… As 20 0ut of 29 village heads endorse Eteidung Nsidibe Etuk
Though the world is changing in terms of trends, technology and modern discoveries, we are all strongly rooted to our tradition. Tradition includes beliefs and customs which we strongly adhere to or respect. Every government or society or country or state has their own practices which they want to preserve and pass on in hopes of keeping tradition alive. The word ‘tradition’ comes from the Latin word traditionem which means “handing over, passing on”
Today, political influence and interference as well as several interests have eaten up the institution and render it an all comer’s affairs especially, in this part of the world where hallowed things are treated with levity, not minding its consequences.
Ibesikpo Asutan local government area is one of the 31 local government areas in Akwa Ibom State with two clans: Ibesikpo clan and Asutan clan. Paramount Ruler ship rotates naturally in the two clans in succession. Ibesikpo as a clan has just ended their turn at the demise of the late Edidem Ita Etuk, thereby creating a room for Asutan to fill in the vacant position of paramount ruler. Well, this is not the issue in question here as that is story for another day.
The issue in contention lies on the clan headship of Ibesikpo. The late Paramount ruler, His Royal Mayesty, Late Edidem Ita Etuk hailed from Ibesikpo South (since Ibesikpo is divided into north and south) and clan headship most times operates on a rotational basis. In this case, at the demise of the paramount ruler from Ibesikpo south, some school of thoughts averred that the next clan head will emerge from Ibesikpo north. Century Newsfront findings show that Ibesikpo north comprises of eight groups with 41 villages viz: Afaha, Nnung Oku, Nnung Oku Ubo and Nnung Ikpene groups of villages. Other groups are Nnung Ukana, Okukok, Mbierebe and Mbikpong. Our investigations indicate that apart from Mbikpong group that are not permitted by tradition to aspire for the office of clan head but have a sacred duty to perform, which is to ‘crown’ a qualified village head that emerged as clan head, ukong udak as called in the local name, the following groups have so far ruled as clan heads at one time or the other: Afaha, two times; Nnung Oku, two times; Nnung Oku Ubo one time and Nnung Ikpene once. While Okukok and Mbierebe groups have not tasted of the office for once, Nnung Ukana in the south just ended their rule in the person of late Edidem Ita Etuk, leaving Okukok and Mbierebe groups that have not tasted of the office at all. Though in some quarters agitations are to maintain an unwritten rotational arrangement, the rhetorical question is, should excellence be sacrificed on the altar of rotational arrangement?
At the last count, five village heads have purchased forms vying for the office of clan head. Our findings show that that these five royal fathers are eminently qualified in their own rights for the office, though a few gray areas stand as bottleneck to some of them. These royal fathers are: 1. Eteidung Nsidibe John Etuk (13 years as certified village head), Ikot Ekere; 2. Eteidung Emil Effiong Isaac (29 years as certified village head), Owut Uta; 3. Eteidung Edet Udosen Umanah (28 years as certified village head), Ikot Obio Akpan; 4. Asukwo Akpan Obot (17 years as certified village head), Ikot Oduot and 5. Eteidung (Apostle) Daniel Joshua (7 years as certified village head), Mbierebe Obio.
Eteidung Nsidibe John Etuk (13 years as certified village head), Ikot Ekere (otherwise known as Nnung Oku Akpasima): is a major contender in the clan headship race. Holds a degree in Fine and Industrial Art, well exposed, friendly, brilliance, articulate, a philanthropist and an administrator par excellence who is selfless in all ramifications. Though he is being described as a new generation royal father, well vest in the use of ICT.
Investigations carried out by Century Newsfront show that Eteidung Nsidibe John Etuk during has over the years embarked on series of humanitarian and philanthropic gesture to the less privileged such as sponsorship of two indigenes of his village every year on skilled acquisition in different fields of endeavour. He also instituted what was called, “Royal Welfare Scheme” in both Ibesikpo and Nsit Atai local government area to alleviate the suffering of some of the royal fathers who may have challenges in the area of children school fees, feeding and general welfare of their families. This scheme ran for three years until some people misused the scheme. When Century Newsfront contacted him, the royal father who expressed surprise saying, “I did those things as a way of life and am surprise that people were keeping record of them”. When asked on his role on the ongoing chieftaincy tussle he said, “I hold tenaciously to the laws guiding the royal institution since my enthronement as the village head of Ikot Ikere infact, I was one of those that agitated for the burial of the late paramount ruler before the process of selection of the new clan head in our clan begin, while others were of the opinion that the selection should be done immediately. When they talk about zoning of the clan headship, I don’t understand what they are talking about and this is my first time of hearing such word in this matter. The only thing I know is that we operate under Ibesikpo north and south, since the late paramount ruler came from Ibesikpo south, its automatic comes to Ibesikpo north where I come from and that is my basis of contesting”. Concerning his purported ukong udak, the royal father averred that it was customary for such ritual to be carried out and noted that about 20 village heads were present at the event out of about 29 village heads that are qualified to do the selection.