God keeping Obasanjo alive ‘because he hasn’t fulfilled his promise to Bakassi people’

God is keeping Obasanjo alive so he can keep his promise to my people – Bakassi Monarch
File: President Paul Biya (left) of Cameroon and President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria (right), and former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan (centre), during mediation talks over the issue of Bakassi Peninsula. Photo credit: unmultimedia.org/allafrica.com 

Etinyin Etim Okon Edet, Paramount Ruler of Bakassi and Chairman of the Cross River State Traditional Rulers’ Council, says former President Olusegun Obasanjo failed to fulfill his promise to the people of Bakassi after the area was ceded to Cameroon in 2008.

Speaking during an interview with the Punch, the monarch said Obasanjo would still be very useful in solving the problem, adding: “I am sure that is why God is still keeping him alive.”

Okon Edet stressed that he still has respect for Obasanjo “as a father, brother and friend”, but added that the former President was hasty in accepting the judgement of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) despite the availability of room for appeal.

“There are other countries of the world, even America and Britain, that have had similar experiences and they did not cede their territories,” he said.

“Why was our own so hasty? The rush in which Bakassi was ceded and the rush in which the people were asked to leave, if we had that corresponding rush in resettlement, nobody will hear about the issue of Bakassi again.

“We had expected that same rush in resettling the displaced people but it was not there. We have wasted all these time and many people have died in the process. He (Obasanjo) will be very useful in helping us solve this problem.”

Okon Edet recalled that he held several meetings with Obasanjo at the time and the latter promised him that there was nothing to worry about.

“I visited the Aso Rock Villa within that period up to five times to have interaction with the President; he showed us so much love and assured that all was going to be well.

“Even when the guys took up arms and declared a republic, he called me again to tell my boys to calm down that the latter days shall be better than the former.

“He said this in the presence of some electronic journalists who recorded our conversations. As the President of the country, I had no doubt about what he said.

“But unfortunately, he did not keep to his promise. He is still alive and I intend to visit him soon. He is a man I personally have respect for as a father, brother and friend.

“I will visit him to tell him that ‘oga we still dey, we nor dey kampe, but we still dey. So sir, you have influence all over the world and within Nigeria, can you use your influence to resettle my people? I think he had good intentions just like he resettled the people in the Lake Chad Basin area.”

He lamented that his people have not been treated fairly as they are now scattered all over the place.

“We are citizens of the world, we should be treated fairly. We are all scattered now. Some are within Cross River State while others are in Akwa Ibom State and they want to come back together to live in the same community,” he said.

“At the moment, it is only God’s grace that is upon my people and me. When you are psychologically tortured, it is worse than the physical torture.

“Several things I would have done for my people with the ideas I have, I can no longer display my full potential as a traditional ruler because of the impediments. Where do I go to now? Do I go to Ogoja or Ikom or Adamawa to begin to build a new palace? I need to be given a place so that I do the things I would have loved to do.



    “I do not want to waste my energy and resources on something that will not last. Let them resettle us properly and tell us this is it. Nobody will want his place to be ceded or given out to any other person. Obasanjo will be helpful in solving this problem that he created.”

    In August 2016, President Muhammadu Buhari reiterated that Nigeria will abide by the ICJ ruling on the Nigeria/Cameroon border dispute.

    “We will abide by the law,” Buhari told visiting Mohammed Ibn Chambers, Special Representative of the Secretary-General, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

    “Having accepted the judgment of the ICJ, we are ready to support the security and logistics requirements of the Cameroon-Nigeria Mixed Commission to carry out the border demarcation.”

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