By The Evangelist News edition, Wednesday September 2023. By Josephine ETUK
The Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs,Akwa Ibom State, Hon Frank Archibong has made a strong case for the proposed amendment of the Traditional Rulers law before the House of Assembly, saying it would not only ensure unity of purpose but would further strengthen and sustain the sanctity of Traditional institution.
The Commissioner was speaking on Tuesday at a Public Hearing convened by the State House of Assembly through the Committee on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, for consideration of a bill to amend the Akwa Ibom Traditional rulers law,cap. 155 of 2022.
Archibong asserted that for Akwa Ibom Traditional Heads to be accorded same respect, prominence and value like their counterparts in other tribes like the Oba of Benin,Oni of Ife,Emir of Kano, Obong of Calabar, there was need for a departure from the conventional approach in leadership structure to a new and effective structure.
He explained that the new law will accord the President-General and Head of the Supreme Council of Traditional Rulers in Akwa Ibom State, equal status and pretige like other highly revered first class monarchs in the country .
The Chieftaincy Affairs boss further explained that the amended law would allow for a change in nomenclature of the institution from AKWA IBOM TRADITIONAL RULERS COUNCIL to AKWA IBOM STATE SUPREME COUNCIL OF TRADITIONAL RULERS with the office of the Chairman of the Council as administrative head who would see to the day to day operations of the Council for a given period subject to rotation.
Hon Frank Archibong thanked Governor Umo Eno for his move to review the Chieftaincy law through the executive bill forwarded to the State House of Assembly and prayed that the bill be given accelerated passage by the House.
Earlier, while declaring the event open, the Speaker of the House,Rt Hon Udeme Otong who was represented by his Deputy, Rt Hon Kufreabasi Edidem emphasized the essence of the Legislative arm of Government to make laws and amend laws considered obsolete in order to meet up with the current trend.
The Speaker called for inputs and contributions of relevant stakeholders to ensure balance before the bill is passed into law.
On his part, the House Committee Chairman on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs,Rt Hon Mfon Idung while welcoming the guests stated the importance of the bill which he said would align the traditional institutions with contemporary governance practices while preserving the essence of the rich cultural heritage.
He said the amended law will be in the best interests of the Communities, culture, shared future and as well ,deepen the Arise Agenda of the State Governor, Pastor Umo Eno, suing for constructive dialogue by stakeholders.
The President-General of the Traditional rulers Council,His Eminence, Ntenyin Dr Solomon Etuk,represented by the Paramount Ruler of Onna , Edidem Raymond Inyang applauded the idea of amending the present law ,saying it will modernize, strengthen, and dignify the traditional institution and its occupiers and called for peaceful deliberations.
Other Paramount Rulers who bared their minds on the proposed amended bill were Akuku Essien Udim, Obong Cosmos Akpan, Paramount Rulers ofUdung-ukoh, Edidem Bassey Etim Edet, Ibesikpo- Asutan ,. Edidem Clement Ekpenyong, Ikot Abasi, Edidem Udo Ntuk Obom , amongst others.
There were contributions by the Chief Judge of the State represented by Mrs Obot, Chairman of NLC, Comrade Sunny James, Director,Centre for Human Rights and Accountability Network, Otuekong Franklin Isong, Chairman of NUJ, Comrade Amos Etuk amongst others.