The Oro ethnic nationality in Akwa Ibom State has threatened to stop elections from holding in their land in 2023 if the area was not allowed to produce the Governor.
The Oro people make up the five local government areas of Oron, Mbo, Urueoffong Oruko, Okobo and Udung Uko of the state and are politically situated in Eket Senatorial District of the state.
They alleged that they had been subjected to all forms of marginalisation and injustice by the Ibibio and Annang ethnic groups, reportedly depriving them from occupying the office of Governor since the creation of the state in 1987.
In a Press Conference at the weekend to commemorate the 22nd anniversary of the Oro Bill of Rights titled, “Why We (Oron) Can’t Wait,” they maintained they would no longer be taken for granted in the governance equation of Akwa Ibom State.
The conference was jointly addressed by leaders of the Oron National Forum (ONAF), Oron Women Action Group (OWAG) and the Oro Youth Movement (OYOM) at the Antofitel hotel, Oron.
National President of ONAF, Comrade Ita Ante, noted that the state was founded on the basis of an ethnic tripod of Ibibio, Annang and Oro, hence, the governorship of the state must rotate on the principle of the tripod.
Ante said that while the Ibibio and Annang had taken their turns in producing the Governor, Oro had been denied the opportunity to rule the state.
He said: ”It is disheartening to note that Oron, which accounts for over 80% of crude oil produced from Akwa Ibom State, has been wantonly neglected and excluded in the democratic governance of the state.
“In recognition of the tripod stand of the state, Ibibio, Annang and Oron, to achieve cohesion, peace, justice and peaceful coexistence, the political/traditional leaders agreed that in distributing/sharing of political positions, a ratio of 5:3:2 in favour of Ibibio, Annang and Oron respectively should be strictly applied.
”In all honesty, this has been in practice since the creation of the state, until 2007 when the tripod principle was jettisoned by Governor Godswill Akpabio for senatorial district basis deliberately to deny Oron their rights to produce a Governor in 2015.”
The ONAF President also alleged that the Oro people had been marginalised in terms of infrastructural development and siting of key economic institutions.
Ante said that the recent relocation of the Ibaka Deep Seaport from Oro territory to another part of the state was a clear indication that they were being neglected and abandoned.
He said: “The project was conceived 21 years ago by Governor Victor Attah as part of the industrialisation plans of the state. It was designed to be sited at Ibaka in Mbo Local Government Area with the deepest nautical depth East of the Niger.
“Many years after conception, and contrary to the expectation of Oro people in particular and Akwa Ibom State in general, the state government has surreptitiously changed the entire concept of the project to short-change Oron people.”