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#FreeThomasThomas: AN OPEN LETTER TO GOVERNOR GODSWILL OBOT AKPABIO

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1st August, 2014
His Excellency
Dr. Godswill Obot Akpabio
Office of the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom
State
Government House
Uyo.
Sir,
THOMAS THOMAS AND THE NEED TO PROVE
BOOKMAKERS WRONG
Akwa Ibom State is a society in transition,
seeking perfection in every facet. Though such
perfections are practically impossible, yet the
meaningful attainment of climbing up the
scale of standards has been shown to be
achievable. Expectations in the State of her
leaders have been upwardly mobile. This
expectation is often misunderstood, and
misrepresents the people as extremely critical
of their leaders in particular, and of
themselves in general. In essence, every
person that ever found himself in a leadership
position was viewed from the various prism of
society; to assess the person and confirm
whether the person meets the checklist of the
standards. This is Akwa Ibom, and we are
persuaded that you understand this
temperament so much that your tolerance
becomes a major point of strength that you
have.
The Civil Liberties Organization (CLO) in Akwa
Ibom State as the foremost civil rights group in
Nigeria has elected to do this open letter,
hoping that while you read it, the public,
particularly the close to two million voter
population in the State will read this too. Your
response, which is often very swift, to issues
that border the people, deserves
commendation, and we readily count on this
and other inherent traits of His Excellency, in
considering this open letter. An advance copy
had been sent, and since there was no reply,
common sense dictated to us to have this
interface with you. This is especially so
because you had once admitted that you are a
member of the Civil Liberties Organization
(CLO), though you are yet to regularize your
membership with the branch in Akwa Ibom.
We hope you will be kind enough to fix a date
for your formal reception as a member of the
CLO, someday, which we hope will be very
soon.
Mr. Thomas Thomas, a well known and
celebrated writer on issues in Akwa Ibom State
is your friend. He is one young man that has
taken particular interest in your
administration, critiquing you like a true friend
should. You will acknowledge this fact, Sir. It is
admitted that some of his writings may not
have been very palatable, yet like bitter pills,
you stoically swallowed them; and you
achieved results. Using his medium, THE
GLOBAL CONCORD to communicate with you
every week, and you have actually
acknowledged reading it to “know the latest”
or even to “amuse” yourself, he religiously
accomplished the task he gave himself. Your
friend has been in the custody of the State
Security Services (SSS) for the past thirty-one
(31) days.
Part of your accomplishments Sir, is not to
create a society of hooded bigots. Your recent
donations to the Nigerian Union of Journalists
(NUJ) in Akwa Ibom State some persons have
said came quickly on the heels of the arrest of
your friend, Mr. Thomas. The recent fraternal
largesse of N100 million, donation of five
brand new buses, and general interests in the
union appears a chronicle of reward. As active
civil rights activists, we commend you for your
kind gesture to the union. The union has
never fared better. You will be better
celebrated as a friend of the union, and
practicing Journalists in particular, if you take
their welfare and interest into consideration,
including that of Mr. Thomas. You have
uncovered him; give him his freedom.
In 2007 shortly after you came into office, an
open war, as it were, was declared against
media workers. Three media workers were
rounded up in quick succession – a writer for a
local tabloid, a vendor (distributor), and the
chairman of the editorial board of a national
newspaper in Abuja. We picked up the
gauntlet, drew your attention to the unhealthy
sequence and negative attention it would give
your government, and had advised when we
had a meeting with you; that, the infraction
had the prospect of distracting you. You
surprisingly proved you were a leader of no
mean repute by collapsing well known barriers
with the media community. You acceded to
our suggestions for you have practicing
journalists as your media aides, and you did,
creating offices that accommodated the
growing pressure then. Peace reigned, and
you became very focused in your programmes
and projects.
With those dark days over, it is surprising Sir,
that a repeat something more draconian
appears to be raising its ugly head. This is
especially surprising since you are now running
the last lap of your tenure. You have barely
nine months to hand over the baton of State
leadership. We are very sure that you want to
be remembered for the good you did,
especially to your friends, including Mr.
Thomas, whose incarceration has made him
an instant celebrity nationally and
internationally. Our reckoning is that is
popularity is soaring so high that your several
good works might diminished anywhere press
freedom is mention. We feel sad about this
given what you have done, and which you are
doing. The message is, FREE THOMAS THOMAS.
We advocate responsible journalism. We
advocate freedom of the press, and freedom
of speech. We advocate freedom of
association. These and other freedoms we
admit, come with their responsibilities. The
Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria,
CRFN (1999) as amended is express clear on
these freedoms, including socio-economic and
cultural rights. The African Charter on Peoples
Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act as
contained in Laws of the Federation of Nigeria
(LFN) 2004 has not reduced the import of the
strengths of these and other rights. We rely on
these and other treaties to appeal that you
please GET THOMAS THOMAS RELEASED FROM
THE CUSTODY OF THE SSS since the courts are
still on strike.
Using the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in
Akwa Ibom State to make it look as though the
noble profession promotes a dog-eat-dog
situation, cannot stand, because your
magnanimity to the NUJ shortly after the
arrest of Thomas Thomas, though a good
gesture on your part, has been interpreted in
several quarters to mean your using the NUJ
against some journalists. We do not want to
believe this possibility, but would rather
consider it a co-incidence. The co-incidence
actually requires a second look. Elder Patrick
Albert is a fine gentleman, and he has proven
his worth as a leader of the union. Our
suspicion would be dealt with at a more
private level. We are aware that the NUJ has
always recognized the GLOBAL CONCORD
newspaper as one of its own. Ordinarily, we
expect him as a professional Journalist to
request for a political solution to the crisis. The
continued incarceration of Thomas Thomas will
not help the image of His Excellency. THOMAS
THOMAS MUST BE FREE!
An Order of court caused the detention of
Thomas Thomas, Governor Godswill Akpabio’s
friend by the SSS, that Order did not specify a
return date. And judiciary workers have been
on strike. As the last hope of the common
man, the judiciary cannot be accessed right
now. About 100, 000 or more inmates in
Prison, police, SSS, Civil Defence Corps,
NAPTIP, military and other detention facilities
in Nigeria cannot accessed the courts. IT TAKES
A POLICAL SOLUTION TO RELEASE THOMAS
THOMAS.
His Excellency, Governor Akpabio will become
an instant hero if he releases Thomas Thomas
today. This is our prayers, Sir. IT TAKES A
GOOD MAN TO DO GOOD THINGS. And it is a
good thing to release THOMAS THOMAS. We so
urge you in the spirit of brotherhood. Don’t
mind those who will advise you otherwise. In
2007/2008 you graciously listened to us, and
applied our advise; it worked. This one will
work, Sir. TO FREE THOMAS THOMAS MAKES
YOU A GOOD MAN.
May we remind you that the International
Human Rights Convention which you granted
approval in principle, intends to celebrate your
human rights appeal, when we eventually hold
same. This is a test case, Sir.
We sincerely thank you for proving that you
are not only a democrat, but a statesman with
a large heart. We wish you the best in your
pursuit in life.
Yours-in-Service-To-Humanity,
For: Civil Liberties Organization (CLO), Akwa
Ibom State Branch
Clifford Thomas, Esq.
Chairman

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