Annang Tribe Charts New Direction for Self-Rediscovery

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*Hosts first Annang heritage lecture series

Mary Ekah

It is no news that in recent times there have been series of agitations in the country, where every other ethnic group is interested in embarking on the journey of self-rediscovery. It is therefore appropriate that the Annang sons and daughters, from all indications, are realising the essence of tracing history and causing revival in the Annang tribe, following its proposed lecture scheduled to hold on November 12 at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island.

Annang is said to be a cultural and ethnic group that lives in Southeastern Nigeria. At present, the Annangs have eight local government areas of the present 31 local government areas in Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria namely Abak, Essien Udim, Etim Ekpo, Ika, Ikot Ekpene, Obot Akara, Oruk Anam and Ukanafun. They were formerly located in the former Abak and Ikot Ekpene Divisions of the Annang Province, in the former Eastern Region of Nigeria popularly known as Ika-Annang.

The Annangs have a history and reputation for fearlessness and the ability of villages and clans to bind together to fight a common enemy.

However, they suffered genocide during the Nigerian Civil War, which lasted for three years (1967–1970) and the Annang lost a significant number of its people. The effect of the war and the resulting neglect of the Annang are now a serious political issue and a source of unrest in the area.

It is therefore timely that a certain group from this tribe, named, Ati Annang Foundation (AAF), Lagos Chapter, a foremost socio-cultural organisation in Annang Nation, is combining efforts to bring back the rich heritage and reputation of the Annang people with this reawakening lecture.

Briefing newsmen last weekend in Lagos on the proposed Annang Heritage Lecture Series with the theme, ‘Annang Nation, Evolution, People, Culture and Trade’, the Chairman of the Lagos Chapter of the Foundation, Otu Solomon Udom, said that the consciousness for the Annang tribe to redefine its identity could not have come at a later time than now.

“We think that for us to be able to carve an identity for ourselves, time has come for us to go back to history because you cannot actually identify with your ethnic nationality without first and foremost knowing about your origin. It is therefore important that you have absolute knowledge of how you evolved and who you were before now so that we can also consolidate our identity and join in the entire agitations for self-recovery. So I think this is the time and it is expedient that this activity happens now so that we can also know who we are with a view to charting a direction that will take us to the El Dorado,” Udom noted.

The Annang Heritage Lecture which comes under the chairmanship of Mr. Ray Ekpu (OON), Udom, said is aimed at creating a converge of Annang indigenes in Lagos and its environs an all chapters of Ati Annang Foundation to bond together as a people.

Ati Annang is non-political socio-cultural foundation, which was founded by a set of young men who came together and saw the need to embrace the culture and tradition of Annang nation. It has a larger group, referred to as Afe Annang, formed at the end of the civil war in Nigeria with the goal of fighting the marginalisation of the Annangs by the Nigerian government.

The lecture, the Lagos Chairman of Ati Annang said, would give a historical background into the evolution of the Annang ethnic nation with focus on knowledge of the people, culture and trade in the past, adding, “this lecture is intended to present an atmosphere where Annang sons and daughters can sit together in unity and kick start a discussion on the future of Annang nation in today’s emerging world and economy.”

The lecture, which kicks off from 3:00pm will be delivered by the Director, Dance, National Troupe of Nigeria, Mr. Arnold Udoka and will have panel of discussants made up of personalities of great repute. Also expected to grace the occasion are the deputy governor of Akwa Ibom State, Dr. Moses Ekpo; Majority Leader in the Senate, Senator Obong Godswill Akpabio; Obong Chris Ekpenyong, and Atuekong Don Etiebet, amongst others.