A new chairman of Akwa Ibom State Traditional Rulers Council, TRC has been sworn in as part of activities to mark the 32nd anniversary of the State.
He is the revered patriarch of the Ibibio Nation, the Oku Ibom Ibibio, Nteyin Solomon Etuk and Paramount Ruler Nsit Ubium L.G.A.
Also sworn into office were seven new paramount rulers with a charge on them to collaborate with government in the administration of the state to fast track development, maintain peace and stability in their jurisdiction.
Inaugurating the Royal Fathers, Governor Emmanuel congratulated them on their selection to the stool of their Ancestors.
He said that the selection is in keeping with the law guiding traditional matters in the state. According to him, the power to select the paramount rulers resides with the government and not election.
Governor Emmanuel urged the people to present men of character, enlightenment and exposure to serve in their traditional stool as they could be called upon to represent the state in any form of traditional rulers within the country and beyond.
He also suggested that family heads could be made to participate in the Traditional Rulers Council meeting for a robust deliberation on topical issues and that first-class clan heads being the most senior should be allowed to run the affairs of the council where the paramount ruler is indisposed. He, therefore, called for an amendment in the extant laws to ease this transition.
Governor, however, frowned at the situation where members of the paramount rulers’ family conceal the health status of their patriarch, and if deceased, refuse to announce it thus preventing the selection of a new one.
He directed that rather than the practice of hiding information about a deceased patriarch for selfish reasons, whenever a paramount ruler is late or weak, the most senior clan head should represent the royal father to allow for a seamless change of baton.
Governor Emmanuel announced plans for a befitting palace with accommodation for the Chairman, State Traditional Rulers Council and also promised to improve on the welfare of the royal fathers.
Earlier the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr Udo Ekpenyong, expressed appreciation to the governor for the priority being given to the traditional institution, payment of their stipends and provision of vehicles and sundry allowances.
He said that the selection of new paramount rulers was expedient to fill up the vacuum created by the loss of paramount rulers in the affected local government councils.
On his part, the Chairman, State Traditional Rulers Council, Nteyin Solomon Etuk, thanked the governor for the confidence reposed in him and pledged to justify the mandate given to him.
The seven paramount Rulers sworn in were HRM Okuku Sylvester Udofia -Abak, Edidem Peter Okon Effiong – Nsit Atai, Edidem Etim Edward Akpan – Ini, Okuku Engr Johnson Obosi – Oruk Anam.
Others are Edidem Cosmas Bassey Nkanga – Uruan, Okuku Engr. Amos Daniel Akpan – Ukanafun and Obong Okon Asuquo Abang – Mbo.
The Royal fathers were given the staff of office.