We the Annangs of Nigeria residing around the world do come together in the spirit of unity and resolve as follows:
1.That our cultural heritage is the mainspring of our cultural identity and a guarantee of sustainable development.
2.That the process of globalization, political and social transformation alongside the resultant intolerant situations in our homeland is a threat to our culture.
3.That we lack resources for safeguarding our heritage.
4.That we as individuals and as a community have an important role to play in the production, safeguarding, maintaining and recreating our culture for posterity.
5.That through unity we could enrich and preserve our culture and safe it from extinction.
6.That we have a duty to build a greater awareness, especially among the younger generations, of the importance of the intangible cultural heritage and of its safe guarding.
7.That we have witnessed policies and programs that are detrimental to the existence of our intangible culture and
8.That our culture is worth preserving.
A SHORT HISTORY OF AHPI
When the erstwhile publisher of Encyclopedia Britannica had an entry on Annang and called us a different name, I wrote to the publishers and asked them to correct it and was told that there is nothing written about Annang in the literature. This was in 2005. The publishers demanded a reference to authenticate my point that Annang was indeed an ethnic group worthy of their consideration and entry. The editors further directed my attention to the work of the colonialists. The editors were right, not much was written about the Annangs in the literature and those who wrote about Ikot Ekpene specifically were colonial agents. In fact, the first scientific study of our society by a westerner occurred only in 1957 when Messenger, with the help of Udo Umo Ekam, arrived in Ikot Ekpene to study the Annang culture.
The Annang identity has been a subject of speculation by various non-native writers who knew very little about the Annangland and its people as Messenger discovered in 1957. Dr Messenger found the work of Talbot (1923; 1926) who wrote from Ikom and Eket not useful in his study of the Annang and cautioned that work of colonial agents who described the people of southern Nigeria to fit colonial policies is of little use in understanding the people. Messenger further discovered that Talbot’s perspective was heavily influenced by evolutionary theories of the period and individuals who served as interpreters and those who were informants to colonial agents purposely distorted information as a way to confuse those they saw as oppressors in their midst. Armed with this information, I became determined to tell our story. It was necessary to register AHPI as a platform to tell our story to the world and to create a forum to bring our people together for our own good.
I enlisted the help of Annangs elsewhere in Europe and in Nigeria and found the receptive ears of Prof. Celestine Ntuen (Now VC of Richman University), Paul Usoro (SAN), Uduak Ukpeh, (UK) Dr. Michael Eshiet (UK), Prof. Unyierie Augustino and Rev. Fr. John Bosco Ekanem. These fine compatriots formed the initial members of the board of directors. Unfortunately, as a result of the distance in the early days of the internet, the board did as best as they could and with the publication of Annang Wisdom and many articles on the internet, the board disbanded.
Our dream did not die and the idea of AHPI was taken to another Annang organization but it was hard to sell the dream amidst the political realities in the state at the time. With discussion from many in Africa, the USA and Europe, it became necessary to form a new AHPI board with members largely from the grassroots in the homeland in 2013. Justice Ette was invited to the board and a new dream was hatched. Today Annang Heritage has become a member organization determined to play a major role in the lives of many in Nigeria and around the world. Today chapters have sprung up from around the world. In an era of globalization, we have discovered that no matter where we are we can come together and demand accountability from ourselves and those who influence our lives. We can tell our own story and sing our own song. In the words of the popular song we can build our own society and become participants in our society rather than observers. Annang Heritage has come to stay for our own good and with your determination and hard work the slogan Agwo Annang ade Agwo Uko can truly become a word others say about us.
Abom (Dr.) Ezekiel Ette, Ph.D.
International President and Founder