April 17, 2024

Eno bows to pressure on controversial amended Traditional Rulers Law

Eno bows to pressure on controversial amended Traditional Rulers Law

…Concedes to rotation of headship of SCTR

…Constitutes Committee to determine mode of rotation

By Egufe Yafugborhi  & Chioma Onuegbu

DETERMINED to amicably resolve the lingering ethnic tension over the amended Akwa Ibom State Traditional Rulers Law, Governor Umo Eno has conceded to the principle of rotation for the position  of President-General, Supreme Council of Traditional Rulers, which the new law disallowed.

 Eno, according to a statement yesterday signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Ekerete Udoh, who made his position on the matter known during another truce meeting he held with  the Paramount Rulersat the State Executive Council Chambers, government House Uyo on Tuesday.

He assured the Paramount Rulers at the meeting of his government’s readiness to work with them to find a lasting solution to the lingering and controversial matter.

His words, “I thank you most sincerely for heeding my call. It is through your support and the support of all Akwaibomites that I was elected to this office. I always pray that God will help me to always do my best to satisfy the majority of Akwa Ibom people.

“I have gone to Ibibio, Annang and Oro lands to sue for peace on this issue. And let me thank Barrister Ekpenyong Ntekim for accepting to cooperate with us to resolve this matter out of court.

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“The position of everyone,  from your submissions, is that you have all agreed on the principle of rotation for the position of the President -General of  Akwa Ibom State Supreme Council of Traditional Rulers.

 “We won’t want to meddle into this issue involving our revered traditional fathers.

 That is why we are setting up a 7- man Committee drawn from this revered body to make recommendations concerning the mode or structure of the rotation and submit the conclusions to us, in two weeks.

“We will thereafter, send the recommendations to the State House of Assembly for further considerations”,

In his remarks at the meeting, the Oku Ibom Ibibio and President General of Akwa Ibom State  Supreme Council of Traditional Rulers, His Eminence, Ntenyin Solomon Etuk, noted,“We are all bound by the same cords of unity. It is not about me. It is about the unity and peace of our dear State.

” I am an in- law in Annang land, and my son is married in Udung Uko Local Government Area, in Oro land. We are all one and we must embrace peace for our State to progress.”

According to the statement , Paramount Rulers representing the three major ethnic groups of Annang, Oro, and Ibibio respectively, Edidem (Prof.) Amanam Udo (Etim Ekpo), Owong Okon Abang, (Mbo) and Edidem Clement Francis Ekpenyong ( Ibesikpo Asutan), also spoke in total support of the setting up of the committee, on behalf of their colleagues.

The constituted  7-Man Committee has HRM Edidem Etim Charles Daniel Abia, Paramount Ruler of Eket as Chairman, and Dr. Emmanuel Umontuen who is Secretary, Akwa Ibom Traditional Rulers Council as the Secretary, while Paramount Rulers of Itu, Etim Ekpo, Ikot Ekpene, Mbo, Okobo and Ibiono Ibom respectively are members.

According to the statement 29 out of  31 Paramount Rulers of the state were present as the meeting , as Paramount Rulers of Ibeno and Ini Local Government Areas were absent on health grounds.

  “In his vote of thanks, Barr. Ekpenyong Ntekim a Counsel to some Royal Father who had initially instituted a court action on the issue, described Governor Umo Eno as a man of peace.

 “Also present to lend support to the governor’s decision were Chairman of the State Traditional Rulers Council, Odidem Bassey Etim Edet and the State Attorney General, Mr Uko Udom, SAN”, the statement noted.

The amended Traditional Rulers law, cap 155  Laws of Akwa Ibom State 2022, an executive bill hurriedly passed by the state assembly and assented by Governor Eno, confers on the Oku Ibom Ibibio, head of the majority Ibibio ethnic group as life President General of the State’s Supreme Council of Traditional Rulers, against widespread objection from other ethnic groups.