By Our Reporter
The embattled Oku Ibom Ibibio 111, His Eminence, Akwa Edidem Akpabio Udo Ukpa is appearing to have lost grip of the leadership of Ibibio traditional institution. This development, according to a titled Chief in Ibibio land, Otuekong ( Engr.) Akpan Bassey, is due to attempt by the Onna Paramount Ruler to use his position to influence other traditional fathers in Ibibio land to support one of his subordinates, Mr. Udom Emmanuel as governor in 2015.
Edidem Ukpa whose emergence as Oku Ibom Ibibio was challenged in court by the Paramount Ruler of Etinan Local Government Area, HRM, Edidem Ime Umoette alongside the majority of Paramount Rulers in Ibibio is also known to be the Life Patron of Traditional Rulers of Oil Mineral Producing Communities of Nigeria, TROMPCON, a position he is allegedly accused of using to allocate all the monies meant for the Oil Spill palliative projects to himself and members of his household.
Otuekong Akpan who was reacting to the recent boasting of Governor Akpabio to install Mr. Udom Emmanuel at all cost, in a chat with our correspondent in Uyo, blamed the Ibibio Monarchs for not carrying out their advisory roles as traditional fathers. He said that much as he is aware of Governor Akpabio’s tempting inducement of the Paramount Rulers in the State, the royal fathers should try and maintain their position of neutrality.
“ I heard the Governor on the radio boasting that PDP governors are Field Marshals in their respective states and that they should go to their states and ensure that they deliver their governorship candidates. I know he was referring to himself but he could only say so because the paramount rulers who supposed to advise him to allow the wishes of the people to prevail have refused to do so perhaps because of his tempting inducement of the royal fathers”
On the issue of Ibibio traditional institution and their role in the 2015 governorship, he said “ for now, one cannot certainly say that there is no problem in the leadership of Ibibio traditional institution. I am happy that there is certainty as to the political leadership of Ibibio. Recently, some opinion leaders had come together and appointed His Excellency, Arc. (Obong) Victor Attah as the Political Leader for Ibibio people. Since then, there has been some clear direction regarding political issues in the land. But it is rather unfortunate that Edidem Ukpa has lost relevance in the traditional leadership of Ibibio people. Let me also say here that there was a time he was in control and at that time, everybody used to hear him speak authoritatively on issues involving Ibibio people in particular and Akwa Ibom state in general. But now, that cannot be said to be the issue anymore and it is a clear sign of loss of relevance in the political and other important issues in Ibibio land.
“ it is also important to note here that his acclaimed leadership is without followership. This is because all the Paramount Rulers of Ibibio that he supposed to lead are no longer with him. And if you go to Onna, you will hear some of the Traditional fathers there complaining that their Paramount Ruler does not carry them along in most of the issues regarding the oil spill palliative projects. A lot of the royal fathers and others who were with him (Ukpa) during the Oku Ibom struggle with Edidem Ime Umoette of Etinan had since deserted him. The man is accused of being only interested in himself and members of his family. So such a person cannot maintain leadership position. And of course, the recent decision of Ibibio people to throw their weight behind the Governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Obong Umana Okon Umana, against his preferred candidate, Udom Emmanuel of the PDP is another reason for his seeming non-relevance in the affairs of Ibibio people because all those Paramount Rulers have now come to see reason why they should support Umana whom they see as representing the interest of the entire Ibibio. Udom is known to be Governor Godswill Akpabio’s candidate which is why he has lost the support of Ibibios”, Otuekong Bassey maintained.