilometres from the local government headquarters, Ikot Akpa Nkuk.
She is bounded on the east by Ikot Inyang Udo, on the south by Edem Idim, still in the same ward, on the north by Ikpe Annang village of Etim Ekpo LGA and on the west by the Blue River which separates Ohaobu people from their kith and kin in Ukwa West LGA of Abia State and Oyigbo LGA in Rivers State.
Going around the village, which is quite large and rustic, she is no different from a typical Akwa Ibom village in terms of environment. The only thing that sets her apart is the Igbo spoken by almost everyone. This makes it difficult to believe that one is in Akwa Ibom.
Though the Akwa Ibom State Government recognizes Ikot Inyang Udo II (Ohaobu) as one village, the people, on their own, divide themselves into four villages – Akpala, Okpikro, Umuchuta and Ohaobu.
Numbering over 2,000, Ohaobu people belong to the Ndoki, an Igbo sub-ethnic group. The Ndoki and their Asa cousins dominate Ukwa West and Ukwa East, the only two oil-producing LGAs in Abia State, and Oyigbo, an oil-producing LGA in Rivers State which boasts of the famed Afam Power Station located in Okoloma.
“We are the Ndoki of Akwa Ibom State,” explains Pastor Magnus Kamanu, the Secretary of Ohaobu Village Council. “Ndoki are balkanized into three states. The river demarcates us from other states.”
The people’s occupations are mainly farming and fishing. In the past, the Blue River, which harbour is in Ohaobu, was a beehive of activities including smuggling (from Cameroon to Aba) and oil bunkering done largely by non-indigenous criminals and some local accomplices. Apparently, that necessitated the establishment by the Federal Government of a customs’ post not far from Ohaobu.
The people are mainly Christians of the Anglican faith. Christ Army Church and Assemblies of God Church also have many adherents in the village.
How Ohaobu Became Part of Akwa Ibom
Ohaobu used to be part of old Imo State (from which Abia State was created in 1991). In 1987, the village was made part of old Cross River State (from which Akwa Ibom State was created shortly after) by the Federal Government.
The river was used as a natural boundary, based on the recommendation of the Boundary Adjustment Committee chaired by Late Alhaji Kaloma Ali, a lawyer and politician who subsequently served as Minister for Solid Minerals’ Development during the regime of his close associate, Late General Sani Abacha.
Ohaobu or Ikot Inyang Udo II: Much Ado About a Name
There is a long-running dispute about the name of the village. The Akwa Ibom State Government in its Gazette (2000), which this writer sighted, recognizes the village as Ikot Inyang Udo II. This is the name Ohaobu’s Annang neighbours in Ukanafun and Etim Ekpo LGAs call the village. But the Ohaobu people vehemently reject this name.
It is obviously a measure of how the people are fervent about the Ohaobu name that the Eze-elect of the village, Chief Lucky Nwosu, rejected his certificate of recognition as the Village Head from the State Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs in November, last year, simply because Ikot Inyang Udo II, not Ohaobu, was written on the certificate.
“Let them give me the certificate in the name of Ohaobu,” Nwosu pleads.
According to him, the State Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr. Udo Ekpenyong, himself a former elected Chairman of Ukanafun Local Government (1996-1997), has assured him that the name will be corrected when the State Government tackles the issue of omitted clans and villages. His claim could not be ascertained as Ekpenyong could not be reached as at press time.
The Political Leader of Ukanafun LGA, Obong Eno Akpan, declined to speak on the name controversy when contacted. As elected Chairman of the local government (1997-1998), Akpan hosted then State Military Administrator, Navy Captain Joseph Adeusi (now deceased) during a visit to Ohaobu in 1997, the first and only such visit by a State Chief Executive. Akpan went on to serve as the Member of the House of Representatives for Ukanafun/Oruk Anam Federal Constituency (1999-2003) and later as State Commissioner successively for Lands and Housing, Agriculture and Environment and Mineral Resources (2009-2016). Today, he and Ekpenyong are the most influential politicians in Ukanafun and Nwosu hopes on their support on the name issue.
