By Jonathan Ugbal
The Clan head of Begiadaliku Clan of Obudu local government area, His Royal Highness, Chief Sampson Ukpanukpong Ogar has blamed the delay in his coronation on a misunderstanding between the nine villages that make up the Clan.
Chief Ogar was installed by the Paramount Ruler of Obudu, His Royal Majesty, Uti J.D Agba on Friday, November 9, 2018 after over a decade tussle.
And, Chief Ogar who told CrossRiverWatch that he feels, “great, honored and accepted,” explained why it took so long.
According to him, the two communities that make up the clan had from 1978, existed autonomously following a gazette to that effect.
However, this changed when Mr. Donald Duke became Governor in 1999 and merged both to form the Begiadaliku Clan with almost a dozen villages and a Clan head elected
“We sprang up with 9 villages in all, 3 from Begiaba and 6 from Kutiang. So when it came up, Begiaba people led by me agreed that the Clan head Chief should be given to our brothers at Kutiang first. So the first Clan head was late Chief Sylvester Attah who took the first turn to rule,” Chief Ogar said.
But, trouble began when an incident over the location of a transformer led to the State government withdrawing the certificates of traditional rulers from Kutiang between the year 2000 and 2001, which left the Clan without a recognized head.
This, Ogar said, made him lead a delegation to the Paramount Ruler a few years later.
He told CrossRiverWatch on phone that: “Three years after the ban of the Clan head due to the decertification of our brothers from the other village, we approached the Paramount Ruler and pleaded with him to give us the way forward because there is no how we would have left our Clan like that.
“He advised that the three Chiefs from the other arm of the Clan called Begiaba should come together and arrange themselves, run an election and select a Clan head that could be presented in Calabar for certification.
“So that was done! My people did that and selected me. So we forwarded the names to the Paramount Ruler’s office and he in turn forwarded our names inclusive of theirs (Kutiang) to Calabar for certification.”
He continued: “So when they presented our names, certificates, both mine as the Clan head and theirs as their village heads were released to us.
“When they got their certificate, now it strengthened them to refuse that my election as Clan head was one sided and we should rerun another election now that they were certificated.
“Our argument was that when I ran the election, they were not eligible to either be voted for or to vote for somebody because they were decertificated (sic).”
Chief Ogar said in 2007, “a date was given to me to be received as a Clan head,” an arrangement, which he said was passed through the Paramount ruler’s office. This, he said was put on hold following threats to harass the Paramount Ruler by some members of the Kutiang community.
“After that, the Paramount Ruler said he was not in the position to impose anybody on them neither was he going to embarrass his status. So he allowed the ball in our court, that we should settle ourselves.
“I was disappointed because ordinarily the 3 votes that my people had for me, the eligible ones, had been authentic and eligible enough for me to uphold my position. Since the Paramount Ruler was not willing to hold on to these votes that took me to the position, we kept on finding the pathway to peace, we don’t want trouble,” Ogar said.
Chief Ogar said he had to involve the traditional rulers council in the Begiading political ward where Begiaba falls under. According to him, the council approached the Kutiang community to plead for peace and that sparked several cycles of two years wait.
“They came and begged them, they (Kutiang) pleaded for time to have a rethink. Two years after that time, I led Begiading traditional rulers council, pleaded with them to come and beg our brothers and appeal to them to let peace reign. They still took some persons to think over it.
“Two years passed again, there was no answer from them. Then I took another step by going to 15 Clan heads and I pleaded with them to come and beg my brothers to allow peace reign to allow the pathway so that we could be represented at the Clan council. They gave the same excuse that they should allow them to have a rethink about it,” he said.
The two year cycles ended with an agreement about a month ago after several delegations including one by the entire Obudu traditional rulers council, had pleaded with the Kutiang community.
“I went to the Paramount ruler and pleaded with him, he took the whole clan head council led by him to our brothers in Kutiang and begged them to allow peace to reign. So they gave some time and with the assistance of elders from both communities, we settled amicably and have signed a memorandum of understanding that I should remain the clan head since I was already certificated. So that is how we settled,” he said.
He further disclosed that the council sent people to interview him and others after the memorandum of understanding was signed.
“That was what paved way for my reception. So when that was signed it became amicable, the clan council sent people here to interview us and confirmed. And we have confirmed and consented that there is peace and agreement between us before the clan council came to my reception,” he said.
He dismissed insinuations that the position was hereditary and expressed optimism that better days were yet to be seen.
“It is by election. It takes the village heads to elect a clan head and clan heads to elect the Paramount ruler. It is only in the case of the village head that could be rotational according to the hierarchy but when it comes to a clan head, it takes all the village heads to elect the clan head. It is an elective position and not a rotational position,” Chief Ogar explained.
On what lies ahead, Chief Ogar who averred that his people had clamored for him while he served the Nigerian Air Force as a supplier in Lagos, maintained that his kinsmen will enjoy his humility, cooperation, service even as he wished them good fortunes.
He said that: “Now that I have left every greener pastures in the city to serve them, I have served them very well at the lower level as a village head and now am very passionate to serve them in a better way now that they have given me opportunity.”
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