By Ogar Monday and Odey Ojeka
The Obol Lopon of Ugep, Obol Ofem Ubana has said that the failure of the political leadership in the state necessitated his visit to Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari.
The monarch stated this when he received the gubernatorial candidate of the Social Democratic Party for the 2019 general elections, Mr. Eyo Ekpo in his palace where he lamented that if the political leaders were aware of their responsibilities and act on same, the crisis facing his community and the surrounding communities would have been averted or resolved long ago.
“My primary responsibility as a traditional ruler is to ensure peace in my community and the surrounding community and I am ready to go to the Queen of England if that will ensure peace in these communities,” said Obol Ubana who stressed his visit to Mr. Buhari was to intimate him of the security challenges and ask for his swift intervention.
“There would have been no need for me to travel to Abuja if our political leaders were up and doing. There was no personal demand I made, all I want is peace and that is what I asked from him,” he said.
Mr. Ekpo, a former Attorney General in the state in his remarks averred that he was familiar with the crisis in the area and pledged to sustainably resolve such when he becomes governor.
He noted that the causes of the recent crisis in the State were rooted in the long absence of elected local governments; the deliberate failure to maintain previous close links between the State Government, the traditional institution and the people; the inexcusable degradation in the relationship between the State Government and the law enforcement and security agencies; all of which had given room for old grievances over farmland, chieftaincies and plantation royalties across the State to be resurrected.
Obol Ubana had led a delegation to visit Mr. Buhari on October 9, 2018 where he had made three requests including the take over and upgrade of the Institute of Technology and Management, Ugep; the development of the solid minerals in Yakurr; the resettlement of the Ebijakara people in Abi local government area and the to honor the late Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Dr. Okoi Arikpo for his contribution towards the development of Nigeria.
The ITM Ugep, commonly referred to as Ugep Polytechnic was built by the Cross River State Government under former Governor Liyel Imoke with speculations that it was a gift to the late Obol Lopon, Obol Ubi Inah.
And, Obol Ubana asked Mr. Buhari to upon take over, change it to a federal government Institute of management and technology.
CrossRiverWatch understands that the visit was facilitated by Mr. Buhari’s aide on prosecution, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla following his promise to the Okurobong chiefs in Ijiman during the 2018 Leboku festival that he will carry the Obol Lopon to visit the President.
The visit, some say, may be a way to assuage the traditional rulers whom were said to be unhappy with Mr. Obono-Obla for his actions which they felt had ridiculed the throne.
He had petitioned the monarch for being complicit in a gang war that led to the death of his nephew which led to the arrest of the monarch.
Meanwhile, President Buhari had in his remarks, promised that no part of the country will be ignored under his watch.
“No part of Nigeria will be ignored under his watch. I am very pleased that you have shared some professional background as a former military officer. My experience of being in the military afforded me the opportunity to work with all Nigerians and this is a lifetime experience,” Mr. Buhari said.
The head of civil service of the federation, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita, Niger Delta Affairs minister, Usani Usani; his counterpart in the information ministry, Lai Mohammed; the secretary to the government of the federation, Boss Mustapha and former Group Managing Director of the crude oil marketing department of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Mr. Jedy Agba among others, were in attendance.
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