A social media hashtag presently trending online, has sparked an online war of words between Cross River and Akwa Ibom state indigenes over what one indigene of Cross River State who does not want his name in print, believes is “…the somewhat insensitive nature of the message contained in this hashtag and the clear fact that those who put it together and are circulating it on and offline intend to severe the cordial relationship that we presently enjoy as neighbours”.
But one Franklin Udeme, believed to be one of those who started the hashtag campaign, clearly set the records straight when he wrote that, “ on September 1, 2017, a rather interesting match was played here at the Nest of Champions, Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, between Nigeria’s Super Eagles and Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions. Fortunately, Nigeria thrashed the Lions with a four goals to nil score line… However, the immediate hosts of the match, the good people of Akwa Ibom state, are hurting. The match, like all events of such magnitude, was reported on National TV. The Nigerian Television Authority however reported that the match was played in Calabar, Cross River – a rather egregious error for a national TV station. And this little mistake is the reason why Akwa Ibomites are hurting: the fact that Uyo was elided for Calabar, or that Uyo was subsumed under Calabar.”
He continues; “this obvious mistake seems quite a trifle for an entire people to pine over, and it’s definitely something that can be overlooked. But it seems that it has become a norm; at least it has become so commonplace (sic) as to be carried on national TV! Since Akwa Ibom was created from Cross River state thirty years ago, and given the relative cultural uniformity of both states, it seems that in the minds of people, Akwa Ibom is yet to exist. So, a lot of people just say Calabar (the capital city of Cross River), when they mean to say Uyo (the capital city of Akwa Ibom). An NTA scrollbar advert during yesterday’s news even said that the match was played in Calabar. But IT’S UYO, NOT CALABAR; IT’S AKWA IBOM, NOT CROSS RIVER. Even though the people of Akwa Ibom very readily identify with those of Cross River, it is outrageous to see Akwa Ibom through the eyes of Cross River, to put it that way. It’s a slight on the pride of Akwa Ibomites as a socio-political unit. A state that is 30 years old is not a small state. And even if age doesn’t count, solid personal achievements cannot be ignored.”
While he went on to reel out a string of achievements recorded by the state and some of her individuals, he clearly states that “…the essence of this campaign is not to spread bile between these two sister tribes. It is just to set records straight. Indeed, as it is said, you bale the water while it is still at the knees. If such a scandalizing error can be made on national TV, the water has indeed come to the ankle. Every people have the right to self-assertion. Surely any well-meaning Nigerian can understand that, especially looking at our multi-lingual, multi-ethnic nation.”
Most reactions that seem to trailing this explicit post, have not identified the NTA as being responsible for this unfortunate situation, instead commentators on either side of the divide have continued to rain inappropriate comments on each other. As a deliberate censorship policy, we are unable to reproduce comments from the on-going banter of words.
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