By Paul Efiong
To ensure peace and tranquility especially among people of Oron-ethnic group of Akwa Ibom State, new Executive members of the apex youth association known as Nlap Isong Akpakip Oro has been inaugurated in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.
The association which draws its menbership from the five local government areas that made up Oron, came into existence three years ago in Oron, Akwa Ibom State, after it had received solid legal and moral backing from oron sons and daughters within and beyond.
The group according to information was properly promulgated after due and effective consultations with Oro Think Tank, Oro Union as well as the Council Of Oron Traditional Elders in order to foster peaceful co-existence between every person from oron nation and particularly within the five Local Government Areas of Oron, irrespective of gender, religion and political affiliation.
Speaking at the event, the Federal Commissioner representing Akwa Ibom state at the National Population Commission (NPC) and former President Akwa Ibom State Community in Abuja, Engineer Benedict Ukpong maintained that unity in diversity of Oron people and Nation is sacrosanct.
Engineer Ukpong who doubles at the occasion as the Chairman and Special guest of honour further charged Oron people mostly the youths to continue in their peaceful way of life as violence and rancour are inimical to peace, progress and development.
While commending the senator representing Eket Senatorial District in his state, Senator Nelson Efiong for his doggedness and resilience in pushing for a Bill that will convert the Maritime Academy of Nigeria (MAN) to a degree awarding institution observed that the bill when finally assented to by President Muhammadu Buhari will put smile on the faces of all Akwa Ibom persons particularly those from Oro- Nation.
The NPC Commissioner also used the occasion to praise APC-led government, boasting that massive political appointments have been given to the Akwa Ibom state indigenes than successive administrations.
On peaceful co-existence with other tribes and nationality in the Federal Capital Territory, the Commissioner advised all Akwabomites to always be law abiding no matter their situation as Oron people all over the world are known to be peace lovers even when they are maltreated.
To the newly inaugurated EXCO members of Nlap Isong Akpakip Oro in FCT, Ukpong reminded them of their mandate to every oron indigene living in the FCT, urging exco members to operate an open door policy that might build up and bind together rather than break down the already existing unity among the people.
The president of Oron Union in Abuja, Sunday Antai while speaking commended the EXCO members of the group for their humility in postponing their inauguration date which he revealed had earlier clashed with another youth group in the territory saying that such positive attitude could foster peace and unity within groups and associations.
Chief Antai, who earlier described himself as the father of Oron sons and daughter in the Territory further advised youths organizations particularly those from oron extractions in Akwa Ibom state never to see themselves as foes but as friends working together for the common goal.
He maintained that the unity of Oro-nation could not be negotiated hence his message for the youths to team up together for a common goal: Together We Stand but Divided We Fall.
He also emphasized the importance of being a registered member of the association disclosing that most government loans among other assistance are usually made available to people with registered association or union.
Chief Antai also used the opportunity to caution youths against being confrontational with elders adding that even when they have valid and justifiable reasons to do so, they must not be overly agree with their fathers as such could spark up conflict of interest members of the association.
The Chief Executive Officer of a Non-Governmental Organization known as Antof Rural Resources, Utin Okung Ntafon in his address reminded people of the consequences of greed. He stated that most prominent sons and daughters of Oron nation were sponsored to varied degree of education by the oron Union in those days, alleging that greed and corruption have penetrated into the body hence the inability to foot academic bill of students nowadays.
According to Ntofon, his organization had signed different Memorandum Of Understanding with some professional bodies as well as the Oron Union in Diaspora, noting that many people including youths have been empowered economically by association.
In his acceptance speech, the president of Nlap Isong Akpakip Oro in Abuja, Ulap Mfon Luke promised to live up to the expectations of those who elected him into office soliciting for support in kind and cash to enable him carry out the tasks.
Earlier while taking oath of office presented by Barr. Ukpong and Barr Inyang Idem respectively, the new Executive members pledged to put the association interest ahead of their personal goals and ambitions.
The high point of the event was the presentation of certificates of Return by the Electoral Body of the Union to all the Exco members after taking Oath of Office.