by crossriverwatch admin
The Ministry of Youths and Sports Development, Cross River State has waded into the crisis rocking Akansoko Youth Council, AYC in Akpabuyo LGA of the state.
The intervention was occasioned by a petition sent to the Honorable Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development, Mr. Patrick Ugbe dated 20th January, 2014 by four village heads and eight youths of Akansoko community calling on the state government to conduct a fresh election for the community youth association.
The petition captioned: “Illegal Perpetuation of Prince Effiom Bassey Effiong As Youth President of Akansoko Clan Akpabuyo LGA: Petition To Intervene And Conduct Fresh Election” was sent by A. B. Cobham and Associates legal solicitor to Mr. Dominic Philip, Mr. Antigha Effiong, Mr. Hope Philip and Mr. Effiom Edet respectively.
The complainants in the petition alleged that the running of Akansoko affairs has been made the exclusive privilege of one immediate family, citing examples of Chief Etinyin Bassey Effiong who is the clan head of Akansoko clan while his wife is the woman leader of the community.
His eldest son is the People’s Democratic Party, PDP ward chairman for Idundu/Anyananse covering Akansoko area and was a former councilor of same ward from 2004-2007.
His second son, Prince Daniel Bassey Effiong is the present ward councilor and the third, Prince Effiom Bassey Effiong is the present youth president of the community and has stayed there for 8 years exceeding the two years tenure as provided by their constitution.
The petitioner further alleged that the youth leader has refused to give account of the community slots on employment and contracts given by the United Cement Company, UNICEM and other establishments to the youths and accused him of selling the slots to ‘outsiders’ for monetary gains leaving the community youths to languish in penury.
Continuing, the petitioners also accused the youth president of using the police to harass and victimize those who question and oppose the allocation of every available office to his family members, recalling that in 2010 people like Comrade Anietie Moses, Comrade Asuquo Edem, and Comrade Edem Eyo were picked by men of the Nigerian Police when they demanded for a truce meeting to be called where issues affecting the community will be addressed.
They accused Prince Effiom Bassey Effiong of acting unilaterally both as President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and Financial Secretary of the Akansoko Youth Council.
They petitioners prayed the Ministry to wade into the crisis and conduct new election for the AYC.
They also want Prince Effiom to account for an alleged 1.5million naira collected from the management of UNICEM meant for the entire youths of Akansoko through Chief Gideon Effiong, Chairman Community Trust Committee who alongside his Secretary Mr. Orok Ita signed and gave the money to him and that the clan head should be advised to steer clear of youths activities particularly the anticipated forthcoming election.
In response to the issues raised in the petition, CrossRiverWatch gathered that, on the 11th of February, 2014, a delegation from the Ministry of Youths and Sports Development led by Bar. John Kejim, Director of Youths Affairs and his entourage Mr. Emmanuel Effiong, Deputy Director of Youths Affair, Mr. Ignatius Ojen, Assistant Director of Youths Affairs, Mr. Oyo Etim Oyo, Youth Development Officer Akpabuyo and Comrade Paul Effiong, PRO National Youth Council of Nigeria Akamkpa Chapter visited the residence of the Akansoko clan head, Chief Bassey Effiong Etim where over 5 other village heads where present with other chiefs and youths.
The clan head who played host to the visitors explained that to him there is no problem other than the fact that many people are misunderstanding the whole situation.
Chief Bassey told his visitors that since the ministry has intervened, he is expecting nothing else than the restoration of peace to the community, but pleaded that some time should be given to him so that he and his council will meet and do some in-house restructuring.
The Director, Youths Affairs while responding explained that the problem rocking the youth council has a lot to do with the structuring of their constitution revealing that: “After perusing the constitution, I discovered that there are lots of shortcomings which if not adequately addressed will in future lead to more fighting amongst the youths”.
He advised the chiefs and youths not to see violence as a way of settling internal crisis urging the youths to work in unison with their chiefs to achieve peace and beckoned on the chiefs to carry the youths along.
He however asked that the executives of the union should try and meet to see how they will do the proper rites before dissolving the house.
In the presence of the delegates from the ministry and others present, Prince Bassey Effiom denied all the allegations levelled against him.
The youth ministry officials were greeted by angry Akansoko youths who were seen carrying placards bearing inscriptions like: “We need change, Akansoko is our village not one man’s business”, “We don’t need your services BB, we need our 1.5million”, “Stop your intimidation on youth rights, BB you must render account to the youths”, amongst others.
CrossRiverWatch gathered that as a result of the crisis that erupted in 2010 over tenure of office of the youth president and other underlying issues which caused a lot of violence, the Akansoko Clan Council suspended youths activities as contained in a directive obtained by our reporter dated 25th October, 2010, eight months, 23 days after the youth ministry approved their application for registration. The suspension has since not been officially lifted.
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