Members of the Igbo community (including Ohanaeze Indigbo) residence in Cross River State have on Tuesday, March 7, 2023, paid homage to the Obong of Calabar, His Eminence, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V, Natural Ruler, Treaty King and Grand Patriarch of the Efik Eburutu Kingdom.
The visit, according to the people is to celebrate with the Obong over the recent victory at the Supreme Court meted by his enemies and that of the throne.
“We are here to celebrate nothing but your victory. The Eze Ndigbo sent his greetings as he is unavoidably absent. His message is to inform you that he will be sending a ram in your next sitting”, says Onowu, Chief Livinus Ihezie, Traditional Prime Minister of the Igbo Community in Cross River.
Disclosing further the purpose of the visit, Barr. Kingsley Kalu, President General of the Igbo Community in Calabar and its environs said: “We are here to pay a solidarity visit to His Eminence, the Obong of Calabar who after 15 years of toiling in the course was victoriously pronounced the permanent Obong of Calabar by the Supreme Court a few days ago.
“We came here to make the Efik Kingdom know that the Igbos who started their lives here in the colonial days as businessmen – who have always cooperated with the Efik Kingdom are still with them and will ever continue to be with them as long as there is life”.
Also, Prof. Marcellus Ojuah, Chairman in the Eze Ndigbo palace in Cross River State said the Igbos and Efiks are one united family, begging the Obong of Calabar to forgive those who threaded the dark path.
“The Igbos, Efiks and Cross Riverians are all united in your victory as injury to one is an injury to all. Your victory is our victory.
“As a traditional ruler, if you are to be a Reverend Father, you will be ministering to believers only but as a ruler, you minister to the good, bad and ugly. If a prodigal child says he wants to come back, please accept.
“We want to wish you the longest rule and reign as God pleases”, Ojuah said.
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On his part, the Obong of Calabar, His Eminence, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V said the Efik throne can never be rubbished, adding that the Obong of Calabar’s institution is not made by man.
While thanking the Igbo Community, he said: “We are pleased that we have been together for a very long time and we will continue to do so.
“We are all people of the Southern region – the South East as we call it today and the South-South and whatever we call it – we are all sub of the then Eastern Nigeria and we will continue to be that way”.
The Obong who said families do have minor problems once in a while, called for continual peaceful co-existence within the Efik and Igbo community, stressing that those in the position of leadership should use the opportunity to better the lives of their people.
“In a family, there are always minor problems but there is no way it can destroy the family – we will still keep onto it and hold onto it. We are brothers and sisters, whether we like it or not. So, please, let us continue to have a peaceful co-existence and let us live together to bring up the lives of our people.
“The key is leadership. Let us pray that we have good leaders that will uphold the principle of helping the downtrodden, building up the lives of other people and not those who step up to consume all that we have into their own pockets.
“If our forefathers like Zik (Nnamdi Azikiwe), Okpara (Michael Okpara) and others did not actually have the love of the people at heart, we couldn’t have had roads, hospitals, schools but these people were up and doing, and they made sure that the small money we had then was used for the benefit of all the people – and, that is why we are all here today and alive”, Obong of Calabar said.
Part of the Igbo community entourage includes Chief Joe Ameke (Nna of Anambra people in Cross River), Prof. Chris Chukwura (President-General of Enugu Union in Cross River), Obi Eyika (MD of Bez Pharmacy and immediate past President General of Igbo community in Cross River) and a host of others.
CONVERSEER gathered that earlier, a Women’s group numbering about 400 visited the Obong of Calabar and pledged their support while about 27 groups will be visiting soon.
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