The Ohaobu leader pleads that they should be allowed to bear the name they want like the Obolo and Ogoni people of the state.
His words: “What is in the Gazette is Ikot Inyang Udo II. That is the problem of Ohaobu. People like Eastern Obolo have not changed their name. People like Warife in Oruk Anam have not changed their name. They speak Ogoni. All we want is our name to be in the Gazette as Ohaobu and not Ikot Inyang Udo II. That name has cost us a lot. Our barrier is this name. When we were in Imo State, we were recognized and put in the Gazette as four villages. In Akwa Ibom State, we are recognized as one village. We were called Ohaobu in Cross River State but in Akwa Ibom State, we are called Ikot Inyang Udo II. We won the case of name change against Ikot Inyang Udo at the Court of Appeal. We are proud to be in Akwa Ibom.”
The Ohaobu Youth Leader, Mr. Simeon Nwaubani, is more vociferous: “We have our fundamental human rights which include identity, culture and tradition. We were in Cross River State before Akwa Ibom State was created. We were handed over to old Cross River State with the name Ohaobu Ndoki for administrative convenience. We were not handed over to be marginalized or to lose our identity, our name, culture and tradition as a people. We cannot just change our name.”
The Senator representing Akwa Ibom North-West Senatorial District in the Senate, Dr. Chris Ekpenyong, is sympathetic to their cause. Ekpenyong, who as the State Deputy Governor in 2001, visited and attracted three infrastructural projects to the village, says: “Decree 25 of 1987 gave them a new name, Ikot Inyang Udo II. But they don’t want to answer Ikot Inyang Udo II. And you can’t force people. This is democracy. You have to use diplomacy. You have to manage them. They can’t carry the land away.”
The Member representing Ukanafun/Oruk Anam Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, Mr. Unyime Idem, is an indigene of Ukanafun, unlike Ekpenyong who is from Obot Akara LGA.
He disagrees with the Senator. Says he, “For me, since they have been integrated into the state, they should bear Ikot Inyang Udo II because that is an Akwa Ibom name. When they continue to bear Ohaobu, the impression is that they are still part of another state. So, the name should be Ikot Inyang Udo II. To give them proper integration, they should bear Akwa Ibom name. That is my opinion. By the time I interact with them, I will also hear their opinion.”
He rejects the comparison between the Ohaobu people on one hand and the Ogoni people of Oruk Anam and the Eastern Obolo people on the other hand: “These people, I think, are closer to us than the other areas you are talking about.”
The State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Barr. Uwemedimo Nwoko, delves into history to support the Ikot Inyang Udo II name. “There are Igbo people in that community,” he says. “There are also indigenous Ukanafun people there. The question is what was the name of the village before they came as traders, crossed the water and settled there. That is simply the history the people are trying to erase. The place was in existence before they came. For them to come and paint the picture that they are the founders of that place is when their history will fail them.”
The Member representing Ukanafun State Constituency in the House of Assembly, Dr. Charity Ido, harps on the name contained in the State Government Gazette but gives room for negotiation: “I cannot come and change their name or tell them to bear this or that. So, whatever is in the Gazette for them, let them bear that. If by negotiation, the name is changed, Ukanafun will raise no objection.”
The Chairman of Ukanafun Local Government, Prince Uko Idiong, too, places emphasis on the Gazette: “That community is Ikot Inyang Udo II in the gazetted record of the State Government. It is something that has been there for years. So, why the change of name? They are in Akwa Ibom. All their things they do in Akwa Ibom, in Ukanafun Local Government Area. No discrimination. They are part of the local government area.”
Chief Friday Uko, the Clan Head of Southern Ukanafun, a clan of three wards under which fall Ohaobu and 20 other villages, speaks in similar vein: “My take is that their correct name is Ikot Inyang Udo II. That is what is in the Gazette. But the people of Ohaobu don’t want that. There is nothing we can do about that. We cannot manufacture another name. They cannot change it. We have to follow what is in the Gazette.”
