Edidem Ekpo Oto V, the Obong of Calabar, has called for peace and unity among the Efiks and all ethnic nationalities in Nigeria as the country recently celebrated the birth of Christ.
He said it was only through unity that the country would overcome its seeming socio-political and economic challenges.
The Obong, who made the call while addressing the 12 clans of the kingdom which gathered at his country home, Adiabo, for the annual Utomo Obong cultural festival and homage which is always celebrated during the Christmas, said, “If you look closely, you will discover that we still have this lingering challenge. It is the challenge of lack of love and unity. My appeal is to all of you to be one for if we are united; we shall be like iroko tree which cannot easily be pulled down.”
He said, “As a matter of fact, the history of Nigeria will not be complete if one does not mention the history of the Efiks and the stool of the Obong of Calabar. I commend the federal government for recognising the Obong of Calabar as one of the first class traditional leaders in the country.”
Meanwhile, he challenged members of the National Assembly of Efik extraction to speak out in the face of marginalisation, and warned against timidity, selfishness and greed, saying “we need you to be the shining light in Abuja, let our government at the national level know our plight and be your brother’s keeper.”
Earlier, a member representing Bakassi in the Cross River State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Bassey Ekpo Bassey, lauded the Cross River State government for adopting the Utomo Obong festival into State tourism calendar just like the carnivals, leboku and northfest, adding “with this, the Efik cultural heritage and tradition have been recognised as unique.”