CROSS RIVER, Nigeria – There is confusion in Calabar South Local Government area of Cross River State over who is the right paramount ruler of the local government.
The Secretary of the Calabar South Traditional Ruler’s Council, Effiong Ikor, had on Wednesday invited all Clan Heads in the local government area for a meeting slated for Friday at the Calabar South Local Government Secretariat.
OgeneAfrican learnt that the arrival of Prof Itam Hogan Itam, the Paramount Ruler of Calabar South infuriated other Clan Heads who shouted that he should not preside over the meeting as he was not a certified village head of the local government neither a Clan Head of any clan in the area.
The situation became uncontrollable and tensed that security operatives have to step in and disperse the people and the local government staff were asked to vacate their offices for fear of hoodlums taking over and unleash mayhem. The meeting ended abruptly.
Speaking with our Correspondent, His Royal Highness, Etubom Nyong Effiom Okon, the Clan Head of Ewa Ekeng Effiom Ewa Ansa Clan and also the President of the Henshaw Town Traditional Rulers’ Council regretted the incident.
He said, “Two days ago, the Secretary of the Calabar South Traditional Ruler’s Council invited all Clan Heads of Calabar South Local Government Area for a meeting on Friday, May 8, 2020, but when we got there, things turned upside down.
“Initially, we were not given a comfortable place but few minutes later, somebody came from nowhere, called himself the Muri Munene of Efut and Paramount Ruler of Calabar South, Prof Itam Hogan Itam, but we the Clan Heads said no, he is not our Paramount Ruler because he is a not a certified Village Head or Etubom in Calabar South.
“The procedure to become a Paramount Ruler of Local Government is in the Edict of 1978, which stated that if there is a vacancy either by dead, the Clan Heads of that local government area will write to the Chieftaincy Affairs, then Chieftaincy Affairs will give one month notice for the Clan Heads to produce one of their own to become a Paramount Ruler.
“It’s over 15 years now since Muri Munene Ita Okokon Ekpeyong, the Paramount Ruler of Calabar South died, nothing has been done. I wrote the Chieftaincy Affairs that they should allow us conduct our meetings for us to produce one of us as the paramount ruler but they refused.
“I was the one who took the State Government, Attorney General of Local government and the Chieftaincy Affairs to Court, the Court decided that the Chieftaincy Affairs should give a date for us to come and conduct the election for one of us to become the paramount ruler.
“After about 3 years, the State Government refused to summon us to produce one of our own as a paramount ruler. They decided to go and pick Prof Itam Hogan Itam in Odukpani, who is not a certified village head of this local government and he is not also a clan head of one of the clans here.
“As regards to Friday’s meeting, the Secretary of the Traditional Ruler’s Council, Effiong Ikor sent us a text message inviting us for a meeting and when we got there, we saw Prof Itam coming and we shouted no, he is not the one to preside over the meeting of Calabar South Traditional Ruler’s Council, because he is not a paramount ruler here, he is not a Clan Head, rather, the Muri Maurice Okon Eyo, the Clan Head of Efut Ikot Ekpe is the one to preside,” he stated.
When contacted on Saturday, Prof Itam, said “It was very dirty and very disgraceful; we went for our routine meeting because the government was getting very worried over the kidnapping, violence and cultism in Calabar South.
“We now said let us the traditional rulers meet and see what we can do to curb these menace and solve the problems. When we got there, one Maurice Eyo and Etubom Nyong Effiom and others started attacking us claiming that they were the Muri Munene and paramount rulers, can you imagine that?”