The monarch points out that the Ohaobu people have a choice if they cannot accept the Ikot Inyang Udo II name. “If they say they are not Ikot Inyang Udo II, they can go to their brothers on the other side of the river,” he suggests. “Their root is from the other side of the river. They came here as traders and fishermen. As long as they are here, they must take the Annang name or leave.”
Uko, however, is quick to make it clear that he does not discriminate against the Ohaobu people in his clan, promising them inclusion in his soon-to-be constituted Clan Council once their Village Head is recognized by the State Government. “We don’t discriminate whatsoever,” he stresses. “They are Ukanafun people. We cannot say they are strangers. There is none of them that does not understand Annang language though they pretend.”
When the Name Change Dispute Turned Violent
On January 10, 2005, a State Government delegation was in Ohaobu to commission the renovated Primary Health Centre. Everything was going well until the commissioner who led the delegation commissioned the project as Primary Health Centre, Ikot Inyang Udo II, instead of Ohaobu written on the wall. There were shouts of disapproval. And as soon as the State Government delegation left, all hell was let loose. There was bedlam. The ward councillor then, Mr. Godwin Ekpe, from neighbouring Ikot Inyang Udo, was accused by irate Ohaobu youths of masterminding the sudden name change. He had to be smuggled out of the venue to escape lynching by the mob.
Looking back now, Nwosu says Ekpe was innocent.
Rapprochement with Ikot Inyang Udo
The people of Ohaobu and Ikot Inyang Udo have long been at loggerheads. Ikot Inyang Udo people traditionally consider Ohaobu people settlers on their land, hence their rejection of the name, Ohaobu, in preference for Ikot Inyang Udo II which is in the State Government Gazette.
The two villages were even embroiled in a bitter legal dispute over the ownership of Ohaobu land and the name of the village.
The hostility between them played out when Ikot Inyang Udo people supported Ikpe Annang people of Etim Ekpo in their tussle with Ohaobu people over ownership of the land on which a Nigerian Gas Company (NGC) facility is located.
But all that seems to belong to the past.
Ekpe, presently the Political Leader of Ward II, says the people of Ikot Inyang Udo and Ohaobu are now together: “We are together. There is no problem whatsoever. We are one. We want peace. We are not claiming that village again.”
Then Ekpe drops a bombshell. He now backs the name Ohaobu: “My village, Ikot Inyang Udo, has no problem concerning that name again. That problem had long been solved. You cannot force a name on somebody. We have all agreed on that name peacefully. Government should recognize Ikot Inyang Udo II as Ohaobu. As a leader, I don’t want any problem in Ward II. The Government should change their name for them. They should give them their identity because they are already in Akwa Ibom State.”
Yet Another Dispute: The Location of the NGC Facility
Another age-long dispute in the area is the location of a facility of the NGC built in 1996. The facility serves as a junction station for the gas pipeline which starts from Alakiri in Rivers State and runs to Ikot Abasi in Akwa Ibom State, serving the Aluminium Smelter Company (ALSCON) and Ibom Power Plant. Seven Energy, a gas company, has built a second station, beside the NGC facility, to tap the gas.
Both Ohaobu and Ikpe Annang claim the land.
Nwaubani, the youth leader, is adamant that Ohaobu is the host community: “Their facilities are in our community and we are the host community. The land belongs to Ohaobu.”
A prominent leader in Ikpe Annang, Engr. Akanimo Edet, who served as elected Chairman of Etim Ekpo Local Government (1996-1997) and House of Assembly Member for Etim Ekpo/Ika State Constituency (2007-2011), would have none of that. “Ikpe Annang is the host community of NGC, not Ohaobu. It is in Ikpe Annang. It is settled and sealed, no doubt whatsoever,” he asserts.
Edet, however, clarifies that Ikpe Annang people are not quarrelling with Ohaobu people: “We have a natural boundary. We are in-laws. We don’t quarrel. The quarrel was over the boundary dispute when NGC came.”
So, who does the NGC recognize as the host community?
A top official at the NGC Office in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Mrs. Willieba Albert, who was contacted, stated that she had no authority to speak on the matter. She referred this writer to the NGC Managing Director or Public Affairs Manager at the Head Office in Warri, Delta State. All efforts to reach the two top officials were unsuccessful as at press time.
