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The Making of Oku Ibom Ibibio As The 30th Chairman Of Akwa Ibom State Council Of Chiefs

By Ekemini Simon

Filled to capacity with eminent sons and daughters of Akwa Ibom State, the Banquet Hall of the Akwa Ibom State Government House on 23rd September 2019 was the cynosure of everyone who glued to their television and smart phone to watch the live streaming of the swearing in of the Chairman, Akwa Ibom State Council of Chiefs.
Many were interested in getting the scoop about who will emerge the 30th Chairman of the revered traditional institution. Although news promo of over the event were all over the news media, the key personality who would be decorated to the exalted position on the occasion was kept top secret. As a tradition, the Monarch who emerge Chairman, Akwa Ibom State Council of Chiefs is often unveiled on the day of inauguration.
After inaugurating seven newly appointed Paramount Rulers in the State, the time finally came to unveil the big ‘masquerade’ – the man of the moment, the new chairman of the Council of Chiefs. The Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs rose to the occasion. At the mention of the name, His Eminence, Nteyin Solomon Daniel Etuk, the Oku Ibom Ibibio and Patriarch of Ibibio people Worldwide, smiles of approval and delight shone on every face including the Governor. After the State Compere, Raphael Edem read his rich citation, the Governor who solemnly inaugurated the Traditional father handed him his staff of office with the gathering rupturing in applause. The reason for this gesture may not be unconnected to his rich background in the traditional institution.
Background in the traditional institution
A scion of the royal family of Daniel Ibok Etuk from Nung Ibok Ibok Ibok Udo Idiong in Ikot Ikpaidem in Nung Okubo of Ikot Okubo, Nung Ekpoh Ibiakpan Nsit, Western Nsit in Nsit Ubium, the monarch, was born on 21st September, 1958.
His ascension on the traditional stool has been steadily progressive. The mantle of leadership beckoned when he emerged as the Village Head of Ikot Ukobo, Nsit Ubium LGA in 1998. He was subsequently selected as the Group Head of Ibiakpan Group of nine (9) villages in 2004.
With his proven sterling leadership, the people of Western Nsit, comprising of 32 villages unanimously chose him to serve as Clan Head in 2012.
The Royal Father later became the Paramount Ruler of Nsit Ubium Local Government Area which is made up of 64 Villages. Consequently, he became the President of Nsit Ubium Traditional Rulers Council (TRC), Akwa Ibom State.
What is more, his leadership acumen has attracted him to various organizations and institutions. In this wise, he has served in various peace and conflict resolution positions to include: Chairman, Police Community Relation Committee (PCRC) Nsit Ubium (2003-2005); Chairman, Akwa Ibom State Traditional Rulers Dispute Committee in 2017 and was also re-appointed in 2018 to serve as a member of the committee. As a man of wisdom, the Royal Father is a sound arbiter on issues of disputes/conflicts among disputants brought before him for peaceful and mutual co- existence.
The Ascension to Ifim Ibom stool
Satisfied with his enterprising communal lifestyle and successful leadership on the traditional stool, the Supreme Council of Ibibio Traditional Rulers (Ifim Ibom Ibibio) on Friday, September 14, 2018, unanimously selected Nteyin Solomon Daniel Etuk as the Oku Ibom Ibibio and President of the Council, meaning the patriarch of Ibibio Nation.
Upon the selection, he was accordingly proclaimed as the Oku Ibom Ibibio on Saturday, November 17, 2018, and on Monday, December 31, 2018, the revered monarch was formally coronated as the premier traditional ruler of the Ibibios.
As the Oku Ibom Ibibio, Nteyin Solomon Daniel Etuk, JP, is the President of the Supreme Council of Ibibio Traditional Rulers.
His Eminence is currently the Chancellor of the Akwa Ibom State University, Ikot Akpadem, Mkpat Enin Local Government Area. He was appointed to the position by the Governor of Akwa Ibom State in April, 2019. But how then did he emerge Chairman, Akwa Ibom State Council of Chiefs?
Emergence as Chairman, Council of Chiefs
The seat of the Chairman, Akwa Ibom State Council of Chiefs is on a rotational basis among Paramount Rulers across the three Senatorial districts of the State.
