Few weeks after Chief Slyvester John Akpan was unanimously selected as the village head of Iboro, an attempt to disrespect that decision by a few elements has ignited fear of a possible crisis in the community.
Located almost on the fringes of East-West Road, Iboro Village in Edemaya Clan, Ikot Abasi Local Government Area is in the news for reasons more than one.
The village is the host community to Raycon Environmental Services Limited, an industry player in the area of fumigation and pest control.
The community existed without a village head for a few years following the death of Chief Louis Alban Akpan, until Chief Slyvester John Akpan was unanimously selected by the family heads and the entire village.
Selection of Chief Slyvester John Akpan
Chief Slyvester John Akpan was unanimously selected by the entire village on Monday, May 8, 2023, at the council hall.
He was presented to the community by the three family heads in Iboro Village, assisted by then chairman of the Village Council, Mr. Monday Alban Akpan, who in his remarks thanked the Almighty God for the successful selection of the new monarch and called on everyone to support him.
At the occasion, goodwill messages flowed uncontrollably from members of the community in appreciation to God for a peaceful selection of of the new village head.
Chief Emmanuel Udoh, who also spoke at the presentation expressed his gratitude to God and to the people for a peaceful selection and called for support and prayers for the new village head.
In his remarks, Chief Akpan said he was overwhelmed by the trust deposited on his shoulders by his people to lead them as their village head and promised not to disappoint them.
Request to Edemaya Clan Head For Date To Present The Village Head – elect.
After a successful selection and in exercise of the authority of his office, the village head-elect, Chief Akpan inaugurated Iboro Council of Chiefs, comprising the three family heads, a secretary, Mr. Paulinus Akpan and appointed councillors as a cabinet to assist him in the administration of the community.
According to Chief Akpan, the former Village Council, which was led by Mr. Monday Alban Akpan was also dissolved. It was learnt that the former chairman of the Village Council had been in that position for close to 11 years, having been appointed by Chief Louis Alban Akpan, now late in 2012.
After its inauguration, the Iboro Council of Chiefs hit the ground running by writing to the Clan Head of Edemaya, Etebom Eniema Essiet, introducing Chief Akpan as the village head – elect. The Council also requested in the letter for a suitable date to present him to Edemaya Clan Council.
The letter, which was signed by the village head-elect, the secretary of Iboro Council of Chiefs; family head, Otung Umo, Chief Benedict Umoren was dated May 22, 2023.
‘ This is to inform your Clan Council of Chiefs that Iboro Village has selected and approved Chief Slyvester John Akpan as the village head-elect of the community.
”Chief Akpan was duly selected by the entire village on Monday, 8th May, 2023, and accepted by all and sundry.
” Therefore, we most respectfully request for a suitable date for us to present the village head-elect to the Clan Council of Chiefs” the Iboro Council of Chiefs requested in the letter.
Acknowledgement of Chief Akpan As Village Head – elect By Edemaya Clan Council of Chiefs
In an acknowledgement of Chief Akpan as the village head – elect, the Clan Head of Edemaya, Etebom Eniema Essiet invited him to the Clan Council meeting on Wednesday, June 28, 2023, at the Unity Hall, Ekpenenin.
The invitation letter signed by Eteidung Umoh, secretary of Edemaya Clan Council and dated June 19, 2023, requested the Iboro Village Head – elect to attend the meeting with his people.
”This invitation is sequel to a letter of protest by Chief Monday Alban and others dated, May 30, 2023, before the clan head to the goings-on and unfolding crisis in Iboro Akama Village, relative to its administration.
”We pray you to kindly honour this invitation. Help us to nib this crisis in the bud. Do well to cause your town-crier to relay this information to all the members of the village for compliance and prompt attendance,” the letter stated.
Another letter was written by the secretary of the Clan Council to Chief Akpan dated, July 3, 2023, requesting him to attend a meeting of Edemaya Clan Council of Chiefs on Friday, July 21, 2023, with his people.
Again, the Edemaya Clan Head through his secretary requested Chief Akpan to instruct his town-crier to inform the entire community of the meeting.
No Response To Iboro Council of Chiefs Request For Date To Present The Village Head-elect.
While the Edemaya Clan Head has acknowledged Chief Akpan as the village head-elect of Iboro Village in his letters as they were addressed to him, the community wondered why no date has been fixed for the presentation, given that the request was made since May 22, 2023.
Instead, a protest letter by Mr. Monday Alban dated May 30 received prompt attention.
Members of the community expressed their disappointment over the manner their request to the clan head to present their village head-elect was treated as if it does not matter, yet an appeal was made to Chief Akpan to help nib the crisis in the bud. The Clan head could not be reached on his mobile number as the phone was switched off.
When The Crest correspondent visited the community over the weekend, Chief Umoren, family head of Otung Umo said the development was curious.
Purported Selection of Another ‘Village Head’
In an unprecedented gripping drama, Mr. Dominic Atat Udousung, from Etukudo family was purportedly selected as the village head-elect on Friday, July 9.
Again, community elders wondered why Mr. Udousung allowed himself to be used like a pun in a Chess game by self-seeking individuals, having participated in the selection of Chief Akpan two months ago.
When the Crest correspondent put a call to Mr. Udousung’s mobile number, the phone rang out without any response.
The unfolding crisis is laid at the door step of the former Village Council Chairman by the community,
having participated actively in the selection of Chief Akpan.
In his response on the phone, the former Village Council Chairman denied being part of the selection of Chief Udousung.
He said that he was requested by some members of the community to open the Village Council Hall for them, because they have a right to use the facility.
Purported Selection of Udousung Is Null And Void – Alban
The purported selection of Mr. Udousung is said to be an effort in futility by the community.
They said there was no going back on the issue of Iboro Village headship as Chief Akpan has been selected by the three family heads and endorsed by the community.
Besides, Chief Umoren said that Mr. Udousung, who is not from Etukudo family was not qualified for selection even if the stool was vacant as he is not from Akpan Nsek royal family.
Chief Umoren, who is in his 80s stated that Iboro Village headship has remained hereditary and was never rotated among the three families. “Nobody outside Akpan Nsek royal family was ever selected the village head in the history of the community.
”All past village heads in recent history came from Akpan Nsek; from Chief Inyang Etuk to Chief Udo Mboho, Chief Alfred Okonko, Chief Akpan Okonko, Chief Ufot Akpan Edemeka to Chief Louis Alban Akpan,” he said.
I’m his response to the purported selection of Mr. Udousung, Chief Okon Alban Akpan, an elder brother to the former Village Council Chairman, described the exercise as null and void.
He confirmed that Chief Akpan was duly selected by the three family heads and the community without any protest.
Speaking with The Crest correspondent on the phone, he said that he supervised the presentation of Chief Akpan to the community and handed over the traditional fan, one of the three symbols of authority that were removed from the casket of late Chief Louis Alban Akpan by the paramount ruler of Ikot Abasi Local Government Area, HRM Edidem Udo Joe Ntuk Obom, assisted by the Clan Head of Edemaya, Etebom Essiet, were given to him for safe custody and presentation to a new village head.
Chief Alban, who is based in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State said that the royal beads and the traditional crown (Ntiya) will be presented to Chief Akpan on his coronation and promised to go the village at the end of this month to settle the matter.
Meanwhile, the community has condemned the continued custody of the traditional gong and the keys to the Village Council Hall by the former Village Council Chairman.