What about NGC’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to the host community?
Idiong says nothing has come to Ukanafun Local Government from the company. “I am planning to write to NGC to assist Ukanafun,” the Chairman reveals.
On her part, Ido, the state legislator, vows to push so that Ohaobu and Ukanafun, in general, get their due from NGC.
Nwaubani laments that that the only benefits to Ohaobu have been payment of compensation for economic trees and provision of a non-functional water borehole by NGC, construction of a mini-town hall by Seven Energy and the employment of two security men by NGC and one by Seven Energy.
His words: “NGC provided borehole water 10 years ago which stopped after three years. Seven Energy built a mini-town hall three years ago. Apart from the compensation they (NGC) paid for economic trees, nothing else. For the past five years, NGC has not been communicating with the community for employment. Their security consultant, Prof. Ime Udotong, who is from Ikpe Annang, on his own, employed two persons from Ohaobu and two from Ikpe Annang. Seven Energy employed one security man from Ohaobu. Security is a sub-contract. We want direct employment. There is no direct employee from Ohaobu in NGC or Seven Energy.”
On the other hand, Edet of Ikpe Annang says his people have benefitted from NGC as the host community. He enumerates those benefits to include scholarship awards, employment, provision of borehole water and road grading.
Besides, he declares that “we have one of the best primary schools in Akwa Ibom State equipped by NGC.”
Nonetheless, he adds, “NGC has been doing well. But we want more. Myself and the Local Government Chairman are trying to reopen contact with NGC after the Etim Ekpo conflict.”
The Chairman of Etim Ekpo Local Government, Mr. Udeme Eduo, who served as Vice Chairman when Adeusi visited Ohaobu in 1997, corroborates Edet’s assertion that the cult violence that ravaged Etim Ekpo and Ukanafun between 2017 and 2018 stopped NGC’s CSR in Ikpe Annang. He discloses that he is planning to visit the NGC office in Port Harcourt to renew the relationship.
“Etim Ekpo is safe now for them to come and help us,” the Chairman declares.
He, however, wants future assistance to pass through the Local Government and not directly to the host community to avoid another outbreak of violence there over the sharing of the largesse.
“Before now, they (NGC) have been complaining, they pass the assistance to the Village Head, the youths and there have been problems. That caused crisis. They should pass through the Local Government for coordination,” Eduo admonishes.
Udotong, the NGC security consultant who is a University of Uyo don, failed to speak on the matter after earlier promising to do so. Interestingly, while Udotong, himself, hails from Ikpe Annang, his sister was married to the late Ohaobu traditional ruler, Eze Ben Onuoha. This, ostensibly, explains the huge presence of not only Ikpe Annang people but Ohaobu people as well during Udotong’s inaugural lecture at the University of Uyo, last year.
Ohaobu’s Infrastructural Deficit
Ohaobu lacks critical infrastructure – road, electricity and pipe-borne water. There is no secondary school in the village while the primary school has three dilapidated classroom blocks.
“Our electricity project was commissioned by the State Government in 2009 and it lasted for one week,” laments Nwosu.
He appeals to the State Government to fix the seven-kilometre Anwa Uyo – Ohaobu Road, leading from the Local Government headquarters, and the Federal Government to fix the Ohaobu – Azumini Road which leads to Aba, the commercial capital of Abia State.
Idiong says he is tackling the decrepit road infrastructure in Ukanafun as a whole through grading which would soon get to Ohaobu.
He explains that he was unable to do much in Ukanafun because of the cult violence that engulfed the entire area. With the restoration of peace, the Chairman assures that he is determined to develop the area, pointing to his restoration of electricity at the Local Government secretariat after seven years of blackout as a sign of good things to come.
His secretary, Elder Essien Akpanudo, hints that his boss is planning to provide Ohaobu with borehole water.
Both Ekpenyong and Idem, the federal legislators, say they are hoping to attract development to the village through the Border Areas’ Development Agency.
