The people of Afaha Iman Ibom in Etinan local government area of Akwa Ibom state have raised alarm over the planned installation of the Paramount Ruler of Onna council area Edidem Raymond Inyang as the “Enin Afaha” which is the highest chieftaincy title in Afaha group of communities in the state.
They said that if such a sensitive traditional title is accorded to an unqualified person as His Royal Majesty, Edidem Raymond Timothy Inyang who is the Paramount Ruler of Onna local government area, such position will be conflicting with the throne of Oku Ibom Ibibio; the apex Ibibio traditional seat in the state now occupied by Ntenyin Solomon Etuk the Paramount Ruler of Nsit Ubium local government area of the state.
Addressing a press conference in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state capital on Wednesday, the people of Afaha Iman Ibom led by Dr Asikpo Essien Ibok said the proposed candidate as ” Enin Afaha ” Edidem Raymond Inyang was not only unqualified but lacked moral status to bear such traditional title.
“His Royal Majesty Edidem Raymond Timothy Inyang, the Paramount Ruler of Onna Local Government, who is currently the Secretary General of Ifim Ibom Ibibio should not compete for the supremacy status with his superior, the Oku Ibom Ibibio, the existential Supreme Leader in all cultural and traditional matters relating to Ibibio.”
Ibokessien disclosed that Edidem Raymond Inyang in his desperate move to become ” Enin Afaha” hired a professor of History from the University of Uyo to distort the history of Afaha people and even copied Governor Udom Emmanuel in his defence of an earlier petition submitted in protest of the proposed installation on May 18, 2023.
Ibokessien who said the protest came out of passion as a custodian of Afaha royal dynasty inherited from his father explained that Edidem Raymond Inyang has no moral justification to occupy the throne of ” Enin Afaha” since he ( Raymond Inyang) is the present Secretary General of Ifim Ibom Ibibio where Ntenyin Solomon Etuk serves as the leader .
He disclosed that if Raymond Inyang becomes the “Enin Afaha” as planned, his office will remain in perpetual conflict with the office of Oku Ibom Ibibio led by Ntenyin Solomon Etuk while Raymond is the Secretary-General adding that infighting can be nibbed in the bud when the investiture is cancelled.
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“Oku Ibom represents the Ifim Ibom Ibibio where Raymond is its Secretary General. Oku Ibom is the legal and legitimate existential traditional and cultural Supreme Leader in matters affecting the Ibibios.
“Raymond is struggling to be a Supreme Leader in a part of the sub-traditional make-up (Afaha) of the Ibibios. We said there was, and there is a conflict as the two Supreme Leaders can not cohabitate in one institution as Supreme Leaders.
“But Raymond and the Professor said there is no conflict as the supreme leader of Raymond would complement that of Oku Ibom Ibibio.
” The Ibibio traditional custom sees it as treacherous, an act of rebellion and an abomination punishable by severe sanctions.
“The Professor and Raymond said there were Afaha people first on this planet Earth before there were the Ibibios.
Mboho Afaha Iman Ibom said the reverse. Beyond the Ibibios, could there be any Annang, Oron, Ekid, Ibeno or Obolo man who thinks he was Afaha first before he was Annang, Oron, Ekid, Ibeno or Obolo respectively? But the Professor and Raymond believe so. We would be fooling ourselves if we think Akwa Ibom state is traditionally and culturally monolithic.”
Essienibok recalled that Enin Afaha was a symbol of sanctity highly revered by the people and was occupied by persons after thorough scrutiny through a tedious process adding it is now hijacked by one man for whatever reason.
“The mythology of Enin Afaha was, and still is a symbol of power, cleanliness, equity and purity. Its traditional conceptual myths make it godly and pure. And its selection was tedious and almost sanctimonious.
“We disagree that anybody, just anybody, could be made an Enin without passing through the traditional and cultural thresholds of the AKWAS and SOOTHSAYERS for a background check.”
He, therefore, urged security agencies to halt the proposed investiture to save the state’s traditional institution from infighting and avoidable conflicts.
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