Paramount ruler of Bakassi and chairman of the Cross River State Council of Traditional Rulers, Etinyin Etim Okon Edet is angry that the state government has shown utter disregard to the traditional institution. He has vowed that after the 2023 election, government officials will be made blind if they continue to disregard the traditional institution.
Across the state, royal fathers have complained to the campaign team of the PDP, led by Senator Sandy Onor, and supported by a former governor, Mr Donald Duke and a former deputy governor, Chief Effiok Cobham.
On Tuesday at his palace in Calabar, the monarch said he had to relocate to Calabar because his palace in Bakassi had been taken over by Cameroun gendarmes and that the governor, Prof Ben Ayade who promised to build a palace for him did not keep the promise.
He said politicians were underrating traditional rulers. According to him, he would show wickedness to those who continue to underrate and disregard the institution by showing them how powerful the institution can be.
Edet said he was not a tribalist and did not believe in the theory of giving power to a people on the basis of ethnicity or tribalism, or because the people felt it was their turn to grab power. He said “election of 2023 won’t be about party but the individual. I’m not a tribalist. I fight tribalism. I believe in the best. There are lot of people also who don’t believe in tribalism and ethnicity.
In apparent reference to how the governor who was elected on the ticket of the PDP chose to dump the party to join the APC with most of his followers and appointees and also tok over the secretariat of the PDP in the state, the traditional ruler made reference to a Hindu mythology which talked about how a little bird, in a sheer show of determination, dried up the seas to recover her stolen eggs. Then he said: “PDP, your eggs were stolen. If you are determined, you will recover your eggs.”
“Everybody has seen what is happening in our state. If it is good, it is good. If it is bad, it is bad. He urged the PDP governorship candidate to ensure the empowerment of traditional rulers “when you win. They don’t care about bus. They keep saying traditional rulers are not apolitical. We are not apolitical. I am not apolitical. I am a politician. I told Ayade I am a politician. I studied political science. So, what do you call me?
He said he deliberately hosted the PDP team in his Calabar palace because he had become an IDP, by reason of the ceding of Bakassi to Cameroun and refusal of the government to resettle his people properly.
“I deliberately brought you here to see what I’m passing through. I had a palace in Abana, a big palace. But my palace is now a command of Cameron gendarmes. I want to live in Bakassi; let me see how militants will come and chase me away. If you give me a palace today, I will move to Bakassi today.
“I’m number one IDP in Nigeria. Government is unfair to me. We will be very wicked in the next run. Any governor who does not recognise us will become blind.”
Onor had spoken against the growing idea of power shift to the south based on ethnic consideration and noted that the APC had failed the state and could no longer be trusted to continue punishing the state and its people.
Duke who also spoke during the visit said the campaign mantra of the APC governorship candidate, Prince Bassey Otu was faulty and worrisome, as he has consistently said he would continue from where Ayade will stop. He said if Otu got into office, the people of Cross River will all die.
Duke said even though Out was his fellow Efik brother and an inlaw, he could not support him because he saw no future for the state he once governed, as long as it was Ayade that brought him as candidate.
The former governor said it would be suicidal for him to join an aircraft being piloted by an incompetent person just because the pilot was his brother. He said Onor was better and deserved to be supported by everyone to become governor.