Ekpenyong, who says he is very familiar with the area, recalls how he got then Governor Victor Attah in 2001 to approve N30 million for the provision of borehole water and renovation of the Primary Health Centre (built by Adeusi) and classroom blocks at Central School, all in Ohaobu.
As Senator now, Ekpenyong declares that his target is to locate a project or programme in each of the 108 wards in his senatorial district, promising that Ward II, of which Ohaobu is a part, will benefit.
He says he owes Ukanafun people a lot as they gave him the highest votes in his election.
Idem discloses that he intends to visit Ohaobu this March to hear directly from the people. “That meeting will create a platform for me to interact with them so that I can know their challenges and that will help me to attend to their needs. I want to hold the interaction in their community,” he explains.
On her part, Ido waxes emotional: “My heart is with them. They voted for me to be where I am. If you go there, you will see that they have a health centre that needs rehabilitation. It is a place I have been to, not once, not twice. So, by the grace of God, I am thinking that health centre needs to be rehabilitated. You see, they have light that needs to be worked on. In fact, the entire community needs rehabilitation. It is a part of Ukanafun State Constituency and, by the grace of God, all that I need to do for every other place, I am going to do for them too.”
Ekpe, the Ward II leader, says the infrastructural deficit is not limited to Ohaobu but afflicts the entire ward. He laments that there is only one secondary school in the whole ward of nine villages while six of the nine primary schools are in bad condition.
“There is no development at all in Ward II,” he laments.
Ekpe wants the State Government to construct a bridge across the water to Rivers State which government has already constructed a road to Obetie, the last community in Oyigbo LGA. He also appeals to the State Government to restore the Special Development Area status which covered Ohaobu and Ikot Inyang Udo.
“Attah declared Ohaobu and Ikot Inyang Udo Special Development Areas,” he recalls. “He renovated primary school classroom blocks in Ohaobu and Ikot Inyang Udo. Since then, there has been no development by government in the two villages.”
He even speaks of political marginalization of the entire ward, pointing out that the ward has never produced a Local Government Chairman or House of Assembly Member.
Idiong counters that he is carrying Ward II along in the scheme of things: “There is no discrimination. We are spreading amenities across the local government area. Presently, we have somebody from Ward II as a Supervisor. We cannot share it to the entire nine villages. They are even lucky because there are some wards that don’t have.”
Blue River: The Untapped Tourism Goldmine
Ohaobu has the unique feature of being the harbour of the famed Blue River though the river runs through several villages within and without the ward. The Blue River meets the wider Imo River at a point but, strangely, runs parallel without mixing with or emptying into the latter.
A natural wonder, it is an amazing but untapped tourism goldmine. Eleven years ago, the State Government, apparently in recognition of this fact, showed interest. The State Commissioner for Culture and Tourism then, Lady Valerie Ebe (later the State Deputy Governor) visited Ohaobu to see things for herself.
Nothing has come out of the visit since then.
Akpanudo, the Ukanafun Local Government scibe, says the previous Ukanafun Local Government administration had written to the State Government on the matter “and we are still looking forward to the State Government to act.”
Nwosu appeals to the State Government to turn Ohaobu to a tourism attraction.
Ido promises to look into the matter and see what can be done.
Ohaobu’s Parallel With Pro-Abia Separatists in Ika and Etim Ekpo
Nwoko, the state chief law officer, draws a parallel between the Ohaobu people of Ukanafun and the people of Ikot Udo in his LGA, Ika. To him, Ohaobu’s case is better as the people are almost unanimous that they belong to Akwa Ibom and not Abia whereas there is division in Ikot Udo, even among biological brothers, on which state they belong.
Hear him: “I am familiar with their (Ohaobu) story. At no point in time, have they claimed to be from Abia State. They say they are Ohaobu in Akwa Ibom State. They agree that the land belongs to Akwa Ibom State. The only problem is in the name. It is a bigger problem in Ikot Udo Ika. Very few people claim to be from Abia. They say the village is Akarika Obu. You find a situation where, in one household, some of the children say they are from Akwa Ibom while a few say they are from Abia. I mean biological brothers living in the same house. The truth is that there ought to be no boundary dispute because we don’t have any problem with Abia State. It is our own people that claim to be from Abia State.”
