AKHA Deputy Speaker Wades Into Ube, Obufi Communal Clash


The leadership qualities, integrationist credentials and home-front acceptability of the Deputy Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Princess Felicia Bassey, once again came into play when she recently met with the two communities of Obufi and Ube in Okobo Local Government to broker peace in the lingering communal clash.
The Deputy Speaker and former Council Chairman of Okobo local government initiated the mediation moves in Okobo when she met with representatives from the two contentious communities in her unpretentious determination to bring a final end to whatever may have kept the two villages in a cold war situation or at loggerheads over the years.
The meeting was necessitated by a recent call of complaints by members of the Obufi communities allegedly accusing the Ube Community of invading their hitherto peaceful community, uprooting ancient boundaries, desecrating their ancestral shrine, and subsequently rendering them homeless and helpless in recent past.
On getting winds of the situation, report said Princess Felicia Bassey who is a renowned community pacifier and mobilizer wasted no time in summoning the communities to send five representatives each, one of whom must be a woman to a reconciliation table. As a response to this imperative, Ube community were represented by His Highness Asuquo Titus Martin, Mr. Etim Inyang, Mr Silvanus Okpo, Elder Gregory Edet and Madam Cecilia James. From Obufi village were Rev. Dr. Asuquo Eyere, Chief Remigius Okon, Chief Etim Etim, Mrs. Maria Ekpenyong and Chief Eyo Offiong.
Addressing them at the meeting, the Deputy Speaker who is also a Member representing Okobo State Constituency reminded the people that, considering the history of the entire Okobo local government as a peaceful community, there was no reason for bad blood or misunderstanding between communities that could result to unlawful damage to property, injuries and in extreme instances death to any member of the community. According to the Deputy Speaker who also hails from Okobo, “Because it is not in our character, I should be surprised anytime I hear of crisis in my constituency, my home; and I cannot waste time to do all that is necessary and practical to bring prompt solutions. That is why I had to breach official duties today just to be here and hear what is wrong. Please, please, there is no need for hatred and misunderstanding. Okobo is known for peace,” She posited.
Responding, the Ube community denied the allegations and maintained that the recent attack was not masterminded members of Ube community and they could have contemplated such. They therefore saw it as misinformation the allegation that they masterminded the invasion of Obufi. At the end, both communities expressed readiness and commitment to work earnestly with the Deputy Speaker and cooperate with her in ensuring that peace and harmony reign in the area. According to them, “We are happy that God is using the Deputy Speaker to reconcile our interests and lingering communal crisis. And it will be engraved in the annals of history that it was by her sacrifices and intervention that peaceful reconciliation was reached on this matter. Of course she is a shining light and a listening and caring mother to the community.” The respondents who described the Deputy Speaker as a “pillar and beacon of peace” also recalled that it was her timely intervention when she was the Council chairman that brought peace to the area.
Our reporter however gathered that, skirmishes between the two contiguous communities are really not new. Consequent upon that some time ago, the Akwa Ibom State Government had set up a Panel of Inquiry over the matter, although the white paper has yet not been made public. The Deputy Speaker therefore promised that she will follow up the matter and ensure prompt release of the White Paper.
With the Deputy Speaker on the mediation team were the Transition Chairman of Okobo Local Government Area, Mr. Ubuo Ubuo, Special Assistant to the Deputy Speaker Hon. Asuquo Koffi, DPO, Okobo and representatives of  DSS.



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