By Ekemini Simon
Three Akwa Ibom Elders have emerged as members of the Board of Trustees of the Akwa Ibom Council of Elders.
The members are Retired Chief Justice Godwin Abraham, Brigadier General Anthony Etukudo (Rtd), and Former Deputy Governor and Ambassador to Italy, Amb. Etim Okpoyo.
The members of the Board of Trustees were constituted at the third meeting of the Council held on Tuesday, April 5, 2022 at the Conference Room of the e-library, Uyo.
Briefing newsmen after the meeting, the Protem Chairman, Akwa Ibom Council of Elders, Obong Victor Attah said the Board of Trustees were constituted for the purpose of getting the organisation registered at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
Obong Attah, a former Governor of Akwa Ibom State disclosed that the Council’s meeting also witnessed deliberations on the draft constitution of the Pan Akwa Ibom organisation.
He noted that the Organisation is putting modalities in place to legalise the Council’s operations thus stand out as a force worthy to be reckoned with in the country and beyond.
The Protem Chairman said the goal is to make the Council function as other regional organisations like Ohanaeze Ndigbo and Afenifere. He added ” You know how Ohanaeze Ndigbo and Afenifere function. We want to function in a similar but possibly a better manner.”
The Council’s Chairman clarified that Akwa Ibom Council of Elders is not interested in partisanship but is rather poised to work on engendering peace when there are political tensions.
” This is not a political group. We are here to pour oil on any troubled waters, to build bridges across valleys. Political statements will only be to the extent that bring peace, development and harmony rather than partisanship”, he insisted.
Obong Attah who expressed delight over the increase in number of Elders of the State who attend Council’s meeting noted that people are getting interested because they are identifying how best to contribute in helping the State.
While noting that the Council will hold two more meetings before the end of the year, the Protem Chairman called on more eligible Elders of the State to avail themselves for future meetings.
He explained that the need for more membership stems from the fact that the Council is a very significant body that will serve as a platform to enable Elders of the State who have gathered experience in various leadership positions contribute their quota to the development of the state.
The Council is made up of all former Governors and Deputies, all former Ministers, all former Senators, all former Ambassadors, all former Secretaries to Government, all former Vice Chancellors, all retired State Chief Judges and all retired Judges of the State, Federal, Appellate and Supreme Courts.
Others in the council are former Commissioners who left office in the last 15 years, all retired Military Officers not below the rank of Colonel in the Army and their equivalent in the Navy and Air Force and all retired Police Officers not below the rank of Commissioners and their equivalent in the DSS, Customs, Immigration, Correctional Service and Civil Defence.
Documents from the Council indicate that the mission of the Akwa Ibom Council of Elders is to achieve a State that is distinguished to other States of the Federation in development and progress through the mobilization and effective utilisation of its vast human, material and natural resources.
The organisation has as its aims and objectives a task to strengthen the core values of unity, equity, justice, stability, peace, security and progress of the State.
Other aims and objectives include to promote and strengthen the mechanism of dialogue and negotiation as instrument of conflict resolution in the State, to collaborate with similar apex organizations from other part of the country in pursuit of the State’s common goals and interests and to cooperate and collaborate with the local, State and federal governments as well as international community in pursuing Akwa Ibom State common interest.