The Cross River State Traditional Rulers Council has inducted a new Munene of the Efuts, HRM Maurice Eyo, into its fold, saying the induction was to fill the vacant position in the council.
This is coming few weeks after the removal from office of Prof Itam Hogan Itam as the Muri Munene of Efut kingdom by the State government for allegedly meddling into politics.
Performing the induction ceremony in Calabar, weekend, the chairman of the Traditional Rulers Council, Etinyin (Dr)Etim Okon Edet, explained that the government and the traditional council have nothing to do with selection process of traditional rulers.
He explained that the exercise is normally the choice and prerogative of the people to do so and then present the person to the council for official recognition/induction.
HRM Edet charged Munene Maurice Eyo to ensure that peace returned not only to Calabar South, but to all the areas that the people of Efut are located in the state, and urged him to support Gov Ben Ayade-led government.
“You must support the government in power and any other in-coming government. We must support the governor Ben Ayade- led government, because we are duty bound to do so to enable it succeed,” he stated.
Advising traditional rulers across the state to remain non partisan, HRM said “As traditional rulers, the law does not allow you to engage in active politics, but you can mobilise your subjects to register and get their Personal Voter Cards (PVC) to enable them carry out their civic responsibility in the forth coming elections.”
Earlier, presenting the new Muri Munene to the State Traditional Rulers Council, the Secretary General of Efut Combined Assembly, Ndabu (Dr) Godwin Bassey, said the Assembly which, he said, is the highest decision making body of the Efuts, followed due process in the selection, enthronement and presentation of Maurice Okon Eyo 1 to the state council of chiefs for official recognition.
In their separate remarks, the Paramount Ruler of Odukpani and his Biase local government area counterpart described the Efuts as peace loving people and advised the new Muri Munene and the entire people of Efut to eschew all forms of bitterness and rancor.
Speaking in an interview with newsmen shortly after the ceremony, HRM Eyo 1 thanked God for making the event possible and lauded Gov Ben Ayade for his pragmatic and visionary leadership, which he said helped in moving Cross River to one of the leading states in Nigeria in terms of peace, industrialisation, infrastructural development, human capital development and job creation among other uncommon achievements.
He also thanked the chairman and members of the state Traditional Rulers Council and the entire people of Efut for the confidence reposed in him and therefore promised to ensure peace and unity among the Efuts, saying visionary, exemplary and all inclusive leadership would be his administration’s style.
Meanwhile, a faction of the Efut people, under the umbrella of Council of Efut Nation, which is loyal to the embattled Professor, has said the removal of the former Munene had been challenged in Suit No: HC/MISC/154/2022 in Calabar High court.
A press statement, made available to our reporter and signed by 13 clan heads of the Council of Efut Nation, including HRH Muri Amambo Ekpenyong Nsa (Efut Abua Creek Town), HRH Muri Ita Okokon Mesembe (Efut Ibonda), described the report of the induction of Munene Eyo as “false and misleading.”
“Contrary to this false and misleading information, unnecessary tension in Calabar South and Efut Kingdom, HRM Muri Munene Prof Itam Hogan Itam has gone to court, challenging the wrongful withdrawal of his certificates as clan head, Efut Ukem, Muri Munene of Calabar South and president Calabar South traditional rulers council,” the statement stated.