BY: Frank Inyang
The vandalization of Bakassi Local Government Council Secretariat ,Ikot Effiom could be likened to the biblical statement of ” A prophet is not respected by his people”.
History was made on September 9,2020 as Bakassi became the first Smart Local Government Area in Nigeria. This record making event saw the office consecrated and commissioned with fun fare as part of marking the Chairman of Bakassi Local Government Area Hon Chief Iyadim Amboni Iyadim’s first 100 days in office.
The feat didnot go unnoticed as he was conferred with the honoury traditional title of UTUENIKANG BAKASSI ( Torch Of Bakassi) by the Bakassi Traditional Rulers Council, led by its Chairman and also the Chairman of the State Traditional Rulers Council HRM Etinyin Dr Etim Okon Edet. This singular achievement attracted acolades and congratulations from far and near.But the attainments and achievements were put to ruins on October 24, 2020 when hoodlums under the guise of ENDSARS Protest struck.
The chairman’s digital office, renovated Legislative chamber, rehabilitated 67 kva power generating set, rehabilitated water project, digitization facilities and equipment were ransacked,looted and carted away as furniture, furnishings and fittings were vandalized leaving offices bare and deprived of official trappingsThose who wrecked the havoc didn’t what they did because what they destroyed attracted recognition. The work done by Iyadim within his first hundred days in office has attracted the conferment of the PAPYRUS MAGAZINE Local Government Awards ( PAMLOGA) for ” ADDING VALUE TO LOCAL GOVERNMENT GOVERNANCE ” 2020( 4th Edition).
According to the Magazine, “This award represents a timely and well deserved observation of your lofty achievements in the time you have assumed office as the Executive Chairman . This could be seen in some notable achievements like building and completion of the first Local Government Council Smart Office in the Niger Delta Region with installed modern communication equipment, creating of council’s website and dedicated social media handles , installation of WiFi, CCTV cameras at strategic locations in the secretariat, the establishment of a Post Office Private Mail Bag, dedicated call phone lines for complaints and feedbacks from the people , and the establishment of Marriage Registry amongst others”.
The Project Initiator of the Magazine, Hon Chief ( Mrs) Doofan Abu-Amali , who signed the notification of the Conferment stated that , “People think that Local Government is not supposed to be developed as urban cities ,so it is a rare blessing for a Local Government Area as Bakassi to have an innovative Boss who is willing and ready to expose his people to urban life. Hence, this award is to encourage you to keep on doing your very best as you contribute to develop your area council”.
No wonder, the Vice Chairman , Hon Etieka Mrs Lawrencia Ita while fielding questions from newsmen a day after the mayhem, prayed God should forgive the hoodlums and make them have a change of heart as what it took the council to rehabilitate in in three months were reduced to rubbles. According to her, ” the Chairman had ploughed in from lean resources to renovate and rehabilitate the council”.
The Leader of Council Hon Pastor Emmanuel Michael Effiong, speaking in his charred office described the level of destruction as enormous and disheartening. Effiong said he never expected that from the very people that elected them into office to represent them.
The Bakassi LGA representative in the State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Dr Ekpo Ekpo Bassey, whose resident cum Liaison Office at Ekpri Ikang was also vandalized while condemning the act prayed God should forgive the hoodlumsHon Bassey, a one time Chairman of Bakassi Local Government Area, however, urged youths to convert such amazing energy, vigor and power which they used in destruction for the development of the area.
The Paramount Ruler of Bakassi LGA and the Chairman State Traditional Rulers Council HRM Etinyin Dr Etim Okon Edet whose property , Saint Mary Hotel and Conference was not spared by the hoodlums, reasoned that vandalization of the council secretariat and other places in the area needs a spiritual solution to ensure it doesn’t repeat in the area.He said the hoodlums did not know the impact of destruction they caused the council based on the facilities that were removed which according to him , ” had presented Bakassi amongst the comity of modern day cities”.
The Secretary of Council, Hon Eyo Bassey Edet while assessing the level of destruction said, “It is unimaginable, senseless and uncalled for and those involved should be ashamed of themselves”.
The state Deputy Governor Prof Ivara Esu while receiving a report from the the Chairman of Bakassi Local Government Area Hon Chief Iyadim Amboni Iyadim on the afv forfected public and private property in the area, advised the Chairman not to be deterred from what had happened and hoped it would not dampen his enthusiasm as a pioneer in everything he those. An advice also shared by area’s representative in the state house of Hours of Assembly, who pledged his unalloyed support to ensure Bakassi is moved to the next level.
The magazine disclosed that the award will take place on December 16,2020 , emphasising that, ” With the award which is borne out of the desire to appreciate local government executive and legislators who distinguish themselves amongst their colleagues saddled with the same responsibilities but have seen to have more passion in delivering the promised dividends of democracy to the rural dwellers that should be the major focal point of any society”.
So , the rejected stone( the vandalized Bakassi Local Government Council Secretariat, Ikot Effiom) has by the recognition of the magazine and its Conferment of award on the Chairman become the corner Stone of the house ( Niger Delta Region)
Bravo Chairman of Bakassi Local Government Area Hon Chief Iyadim Amboni with the support of the Councilors, Members of Bakassi Local Government Executive Council and staff of Bakassi Local Government Council.