To arrest the declining dignity, honour and respect for traditional rulers in Akwa Ibom State, Governor Umo Eno has sent an executive bill to the House of Assembly for the relevant sections of the traditional rulers’ law to be amended to give new status akin to the northern Emirs, Obas and Oonis of the South – West, Obi of the Southeast and the Obong of Calabar.
The Bill for a Law to amend the Traditional Rulers Law, Cap. 155, Laws Of Akwa Ibom State,2022, LEADERSHIP gathered has received positive responses from critical stakeholders.
The commissioner for local government and chieftaincy affairs, Hon Frank Archibong, who confirmed this, said it is a major decision that will dignify and elevate the state traditional rulers.
Archibong, who noted that the traditional institution has over the years played significant role in the development of the state, stated this while presenting the position of the ministry during the ongoing public hearing organised by the House Committee for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, chaired by the member representing Ika/Etim Ekpo state constituency, Hon Mfon Idung.
The commissioner, who gave vent to the proposed amendment bill, said, “It is of huge importance for the State Assembly to give accelerated process for the bill to be passed into law in order to redefine the status of the traditional rulers in order to accord them the respect deserving of their positions as custodians of our cultural heritage.”
He noted that “for instance, the Oni of ife, Obi of Onitsha, Obong of Calabar and Emir of Kano, are given absolute respect, which is not the case in Akwa Ibom State.
This bill if passed into law, will place our traditional rulers on equal pedestal with others. It will help reduce conflict, guarantee peace and accord them royal prominence and deserving respect as it is practiced in other societies.”
In his remarks, the chairman of the committee, Hon Idung, said that “the traditional Institution is the bedrock of the society, serving as custodians of our heritage and traditions.” He explained that “it is an executive bill transmitted to the legislature aimed at seeking legal framework to accord proper recognition to the traditional institution in the state.”
On behalf of the chairman of the State Traditional Rulers Council (TRC), the Oku Ibom Ibibio, Ntenyin Solomon Etuk, represented by the paramount ruler of Onna, His Royal Majesty, Edidem Raymond Timothy Inyang, he said, “The chairmanship will be rotational to strengthen, dignify and modernize the traditional institution in the state, and equally raise us to the standard as practiced in other states and region.”