Danger Looms In Calabar As Furious Monarch Challenges Superiority Of Obong Of Calabar

In Breaking News, National News, Politics, Reports

By Jasper Etukudoh

From left: Governor Liyel Imoke, Obong of Calabar, Ndidem Quas and Muri Munene during the commissioning of the CBN Enterpreneurial Development Center in Calabar last year
From left: Governor Liyel Imoke, Obong of Calabar, Ndidem Quas and Muri Munene during the commissioning of the CBN Enterpreneurial Development Center in Calabar last year

The Muri Munene of the Efuts and Paramount Ruler of Calabar South local government Area of Cross River State, HRM Effiong Mbukpa has challenged anyone or government to prove that the Obong of Calabar is superior to him.

Speaking in his Palace, the paramount ruler said that the three monarchs in Calabar, including himself, the Obong of Calabar and the Ndidem of the Quas are all equal and of same ranking.

He was reacting to the alleged preference of the Obong of Calabar by both federal and state governments in matters relating to the dredging of the Calabar Channel, whereas he, Mbukpa, claims that ninety per cent of the waterways situates in his Efut land.

But reacting, the Obong of Calabar, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V has said he will not join issue with his brother, the Muri Munene of the Efuts; that he was merely invited to the flag off ceremony and nothing more.

The Muri Munene said “The Obong of Calabar does not have powers over the Efuts, just as the President of Nigeria does not have powers beyond the country. The Muri Munene can never be under the Obong of Calabar.

“Our intention is to write to the governor to ask him to correct the anomaly. How can he make Obong of Calabar seemingly superior to the rest of us? We, all the paramount rulers in Calabar are all equal. None is superior to the other. You are in your father’s house and I am in my father’s house. You cannot come and become superior to me in my father’s house.”

Following the alleged marginalization, HRM Mbukpa said he may no longer be able to calm his people, who have been denied opportunities as work on the dredging exercise get under way without anyone reckoning with him.

Early last month, the minister of transport, Senator Idris Umar formally flagged off dredging of the Calabar waterway at Nigerian Ports Authority after several years of failed attempts. Heavy machinery have been deployed by Calabar Channel Management and other critical stakeholders, signaling possible commencement.

Mbukpa vehemently protested the preference of the Obong of Calabar over him in the matter of the dredging, saying the entire water channel belongs to the Efuts of Cross River State, and he, rather than the Obong ought to be consulted.

HRM Mbukpa said “We are not unhappy over the dredging of the Calabar waterways but are rather pained over it because government is dealing directly with the Obong of Calabar without recourse to the other major ethnic groups, the Efuts and the Quas. Ninety per cent of the waterways in Calabar belong to the Efuts. It is in government Gazette to show who owns the waterways. But now, sadly, government is dealing with only one person. My mind suggests to me that the government is taking advantage of what they have caused in Calabar to want to rubbish us, the Efuts”.

He stated that because of the dredging of the waterways, the then governor of the state called a meeting on Monday 25 September 2006 where the three paramount rulers in Calabar met and he advised that they should not quarrel over the Calabar waterways.

He said he is writing a protest letter on the issue to the state governor so that it can be addressed soon to avert civil disobedience in Calabar.

“Why should they be dealing with him alone on this matter? We have always addressed this waterways issue jointly at the defunct Calabar Traditional Rulers Joint Forum”.

If government continues to deal with the Obong of Calabar alone, the Muri Munene said, “If they do not heed to our protest, only God knows what will happen next, as my people may have to show their displeasure.”

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3 commentsOn Danger Looms In Calabar As Furious Monarch Challenges Superiority Of Obong Of Calabar

  • I APPRECIATE THE COMMENT OF EYO ABOVE. THE LAND AND SEA BELONGS TO THE THE EFUTS,QUAS AND EFIKS. THE LEAST OF WHICH WILL BE THE EFIKS WHO WERE THE LAST SETTLERS IN CALABAR, WHY THEN SHOULD YOU GIVE ADVANTAGE IN CONSIDERATION FOR A DREDGING TO ONE AT THE EXPENSE OF THE OTHER. WHY DO EFIKS MONARCH THINK THAT IT IS IN THEIR INTEREST TO BE ABOVE THEIR NEIGBOUR OF EQUAL REGARD WHO WERE KIND TO THEM WHEN THEY CAME TO SETTLE IN CALABAR AND CREEK TOWN FROM URUAN

  • Any arrangement with three equal leaders cannot work. The Obong of Calabar is the natural leader of Calabar. Let us not open a new front in the atomistic society that is in perpetual conflict with itself. As a neutral observer who is not a subject of any of the three monarchs, I suggest that the Cross River State government take a firm stand to prevent further instability.

  • The Efuts are predominantly fishermen who migrated from the Bantus stock of Central Africa to become first settlers in the coastal waterways area knon as Calabar today before any other tribe be it Efiks who are of Uruan descent or Quas of same Bantus stock with Efuts. From the Rel De Rio River now in Cameroon to Akwa Jabane River to Ikang River to Qua River as well as Parrots and James Irelands belong to Efut and Quas whose descents through inter-marriages with Uruans and attendant influence of the European’s trade mission metamorphosed to Efiks. The Monarchs of Efiks, Efuts and Quas should not have disparity in terms of recognition for long cordiality to be sustained.

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