Concerned Awka Ibom: Blind Association Urges Governor Eno to Prevent Impending Disaster
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Concerned Awka Ibom: Blind Association Urges Governor Eno to Prevent Impending Disaster

Pastor Umo Eno, governor of Akwa Ibom State, is being called by the National Board of the Nigeria Association of the Blind (NAB) to intervene in an impending crisis that is threatening the organization in the state and revolves around a violation of their constitution.

Stanley Oyebuchi, the national president of NAB, made it clear that the union would lead its affiliate organizations and international partners to halt all inclusion initiatives and operations in the state of Akwa Ibom unless the problem in the chapter is handled.

Oyebuchi expressed his disapproval of Mrs. Nene Bassey’s decision to assist the former state chairman, Ubong Akpan, in conducting an election that violates the union’s constitution in an open letter sent to Governor Umo Eno on Thursday in Uyo.

The letter was signed by Nkemakonam Ofili, the South-South Zonal Coordinator, who represented the National President.

The chairman stated that even though Ubong Akpan’s term as state chairman of the NAB had ended in August 2023, he had continued in that role for a further eight months, which compelled the national board of the NAB to dissolve the executive led by Akpan in accordance with the constitution.

He said that the union’s operations will be overseen by a five-man committee for three months before an election, and that Nkemakonam Ofili, the South-South Zonal Coordinator, was ordered to go to the state to carry out the board’s decision.

During his tenure, Akpan refused to conduct the elections because the Ministry did not release the necessary funds.

However, during an executive meeting held in the conference hall of the Ministry, he hurriedly set up an electoral committee, disregarding and abusing the NAB constitution.

The chairman expressed sadness over reports that Nene Bassey, the Special Assistant to the Governor on Persons with Disabilities, had allegedly threatened, physically assaulted, and verbally harassed former state national officials and the national president. He urged the governor to step in and prevent the impending disaster.

“The conduct of Nene Basey, Dr. Ini Adiakpan, and the former state chairman is seen by us to be an unlawful and flagrant violation of the constitution of the NAB.

Should Friday’s alleged election go ahead as planned, we will take action. This includes suspending our chapter from NAB national and sending a letter to all of our affiliate organizations and international partners, urging them to halt any state-wide inclusion projects, activities, or programs that involve government interference in disability organization management.

“While we deeply appreciate your exceptional inclusive work in Akwa Ibom state over the past 11 months and your welcoming attitude towards disability issues and those with disabilities in the state, we humbly urge you to address this impending catastrophe.

“The conduct of Nene Basey, Dr. Ini Adiakpan, and the former state chairman is seen by us to be an unlawful and flagrant violation of the constitution of the NAB.

Should Friday’s alleged election go ahead as planned, we will take action. This includes suspending our chapter from NAB national and sending a letter to all of our affiliate organizations and international partners, urging them to halt any state-wide inclusion projects, activities, or programs that involve government interference in disability organization management.

“While we deeply appreciate your exceptional inclusive work in Akwa Ibom state over the past 11 months and your welcoming attitude towards disability issues and those with disabilities in the state, we humbly urge you to address this impending catastrophe.

The letter expressed gratitude for the education intervention trust fund, which supports individuals with impairments in the state, including those who are blind or partially sighted.

“It has come to my notice that Mr. Ubong Daniel Udo, Nsikak and Co are constantly calling their members from other States to come over to Akwa Ibom State to dissolve excos and set up committees for congress/election without a recourse to the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Welfare,” reads the warning letter issued by Nene Basey, SA to the Governor on Persons with Disabilities, to several former executives of the NAB.

Upon his call, I warned the national president of the NAB to stop interfering with the elections because they would go ahead as scheduled. The North East Commissioner for Disability is very understanding, as I discussed with her.

The aforementioned NAB AKS Chapter members are being warned by me to cease and desist from any and all unlawful acts in which they may be involved. Despite the state government’s many efforts on behalf of NAB, no group of disabled people in Akwa Ibom State has benefited from these efforts. Fighting the government is going to be quite difficult for you. Watch out!

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