Recently in Akwa Ibom State, the House of Assembly passed an amendment to the Akwa Ibom State Supreme Council of Traditional Rulers Law, sparking controversy and concerns over discrimination and division among citizens.
The new legislation, signed into law by Governor Umo Eno on September 22, 2023, designates the position of President-General of the Akwa Ibom State Supreme Council of Traditional Rulers exclusively to the office of Oku Ibom Ibibio.
The passage of this law did not go unnoticed, and Dr. Asuquo Inuikim, the former president-general of the Oron Union, expressed his discontent, condemning the amendment as “satanic, discriminatory, and condemnable.”
Inuikim criticized the lawmakers for ignoring the desires of their constituents and enacting a law that further marginalizes and divides the citizens. He highlighted the united stance of paramount rulers from Annang, Oro, and Obolo ethnic nationalities against the legislation, emphasizing its objectionable nature.
Inuikim raised concerns about the infringement of citizens’ rights and freedoms due to this law. He questioned the rationale behind confining the position of President-General to Ibibio land, effectively ending the rotational process of the headship of the Traditional Rulers Council (TRC).
He strongly criticized the attempt to undermine the established rotational chairmanship of the State Council of Chiefs, calling it a departure from the wisdom and traditions of the pioneer royal fathers of the state.
According to Inuikim, the amendment to the Traditional Rulers Council Law in 2022, changing the title from chairman to president-general, was initially perceived as an opportunity for an Oro man to hold the position. However, political maneuvering prevented this, allowing Oku Ibom Ibibio to retain power.
As his two-year term neared its end, there were attempts to secure a lifelong presidency and restrict the position to the Ibibio tribe. Inuikim strongly criticized this move as excessive greed and a potential threat to the unity and peaceful coexistence of Akwa Ibom state.
In light of these developments, Inuikim called for a reconsideration of the legislation. He urged the House of Assembly to rectify the perceived injustice by promoting inclusivity, unity, and fairness among citizens. He emphasized that discriminatory laws cannot stand when they contradict the Nigerian Constitution and called for the restoration of lasting peace, harmony, and unity in the state.
IMAGE: 21st century chronicles