It is a great honour and privilege to stand here today to formally acknowledge your overwhelming confidence in me as your preferred choice for the sacred stool of Oku Ibom Ibibio, in which capacity I function not only as the President General of Ifim Ibom Ibibio (Supreme Council of Ibibio Traditional Rulers) but also as the Patriarch of Ibibio race worldwide.
I offer my deep thanks to the Almighty God, my Royal Colleagues and the entire sons and daughters of Ibibio nation. In conveying my sincere appreciation to you all for this repose of confidence, I cannot fail to state that though it is a daunting challenge; I accept it fully, trusting in the grace of the supreme creator, Akwa Abasi Ibom to guide me through this service of a lifetime. Let me specifically say that I am encouraged to embark on this sacred voyage. Based on the encouraging display of unity by fellow Paramount Rulers and the entire chain of the traditional institution in Ibibio Land, coupled with the tacit cooperation, goodwill and support of Ibibio Stakeholders.
Having demonstrated this passion consistently beginning with the selection process on Friday, September 14, 2018, and followed with the proclamation on Saturday, November 17, 2018, today’s coronation coming out so successfully, can therefore be described as the consummation of a new horizon for us all.
Let me further assure you all that I have taken this honour and responsibility to serve the entire Ibibio race faithfully with a good conscience and with fatherly disposition in accordance with the sacred norms entrenched in the office of Oku Ibom Ibibio. Let me reassure you that the Oku Ibom Ibibio stool shall be a CANOPY for all Ibibio sons and daughters, nay Akwa Ibomites and others who believe in unity, togetherness and progress.
What is more the watchword of Ifim Ibom Ibibio is “Isehe, Uyio Kiet and Emem” meaning “Progress, One Voice/Togetherness and Peace.” At this time of our state and national life, we can only preserve our identity and develop on the basis of our collective aspiration if we unite and see ourselves as one. We must see unity as a commodity that must be bought at all cost.
Through unity, we as a people can climb the highest of mountains. In togetherness, we can surmount the most tasking of hurdles, stand tall and be strong as a front. The scripture enjoins us to learn even from a minute insect like the Ants (Proverbs 6-5-7).
We have to reinvent the exemplary lives of pursuits advanced by our forebears. They dreamt and canvassed for the entity –Akwa Ibom State, through Ibibio State Union, that we have today. We shall not be children of such stock of wise men, yet falter and allow our ranks to be polluted by invidious characters and merchants of disunity. The stool which I sit will not fail in providing that shed and rostrum we need to thrive on unmolested. We will broker togetherness and brotherhood across borders. The Nigerian nation belongs to us all.
We will therefore stimulate our interests well enough to attract our rights and privileges rather than to beg for it. I cannot fail to offer my advice to the political class to play by the rules. The forthcoming general elections are subject to the will of God and the decision of the electorate through ballots. Politics is not and should not be given the coloration of being a do or die affair.
I therefore urge all, politicians and non-politicians to abhor hate speeches, fake news and utterances that are capable of causing a breach of peace, strife or disharmony among brothers and sisters. May we realize that after campaigns and elections we still remain together as indigenes of Akwa Ibom State.
Our interest as a people must be bigger than our individual interest. The peaceful disposition seen so far in Akwa Ibom State is commendable and deserves to be encouraged.
Our forebears lived a life of peace, unity and togetherness and we cannot do otherwise. I will seek the support and cooperation of traditional leaders across Akwa Ibom State towards collective decisions that will enhance our ranks, build greater understanding and promote development as one people under a common ancestry.
Looking around this arena I have seen very important personalities including those who have travelled far and wide to honour me and the whole of Ibibio people on this occasion. This offers clear indication that you share in the joy that surrounds our new dawn. Yes, indeed, you are ready to support our aspirations.
We thank you very much. I want to specially appreciate the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, His Excellency, Mr. Udom Gabriel Emmanuel, for personally attending both the Proclamation ceremony and the Coronation event today. In same vein, I appreciate the Ooni of Ife, Obong of Calabar, and others who have come to grace this occasion.
Ladies and gentlemen this is an auspicious occasion in our history and must be made to remain evergreen in order to inform, educate and magnetize our younger generation to accept, revere and accord the stool and the incumbent the respect that it deserves. It is time to re-enact our brotherhood; it is time to respect our elders; it is time to invest in our tomorrow to fortify the destiny of our children.
Allow me to recite a line or two of our ancient National Anthem which said, “Though tribe and tongue may differ, in brotherhood we stand.” There may have been challenges that seem to divide us on the basis of personal idiosyncrasies and differences in dialects. But in spite of that, we still understand each other when we speak. That is what makes us one people. Our cultural similarity and tradition also confirms our oneness.
To achieve that, we must recollect our history as a people; we must reorient ourselves and address our seeming differences. We must educate ourselves and appreciate the gains of oneness. The merit of our togetherness is our strength and we through unity relate favourably with other ethnic groups as well as enable us play a more effective role in Nigeria. Nothing should be kept away from us and through renewed sense of oneness, we can achieve this. A local Ibibio adage says that “Nuun Ubok Kiet isisioho ndang ke ibout,” meaning one finger cannot remove lice from the head.”
Therefore all hands must be on deck to raise Ibibio nation to its rightful position in the comity of the Nigeria nation. It is my intention to convoke an Ibibio Summit as soon as possible to marshal a plan for our unity, development and cultural renaissance. More particularly, as a matter of urgency, we shall embark on a mission to remember and honour our past heroes. In line with this, I will undertake a familiarity tour of the various components of Ibibio nation and beyond.
Finally, we have to commit ourselves constantly to Akwa Abasi Ibom, because by Him on our side, we shall reach our zenith. God bless us all.
BEING AN ADDRESS BY HIS EMINENCE, NTEYIN SOLOMON D. ETUK, JP, PARAMOUNT RULER OF NSIT UBIUM LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA, AKWA IBOM STATE ON THE OCCASION OF CORONATION AS OKU IBOM IBIBIO, PRESIDENT GENERAL OF THE SUPREME COUNCIL OF IBIBIO TRADITIONAL RULERS AND PATRIARCH OF IBIBIO NATION AT ASAN IBIBIO TODAY, DECEMBER 31, 2018