According to Nwoko, similar boundary problems exist in Ini, Itu and Ibiono Ibom LGAs which the National Boundary Commission (NBC) is presently working on.
“The NBC is almost completing the boundary tracing exercise after three years. Afterwards, the National Assembly will enact a law that will define and settle the boundaries of the various communities.”
Eduo paints a similar picture in Etim Ekpo. He reveals that there is division in Ikot Ama and Ikot Aja, two Etim Ekpo villages separated from Ohaobu by Ikpe Annang, on which state to belong to.
“Some people claim they are from Abia State,” he says. “Most say they are from Akwa Ibom State. They speak Annang and Igbo.”
According to the Chairman, one of those claiming Abia State has even served as a Councillor in that state.
Edet is emphatic that the pro-Abia agitators are a minority: “The majority say they are from Akwa Ibom State. But few say they are from Abia State because of some benefits.”
The Making of the First Igbo Councillor in Akwa Ibom
Though he insists his people want to remain in Akwa Ibom State, Nwosu is nostalgic about their good old days in old Imo State. He infers that their present situation is a complete climbdown from the height they reached in Imo State.
According to him, their traditional ruler, Onuoha, who ruled Ohaobu as four villages, even served as the Chairman of the Imo State Council of Traditional Rulers. Moreover, the late monarch received the prestigious national honour of Member of the Order of the Niger (MON).
Nwosu claims that they have been completely marginalized in Akwa Ibom in terms of employment and political opportunities.
Nwaubani is more strident: “Akwa Ibom State and Ukanafun Local Government Area, over the years, have not fully integrated the people of Ohaobu in the scheme of activities. There is no person from Ohaobu that is a government employee at the state or local government level. We have not had any political appointment. We are happy to be in Akwa Ibom State but they should fully integrate us.”
Akpanudo blames it on Ohaobu people’s attitude in the past: “At that time they bluntly refused to associate with the people of Ukanafun. That is why they did not get employed. Now, they have integrated with us. They are our brothers.”
But it seems a major step is about to be taken towards ending the marginalization, at least politically.
Ido, the Assemblywoman, prefers to speak in a parable: “This (local government) election that is coming, we have good plans for them. We are trying to make sure that Ohaobu has a sense of belonging. We are going to put that in place and you will attest to that.”
Ekpe hits the nail on the head: The councillorship seat for Ward II in the 2020 local government election is zoned to Ohaobu!
What this means is that the Igbo would produce their first Councillor ever in Akwa Ibom State.
Nwosu, who contested and lost the councillorship seat in 2012 (Chief Albert Nwoko, an Ohaobu activist and lawyer, had similarly sought the seat unsuccessfully in 2008), expresses gratitude: “I am grateful to Ekpe because he wants to do the right thing. If Ekpe wants it to happen, it will happen. He is the Political Leader of the ward. I am the unit leader of my village. We are grateful to the stakeholders of the ward for agreeing to zone the position to us.”
Idiong sees nothing wrong in Ohaobu producing a Councillor: “If it is zoned to their place, why not? In Ukanafun, we zone.”
He stresses that he is well embraced by Ohaobu people so much so that the Anglican Church there honoured him, last year, with an award of excellence for bringing peace to Ukanafun including Ohaobu.
“The militancy was very tough there,” he recalls. “I have a lot of friends there.”
From the foregoing, it is crystal clear that Akwa Ibom State has her own indigenous Igbo population and not just Igbo residents (mainly businessmen) from Abia, Anambra, Delta, Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo and Rivers States.
And so, whenever ethnic groups in the state are listed, the list should not end in five – Ibibio, Annang, Oro, Ekid and Obolo (Ijaw). Three more should be added – Igbo, Ogoni and Efik. Clearly, the trio is indigenous to Akwa Ibom State, a fact of life that cannot be wished away.
Indeed, Akwa Ibom is a multi-ethnic state.