A new Oku Ibom and President-General, Supreme Council of Ibibio Traditional Rulers (Ifim Ibom Ibibio) in Nigeria’s 21st state, Akwa Ibom, was officially proclaimed on Saturday.
He is Edidem Solomon D. Etuk who is also the Paramount Ruler of Nsit Ubium local government area.
The proclamation was done at Asan Ibibio- Ikot Oku Ikono, Uyo local government area- recognised as the ancestral home of Ibibios, the fourth largest tribe in Nigeria.
The coronation of the Oku Ibom Ibibio will be performed in January 2019.
The new ruler was successfully selected on Friday, September 14, 2018 by Ibibio Paramount Rulers during the supreme assembly of Ifim Ibom Ibibio at the Palace of the Paramount Ruler of Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area, His Royal Majesty, Okuku Ime Udousoro Inyang.
“This is a reverred stool. Let us accord it due respect. No Akwa Ibom son or daughter will accept any insult on this stool,” observed the governor.
While thanking God for the success of the event, he lauded the efforts of Obong Victor Attah in making the event a reality.
Governor Emmanuel said he was looking forward to the occasion, adding that Ibibio people now have someone they can run to for advice.
Mr. Emmanuel prayed God to endow the new Oku Ibom with long life so that many can tap from his well of wisdom.
Responding, Edidem Etuk thanked God for the occasion, especially for making it possible for the people to gather in a harmonious atmosphere.
He paid tributes to Royal Fathers who deemed it fit to have choosen him as the first among the equals, pointing out “It is a great honour that I do not take for granted.”
The Oku Ibom also commended Assembly of Clan Heads, Mboho Mme Eteidung, Mboho Mme Obong Ekpuk and Ntisong Akwa Esop Imaisong, among others for always supporting the course of Ibibio land.
He called on all sons and daughters of Ibibio Nation to come together and forge a strong bond of unity for greater glory of Ibibio land, urging that there should be no compromise on the unity of the people.
While thanking Ibibio monarchs for selecting him for the position, he solicited their support and co-operation, and assured that he would not disaapoint the people.
Earlier in his address, Edidem Raymond Timothy Inyang, the Paramount Ruler of Onna and Secretary, the Supreme Council of Ibibio Traditional Rulers, had recalled that Ibibio Union was the first organization in Nigeria that preached unity and development in education and other sectors.
Edidem Inyang said that Ibibio Union was equally the first to demand a state of its own in the country, adding that it was also the Union that sponsored her children abroad for studies from across the state.
He stated that the gathering is meant to “show the Ibibio Nation that the torch that was lit by our forefathers is burning aglow – it is still burning.”
He described the new Oku Ibom as a humble man with an impeccable character and God fearing person, noting that a new vista has been opened for Ibibio people to respect, unite and corporate to bring fruition to the hopes and aspirations of the Oku Ibom for the people which he said will be unfolded soon.
In his vote of thanks, Mr. Onofiok Luke, Chairman of the Central Planning Committee and Speaker of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, thanked Edidem Solomon Etuk for accepting to be the Oku Ibom.
Mr. Luke acknowledged the support of Governor Emmanuel in contributing to the successful planning and execution of the event, noting that the governor had insisted on a peaceful selection process, which he said, was actualised.
He thanked all who contributed in various ways to the success of the occasion, and particularly commended Edidem Udo Joe Ntuk Obom, the Paramount Ruler of Ikot Abasi, for his efforts geared towards ensuring peace and stability in the traditional institution.
The traditional rites/proclamation of the Oku Ibom was followed by traditional obeisance where Governor Emmanuel led other dignitaries to symbolically greet and show respect to the new Oku Ibom.
The Oku Ibom Ibibio, in turn, offered blessings to all.
In a citation that read by the leader of Uyio Essien Ibibio, Obong Udo C.J. George, Umoette was born on April 3, 1946.
He has several certificates including a diploma certificate from College of Philosophy and Theology in WINSCONSIN, United States of America.
Umoette is the founder and General-Overseer of Divine African Church with branches all over the country.
He was elected village head of Ikot Udo Oto in 1984; secretary of Iman Ibom Traditional Rulers Council in 2001; clan head of Iman Ibom in 2002 and paramount ruler of Etinan LGA in September 16, 2003. He later became the chairman of Akwa Ibom State Council of Chiefs, the citation stated.
However, the event had paramount rulers from nine Ibibio local government areas and those of Annang and Oro nation extraction in attendance.
Guests at the occasion were entertained by ekpo masquerades, ekpa society, ntok odiodio and several other Ibibio cultural troops that displayed while over 50 Ibibio groups and organizations paraded their members as they matched through the front of Edidem Ime Umoette waving their banners declaring their loyalty and support to the new Okuibom Ibibio.
High point at the occasion was the proclamation of Edidem Ime Umoette as Okuibom by paramount rulers of Ibibio extraction under the auspices of Ifim Ibom Ibibio led by the chairman of the State Council of Chiefs, Okuku Ime Udousoro Inyang and was witnessed by the leader of Akwa Esop Imaisong Ibibio, Ntisong Ibibio III, Obong Essien Udo Ekidem and the leader of Ibibio Elders Forum, Obong Okon Akpan Oku, among several others.