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Eno’s Akwa Ibom Gearing to Shake Nigeria’s History, Targets Tourism Sector

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By Sam Akanimo

The Umo Eno administration in Akwa Ibom State is bracing to rewrite the political history of Nigeria.

For it, the relics of the 1914 amalgation are in Ikot Abasi, and not in Zungeru.

The move is part of a broader initiative by the administration to boost the untapped tourism potentials of the 36 year-old state that was created by the Ibrahim Babangida military regime in 1987.

The state’s Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, Charles Udoh, is insisting that the 1914 Amalgation relics are in Ikot Abasi, one of the 31 local government areas of state and not in Zungeru.

Udom says the need to re-write all contentious tourism stories of the state is geared at placing Akwa Ibom in its rightful position as the tourism capital of Nigeria.

The Eno administration is already drumming home the tourism story that, the 1914 amalgamation of the hitherto Northern and Southern Protectorates of Nigeria by Federick Lord Lugard, was in Ikot Abasi, and not in Zungeru of Niger State.

The Zungeru narrative, according to Akwa Ibom, was erroneously documented by non‐state actors.

The commissioner is saying that this is based on the fact that, the relics of the epochal history such as the old Amalgation House, old typewriter, archaic telephone and other surviving materials are all seen in Ikot Abasi close to the sea which Lord Lugard ferried through to Akwa Ibom.

The commissioner was speaking in Uyo, the state capital, while welcoming the newly posted Permanent Secretary to his ministry, Mrs. Grace Akpan.

Udoh who introduced the new PermSec to all headquarters staff of the ministry, pointed out that another narrative that “must” be changed is the 1929 Women War, which according to him, also took place in Ikot Abasi.

Continuing, he said the 1929 women war has been “erroneously captured in history books over the years, as the Aba Women Riot.”

“These false tourism stories”, he went on, “have been widely accepted for decades now across the globe”, adding that momentum is high towards changing all contentious tourism narratives about Akwa Ibom, and accordingly calls on all hands to be on deck, in this regard.

Udoh emphasized that, it is only Akwa Ibom people that can best tell their own story and called on all indigenes to brace up to join the government to change the tourism narratives of the state positively for posterity and generations yet unborn.

He expressed with optimism that, the new PermSec will bring her wealth of experience and expertise to bear in the attainment of the envisaged goal of changing the tourism narratives of the state adding that, her posting to the ministry is apt and timely.

Emphasizing further that, he can attest to the passion, dedication and hardwork of Mrs. Akpan, having worked with her previously as information commissioner.

Udoh is equally calling on all staff to give the new PermSec the needed cooperation, support and assistance to enable her discharge the functions of her new office creditably.

Responding, Mrs Akpan, expressed appreciation to the commissioner for taking out time to welcome her to the ministry and pledged to work assiduously with him and the entire staff to push ahead the factual and true tourism narratives of the state.

Present at the occasion were heads of directorates and units of the ministry, including: the Director of Administration, Mfon Udokang, and the Director of Marketing/Logistics, Mfon Essang, among others.

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