Akwa Ibom State governor, Godswill Akpabio has faulted the claims by his predecessor, Obong Victor Attah attributing the creation of the state in 1987 to his personal relationship with former President Ibrahim Babangida.
Attah had during the reception organised in his honour by the Ibibio Nation recently stated that Babangida had sought for his opinion on the creation of Akwa Ibom.
But Akpabio during a state broadcast explained that the creation of Akwa Ibom State was not an event but process started by the forebearers of the state in 1953 when they made the first demand for state creation in Nigeria.
The governor recalled that five months after the coup of August, 1985, which heralded the General Ibrahim Babangida administration, Babangida set up a seventeen-member Political Bureau with Sylvanus J. Cookey as Chairman, and Abdullahi Augie as Executive Secretary.
The Bureau, according to the governor, believed that the creation of more States was necessary in the interest of a much more balanced and stable federation, ease political and social tensions, which had bred instability and frustrated the country?s march towards national greatness.
?Akwa Ibom people took advantage of this and we intensified our demand for a State of our own. We submitted memoranda upon memoranda to justify our demand.
?The Bureau members agreed that States should be created but differed on the number that should be created. But because of the intensity of our campaign and that of Katsina, they all were unanimous in the agreement that Akwa Ibom State and Katsina State should be created from Cross River and Kaduna State respectively.
?The people of these two states had waged the most relentless and strident campaign for states to be created for them. The Bureau submitted its report with several recommendations including the creation of these two states on March 26, 1987. The Babangida Administration accepted this recommendation and created Akwa Ibom and Katsina States on September 23, 1987.?
Akpabio also warned the Akwa Ibom people to refrain from serving the gods of tribalism and ethnicity, hatred and bitterness, which led to the spilling of the blood of innocent Akwa Ibom People in 1969 and again in 2011.
The governor said: ?Choose this day whether you will serve the gods of tribalism and ethnicity and the gods of hatred and bitterness, which led to the spilling of the blood of innocent Akwa Ibom People in 1969 and again in 2011.
?Choose whether you want to follow injustice and divisiveness and deny the good People of Eket Senatorial District their right. But as for my house, and me we will serve the Lord and toe the paths of justice, equity and fairness.?
Attah had at the reception maintained that he had consistently harassed the former President to create a state for the people of Akwa Ibom state.
?Let me start by telling you about something that happened in 1987. I was living in Kaduna and about the middle of the year, I received a message from the Military President Gen. Ibrahim Babangida. He sent to ask me if I was no longer interested in a state for my people.
?This happened because for a long time I had, with respect and within the limits of friendship, harassed him to create a state for us. When it did not happen, I gave up. This message therefore came as a bolt from the blue. I was shocked, but ecstatically surprised. I was asked to present yet another request for a state which I did.
?Sometime after that I was invited to the office of the Coordinator of National Security (CONS) at 12 Awolowo Road Ikoyi, and was asked to draw a map of what I thought should constitute the new state.
?After that I waited and then on September 23, 1987 came the announcement that Akwa Ibom and Katsina States had been created. My joy knew no bounds.
Of course, the first thing I did was to sit down and compose a letter to our beloved benefactor, President Ibrahim Babangida who has graciously created a state for us?, he explained.