The ten Village Heads that make up Awa Afaha Clan in Onna Local Government Area have become endangered species because a certain camp allegedly in the business of abducting them so that they could be bribed with money and induced to vote for its candidate on the day of the election of Clan Head.
The tussle is between Eteidung Raymond Inyang, Village Head of Awa Ndon and Eteidung Henry Uffang, Village Head of Awa Atai.
It will be recalled that Governor Udom Emmanuel recently created Awa Afaha Clan out of Awa Clan.
Awa Clan we gathered is to be renamed Asuna-Nung Oku Clan. Awa Afaha Clan now raises the Clans in Onna to four and they include Oniong, Nung Ndem, Awa Afaha and Asuna Nung Oku Clans.
The village Head of Afaha Ikot Nkang, Eteidung Okon Jim Ibanga, one of the victims of the abduction who was fortunate to escape told The Sensor exclusively from his hideout that the reason he beat the abductors to their game was that he had information of how the abduction was being done.
According to him the Village Heads were abducted with a new vehicle that allegedly has government plate number and belongs to a government appointee who is an interested party in the tussle saying “We know that it is from the camp against Chief Raymond Inyang. When they come like that, they tell you government wants to see you in Uyo and from there you will not return again. We gather they will be taken from there to the election venue.”
Chief Ibanga maintained that he had made up his mind to support Eteidung Raymond Inyang because he, like all the people of Awa Afaha, are aware that Chief Inyang has a heart to serve the people maintaining that he has done so much for them.
“No amount of millions will make me vote for another person apart from Chief Raymond Inyang. He has truly carried on well in the traditional institution and also has good plans for our people. This is why I had to do everything possible to escape on the day they came to capture me, the way they captured Eteidung Akpan Ebong of Afaha Ikot Edem Udo, from his sick bed”, Ibanga noted.
Describing the attempt to abduct him as a very harrowing experience, Chief Ibanga said “Last week Tuesday I had just woken up and then I heard the sound of a car in my compound. The driver whom I couldn’t recognize walked up to my door. When he met me, he told me that he was asked to bring me to Uyo by a government official. But quickly I remembered how Chief Ebong was taken away due to the Clan Head tussle. I quickly ran in, jumped through my window and headed straight for the bush.
My wife also joined me. We ran and landed at a neighbouring village where we were secured by the village Head. I had to run because I realized that it was that same vehicle they have used to kidnap one other chief”.
According to Chief Ibanga, he had reported the matter to the police for thorough investigation to know people behind the abductions.
Meanwhile, The Sensor gathered that the Onna intelligentsia and professions abroad, those based in Lagos, Abuja and all over the country have given their full support to Eteidung Raymond Inyang and the Abuja and Lagos groups have even gone ahead to make bold statements to the people to support Eteidung Raymond Inyang.
Moreover, youths and community Chiefs of Awa Afaha who do not want their names in print told The Sensor in an interview that the emergence of Eteidung Raymond Inyang as the Clan Head of Awa Afaha was a foregone conclusion.
“Those who are contesting with him are not being sincere with themselves. If you put a man that has served his village successfully for over thirteen years and one who just started today, which of them is more qualified to become the Clan Head?”.
Another respondent, a top flight professional who pleaded anonymity said. “The people of Awa Afaha Clan cannot be bought with cheap money, people did not labour for. We know the truth and that is the fact that our father, Chief Raymond Inyang has been a selfless leader. He has sacrificed his personal comfort to build our community and we know he wants to do more. So we all want him to be our Clan Head”.
On a personal capacity, he has given our community a very good school, provided water and offered other philanthropic services. What can those contesting with him point to as their own achievements? They have done nothing for the people but now want to forcefully become Clan Head”.
Our source warned that what those he referred to as cheats and imposters are trying to do can lead to mysterious deaths.
“I believe they should know that if anyone who is not qualified becomes a chief, he will face consequences; some time very fatal. We cannot politicize everything, including chieftaincy. It will hurt everyone if we allow the sacred institution of chieftaincy to be so disdained” our source said.
Another respondent who pleaded anonymity noted that “ I am a youth and like many of my fellow youths, we truly see Chief Raymond Inyang as our mentor and would go to any length to make sure he emerges as our Clan Head. The persons contesting with him are not from the royal family. He is from the royal family. His father and grandfather were chiefs.
Chief Raymond Inyang, a banker par excellence, who has worked at home and abroad and has been Village Head for over Thirteen years. He is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Accountancy.
Inyang also holds a Masters Degree in Accounting and has spent his entire life working in the banking sector where he rose to the pinnacle of his profession and has also been offering social services to his people.
The Sensor investigations revealed that he single handedly built a nursery, primary and secondary school in his village which children from neighbouring communities attend.
The Sensor gathered that the school is well equipped and has been producing the best results in WAEC ‘O’ level.
Also, Eteidung Inyang has built boreholes for his community and awarded scholarship to many less privileged children.
It is based on this excellent track record of service that several of his kinsmen including the youths, women and other stakeholders are queuing behind him to become Clan Head of Afaha.
The Sensor gathered that the two contestants are related to Governor Udom Emmanuel and he seems to be in a fix over the tussle. The Governor we learnt is trying to do all in his power to stay neutral and allow the Chiefs elect the Clan Head of Awa Afaha.