By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
…They’re mischief makers—palace scribe
CALABAR—A factional group of Muris (Kingmakers) in Calabar South Local Government Area of Cross River State, weekend, elected a former lecturer of College of Medical Sciences, University of Calabar, Prof. Itam Hogan, as the paramount-ruler-elect for Calabar South, even though the occupant of the throne, Muri Munene Mkpuka is still on the throne.
Meanwhile, the Secretary of Efut Combined Assembly, the Kingmakers that have the responsibility to elect or select the paramount ruler of the council, Ndabo Godwin Bassey, has described the group that purportedly elected a new paramount ruler as rebels and mischief makers.
A six-member group of Muris led by Prof. Hogan, had met at the Ekpe Shrine (Efe Ekpe Atu Ekondo) at White House Street in Calabar on the evening of Friday to select a new paramount ruler, arguing that it was the turn of Ukem clan to produce the paramount ruler and that as he was in service, he nominated Muri Ita Mesembe to take his place as Muri-elect, so that if he joins his ancestors, his clan would take over.
However, the Palace Secretary, Ndabo Bassey, described the action of the Muris as a clear case of breach of the peace as youths of the area had wanted to protest the alleged selection of a new Muri, but for the intervention of the sitting paramount ruler, Muri Mbukpa, that sent some policemen to protect the ‘rebels.’
He said that the people, who carried out the purported selection, had long been expelled from the palace for misconduct, alleging that one of them even spat on the face of the former paramount ruler, who had joined his ancestors.
He said by tradition, it was the Muri that performed the funeral rites of the transited paramount ruler of the Efut, who would be qualified to mount the throne, adding that Prof. Hogan alongside other Muris refused to perform the obsequies of the late Muri Munene, when they were called upon to do so.
He said that the Efut cannot have two paramount rulers at the same time and that once the Efut Combine Assembly proclaimed a Muri as the paramount ruler, it was only death that could remove the person.