Governor Umo Eno of Akwa Ibom State has asserted that the recent protests in the state regarding the installation of the President-General of the Supreme Council of Traditional Rulers in Uyo, the state capital, were orchestrated by politicians who had faced electoral defeats.
In a statement, the governor provided a detailed account of the process that culminated in the appointment of the President-General. He clarified that this decision had received unanimous endorsement from traditional rulers representing all 31 local government areas of the state.
Governor Eno further explained that he had no direct involvement in the selection process, as it had been established even before he assumed office as the governor of the state. Consequently, he maintained that accusations of wrongdoing should not be directed at him.
Eno cautioned against any attempts by politicians to exploit ethnic and parochial sentiments in an endeavor to disrupt the state’s stability, asserting that such efforts would be met with resistance.
He stated, “There are several insinuations and misunderstandings being fostered by those who were unsuccessful in the elections, and they believe they can sow division in the state by inciting ethnic sentiments. Such endeavors will not succeed under this administration.
“Before I assumed office, the paramount rulers had already convened and reached a consensus. I was merely a witness to that meeting. The 31 paramount rulers in the state, with the exception of those who were either unwell or deceased, convened and concurred that in order for Akwa Ibom to play a role in the national traditional rulers council, it was imperative to elevate the traditional rulers council to become the Supreme Traditional Rulers Council, presided over by the President-General, for a four-year term. I did not appoint him.
“Coincidentally, the President-General is the Oku Ibom Ibibio. Additionally, they selected Vice President General I to be the Nkuku Annang, and Vice President General II to be the Ahta Oro. These positions were designated to represent the Supreme Council of Traditional Rulers at the national level. They also decided to rotate the chairmanship of the Traditional Rulers Council, a practice that has been consistently upheld. They accomplished this without my intervention.
“I would like any traditional ruler from any part of this state to openly affirm that they were not present at that meeting. The only recommendation came from the Paramount Ruler of Itu, who suggested a slight modification, which was accepted, leading to the creation of the two additional offices (VPG I and VPG II).
“To formalize these changes, we needed legal backing. Consequently, when I assumed office, consultations were conducted. The bill was forwarded to the House of Assembly to enact it into law. The bill underwent House of Assembly scrutiny, and there was a public hearing.
“The bill was subsequently passed, and upon my return, I signed it into law yesterday. This action was simply an acknowledgment of our traditional fathers’ wishes. I had anticipated that they would reach out to express their gratitude for honoring their request. I did not initiate the bill, and I played no role in its formulation.