Umo Eno, the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, has called on traditional rulers in the state to resist the temptation of politicians to create divisions based on ethnicity, and instead promote unity and harmony.
Certain traditional rulers had taken the state government to court, contesting the enactment of the revised Traditional Rulers Law, cap 155 of the Akwa Ibom State Government.
The amended law, among its various provisions, designates the position of President-General of the Akwa Ibom State Supreme Council of Traditional Rulers to the office of Oku Ibom Ibibio, disregarding the traditional rotational principles.
This development has given rise to a fractious and turbulent climate within the state, with some individuals pointing fingers at politicians for fueling disunity among the traditional rulers.
Addressing members of the Global Evangelical and Missionary Church of All Nations in Oron on Sunday, amidst the prevailing division, Umo Éno urged the monarchs to collaborate with the government to establish peace and unity in the state during the thanksgiving Service in honor of the Paramount Ruler of Udung Uko and Chairman, Supreme Council of Akwa Ibom Traditional Rulers, Odidem Bassey Etim Edet.
‘The State is one. Every Akwa Ibom man, whether Oron, Anang or Ibibio, we are one. Who are you going to fight? Probably you are married to an Ibibio woman or you are married to an Annang man or you have grandchildren there. We have come very far as a people and must not allow politicians to divide this state along ethnic lines,’ Eno said.
In a stern warning to those fueling disunity, the governor emphasized the need to immediately cease such actions, stating his unwavering commitment to resolving the crisis stemming from the amended traditional rulers council law as part of his comprehensive efforts to unify all aspects of the State.
In his words, ‘This problem, I didn’t create it. We must understand that it is the traditional rulers that created this problem. I am here to work with you to ensure that we have an amicable solution, but we won’t do it by confrontation.’
While lauding the traditional ruler for the grace of God in his life, the governor emphasized that his choice to attend the event underscored the deep respect he holds for the traditional institution.
Edet, in his response, expressed his gratitude to God for his life, family, community, and the state, as well as for his appointment to the revered position of the Akwa Ibom State Supreme Council of Traditional Rulers.
During his sermon at the event, the Presiding Bishop Kaiso Okpo highlighted the significance of the traditional ruler maintaining a spirit of thankfulness towards God for the grace that has been bestowed upon his life.