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State Creation Movements

Author: smith on 17-09-2013, 13:00, views: 14 821


PHOTOGRAPHS: Dr. Udo Udoma William E. Ufot Harry Ekanem Dennis Udo-lnyangPHOTOGRAPHS: Dr. Udo Udoma William E. Ufot Harry Ekanem Dennis Udo-lnyangFrom the early 1950's to 1987, the fundamental public issue for the people of the Old Calabar Province - if not for Nigeria as a whole - was state-creation. Since this was realised by the Ibibio only as late as September 23, 1987, the issue is discussed in the close of this chapter as the culmination of the people's desire for self-determination and the beginning of a new vista of promise and fulfilment.


The roots of the movement for state creation in Nigeria, unquestionably, lie in the formation of the Ibibio Welfare Union in 1928. By September 1987, when Akwa Ibom State was created, the movement in the Old Calabar Province had gone through seven phases, the first one of which was the formation of the Union in 1928.


The second phase commenced in 1935, when, as part of its concern with welfare, the Union moved to influence - indeed re-shape - the colonial political and administrative system. In doing so, the Union pressed the colonial government to create a unified and uniform Native Administration Service scheme for the Ibibio to be known as Ibibio Native Administration with a Central Office at Uyo, in place of the existing clan-based Native Authorities (or Clan Councils), which tended to be divisive by fostering clan, rather than pan-Ibibio loyalties. By the unified service scheme, an NA employee could be transferred from one NA to another so far as the person is a native of Ibibio, no matter which district he comes from. Recruitment to the clerical cadre of staff was to be by a competitive examination, and not on the basis of origin from the NA area. The Unified Administration was to have a Central Treasury for the whole Ibibio Tribe, at the commencement controlled by the Resident and later by a Supreme Ibibio Council (Ikpe, 1942). This Council would plan, and allocate the NA funds, centrally and, therefore, efficiently for the entire Ibibioland in order to achieve balanced development. There were to be also an Ibibio Appeal Court (from the Clan Courts), an Ibibio Conference of Chiefs, and the like. Characteristically, the Draft Scheme embodying the Unified NA Service Scheme was signed on September 13, 1937 by representatives of the six Ibibio districts to reflect the pan-Ibibio approach (Resident, 1937).


Category: Ikot Abasi in the Socio-Political Development

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