The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines “Politics” as the activities involved in getting and using power in public life, and being able to influence decisions that affect a country or a society.
Historically, Ini LGA, carved out from Ikono LGA, the cradle of Ibibio nation was created in September 23, 1991 and has 5 Clans of Iwerre, Itu Mbonuso, Nkari, Ikpe and Ikono, 98 villages, with two (2) notable political blocks namely; Ini Zone A (Ini Proper) and Ini Zone B (Odoro Ikono) with ten (10) political Wards.
Ini zone A (Ini proper) is made up of Ikpe Ward 1, Ikpe Ward 2, Itu Mbonuso Ward 3, Nkari Ward 4 and Iwerre Ward 5.
Ini Zone B on the other hand, is made up of two (2) sub political blocks called “constituency” 1 (Odoro Ikono) and Constituency 2 (Ukwok), with 3 wards for constituency 1 and two (2) wards for the latter, which include; Ikono North I Ward 6, Ikono North II Ward 7, Ikono North III Ward 8, Ukwok Ward 9 and Ukwok Ward 10 respectively.
Now, on the view points of elective positions or offices occupied and shared between the two political blocks as agreed upon by the Stakeholders of Ini in far back 2006 is that of the Federal House of Representatives (shared between Ini and Ikono LGAs, with eight 8 years each), State House of Assembly position (shared between Ini Zones A & B with 8 years each) and lastly, the Chairmanship position (shared between the two political blocks with 6 years each).
For the position of the Federal House of Reps and persons occupied from 1999 till date include; Barr. Iquo Inyang of Ikono LGA who occupied the office from 1999 – 2007, Prof. Ini Udoka of Ikpe Ward 2 (Ini zone A, between 2007 – 2015), Engr. Iboro Ekanem of Ikono (occupied office for only one term from 2015 – 2019) and the current occupant, Obong Emmanuel Ukpong-udo of Ikono LGA whose tenure would span between 2019 and 2023.
In the similar vein, the position of the State House of Assembly and personalities occupied include; Rt. Hon. Chief Ukata S. Akpan of Itu Mbonuso Ward 3 (Ini zone A, between 1999 – 2007, Obong Paul Owo of Ukwok Ward 9 (Ini zone B), occupied office from 2007 – 2015 and currently, Rt. Hon. (Akparawa) Emmanuel Ekpenyong Bassey of Iwerre Ward 5 (Ini zone A) served from 2015 till 2023.
In the same vein, the office of the Executive Chairman of Ini LGA and personalities occupied from 1991 till date include;
Chief Ukata S Akpan of Itu Mbonuso Ward 3 (Ini zone A), served between 1991 and 1993. Unfortunately, he did not complete his tenure as the same was truncated by a military take over of Government.
Hon. Emman Ebe of Ikono North I Ward 6 (Ini zone B), served from 1999 – 2002 and 2003 – 2006.
Notably, in between Chief Ukata S. Akpan and Hon. Emman Ebe was Hon. Effiong Udoette (Aka BAMBULU) from Nkari Ward 4 (Ini zone A), served as an elected Chairman of Ini LGA, date not verified yet. Obong Paul Akpan Owo of Ukwok Ward 9, served as an elected Chairman for 11 months (year not verified), Obong Boniface Okon Essien of blessed memory from Ikpe Ward 2 (Ini zone A), served between 2008 and 2011, Hon. Etetim Anwatim of Iwerre Ward 5 (Ini zone A), occupied the office from 2012 – 2015 and currently, Hon. (Elder) Israel Idaisin of Ikono North II Ward 7 (Ini zone B) served between 2017 until 2020.
As it has always been, anytime an Ini son or daughter from zone A occupies an elective position for 8 years, for example, the position of the State House of Assembly, it is believed that that same office will now be moved to Ini zone B. But, on the issue of the office of the Executive Chairman, while Ini Zone B (Odoro Ikono block) was still occupying the position of the State House for 8 years, Chairmanship position remained in Ini zone A for 6 years, e.g is the one between the Late Obong Boniface Okon Essien of Ikpe Ward 2 who served from 2008 – 2011 and Hon. Etetim Anwatim of Iwerre Ward 5, who occupied the office between 2012 and 2015, all these happened during the eight (8) years of Obong Paul Owo as the State House Member.
For the relative peace to continue in Ini LGA, it is left for Stakeholders to decide on whether or not a particular political block in the Local Government is next in line to occupy the Federal and State House positions in 2023 as well as the Chairmanship position in 2021.
Comrade Hope Mark Ekpenyong is a native of Òkpòtò in Iwerre Ward 5, a Local Content Practitioner, an Online Media Influencer, an HSE Manager, a Teacher, a Human Resource Manager and a Corps Member currently serving and writes from South Eastern Nigeria particularly, Enugu State.
As written by: Comrade Hope Mark Ekpenyong, Enugu State