Re: Our Stake In Bakassi
My very dear ex-Governor Duke,
It has taken me a long time and a number of sleepless nights to finally decide I should communicate with you and hope you would share with us what you know about what happened in Bakassi. I hope you do not mind the timing, and the medium of this communication.
Before I go any further, I would like to introduce myself as one of your greatest admirers, who happen to share very much in common with you outside of politics.
I was born in Akpabuyo, and a member of the Duke house in Calabar. One of my grandparents migrated centuries ago to Akpabuyo from Usak Edet in Bakassi. My body now live in the United Kingdom as a British citizen, but my soul remains in Akpabuyo and Calabar.
I was the invisible hands that made it possible for you and your dear wife to be invited and received by the Cross River State (Calabar) community in the United Kingdom in 2002. I was the President of the Calabar Union UK, 2002-2004.
Dear Don, I want you to believe that there is no ‘catch’ whatsoever in this write up. It is my genuine effort to understand what is happening to the land of by birth. I choose to seek this understanding from you because in my lifetime, you are the only person during your tenure as Cross River State governor who made me, and almost every Calabar (Cross River State) person I know, feel very proud to be Calabar people.
I have always told friends that you are the one who put Calabar back in the ‘world map’ during your tenure as governor of Cross River State.
Now, Cross River State no doubt, is a very rich state. We are rich in our people, our weather, our vegetation, topography, and our mineral deposit, and international access. Very few other states can boast of the resources God has bestowed on Cross Rive State.
Bakassi, its people, and its environment , including its mineral resources, has always been where it is, as provided by the almighty God, up until you and Obasanjo came into political power. It has never moved and will never move.
We are aware of all the history relating to colonialism and partitioning of Africa following the great wars and independence, which never started in your time, and never ended there too.
What I would like you to help me with is what really necessitated the acknowledgment of the International Court of Justice procedures, acceptance of the verdicts, and the evacuation of the inhabitants of the area whether they were non-migrant or migrant population?
We have heard several versions of what would have been the driving force behind what could be described as the most shady international land deals in the history of the world.
The popular version is your ambition to become Nigerian President, as promised to you by Obasanjo, whose ambition was to become African and World Statesman via the African Union and the United Nations. All is well and good as human beings must progress.
Every Nigerian knows if things in Nigeria were done on merit, no Nigerian was more qualified than you to become President. The President you never became, but Obasanjo, however has received all the glory as Africa and World Statesman.
The least you owe to people like me, the displaced people of Bakassi, every Nigerian, and the world, is to tell us the truth about what you know about the Bakassi land deal, and your role in accepting and executing the ICJ verdict. We know that if anybody should know the full story, you should be that person.
So, My Don, in conclusion, the significance of giving away (ceding) Bakassi can never be lost to our people, our state and our country. Take a look at the beautiful State you governed eight years ago. It is now a shadow of its former self.
We know that the National, and thus State economy depend predominantly on oil revenue in Nigeria. It is a fact that partially because of your action in Bakassi, Cross River State is no longer classified as an Oil Producing State.
While Obasanjo and Ogun state are riding high in development, you and Cross River State seem to be nose diving. We know that Obasanjo, as usual, has played the Devil’s Advocate, but we need the whole truth from you, our brother.
It could be the starting point of getting back what truly belong to us. I sincerely hope this is not too much to ask.
Your Greatest Admirer.
Dr. Larry Umoh is a Cross River born medical practitioner resident in the United Kingdom.
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