Nteyin Etuk’s predecessor, the late Paramount Ruler of Ini Local Government Area, His Royal Majesty, Edidem Ntoeng Udo Effiong Akpan hailed from Ikot Ekpene Senatorial District while the Paramount Ruler of Ibeno, His Royal Majesty Owong Effiong Archianga whom the late ruler succeeded hails from Eket Senatorial District.
The rotation placed the stool in Uyo Senatorial District with Etinan Federal Constituency being favoured since Uyo Federal constituency had enjoyed their turn under HRM Edidem Edem Silas Akpan of Uyo Local Government Area during 2014/ 2015. Earlier, Itu / Ibiono Ibom Federal Constituency had served their turn when the Paramount Ruler of Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area, His Royal Majesty, Okuku Ime Udousoro Inyang served in 2011/2012.
In Etinan Federal Constituency, the Paramount Rulers of Nsit Ibom and Etinan Local government area had respectively served their term 2005/2006 and 2008/2009 leaving Nsit Ubium Local government area as the next Local Government Area to produce the next Chairman.
The last time a monarch from Nsit Ubium Local Government Area emerged as Chairman, Akwa Ibom State Council of Chiefs was in 2002/2003 when Late Nsobom Robert James Obot served on the stool. Nteyin Etuk who is favoured by the rotation will serve for two years in the revered office as provided for in Section 45(2) of the Akwa Ibom State Traditional Rulers Law, 2000 (as Amended).
The Section provides that the Chairman of the Council shall hold office for a period of two years and that a new Chairman shall be appointed and sworn into office at the expiration of the incumbent’s tenure to ensure a smooth handing-over exercise. This provision places on the Governor, the responsibility to appoint Chairman of the State Council of Chiefs. But how is Nteyin Etuk seen in the eyes of the State Government which led to his ratification?
Nteyin Etuk In The Eyes Of Akwa Ibom State Government
According to the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Hon Udo Ekpenyong who presented the Monarch for inauguration, Nteyin Etuk is a traditional ruler who is highly respected and diligent.
In his robust description of the new Chairman, Akwa Ibom State Council of Chiefs, he noted “We are privileged to have a Royal Father with impeccable and unimpeachable track record in public and private life, a supporter of good governance, a Chief who cannot be bought or his mind prejudiced, forthright in character and upright in nature, an astute administrator and a detribalized community leader in the person of His Eminence, Nteyin Solomon Daniel Etuk JP, the Oku Ibom Ibibio and the Paramount Ruler of Nsit Ubium Local Government Area”.
What is more, the Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel shares in the thought. He said he is delighted to swear in Oku Ibom Ibibio as the Chairman, Akwa Ibom State Council of Chiefs especially as he emerged auspiciously as the 30th Chairman. “30 is a significant number and a significant Monarch is being sworn in”, he said. Yet, with expectations quiet high, what plans does the newly sworn in Chairman have for his office.
Chairman, Council of Chiefs Unveil Plans
Rising to give his acceptance Speech, the Banquet Hall became enveloped with silence. Solemnest prevailed. Ears were itching to hear the newly inaugurated Chairman speak. With his majestic steps, His Eminence Nteyin Solomon Daniel Etuk walked to the podium. His deep yet soft spoken words on microphone captivated the ambience. He expressed delight over the honour bestowed upon him as the 30th Chairman of the State Council of Chiefs.
“I stand with humility and a great sense of responsibility before you all to accept the offer to serve as the 30th Chairman of Akwa Ibom State Council of Chiefs through a seamless and rancour-free succession process that has become an indelible hallmark of this revered institution,” he noted
Nteyin Etuk revealed that he is most overwhelmed that his choice has been ratified by His Excellency, Mr. Udom Emmanuel.
He noted that he was aware that the Traditional institution is a veritable institution for the sustenance of peace in the society hence he sees his emergence as a clarion call to serve the people of the State.
Nteyin Etuk said “Let me state that I regard this appointment as a call to service and I am fully determined to offer my modest ingenuity in aligning the traditional institution with ideas and policies that will usher our people and State to the forefront of economic and social affairs.”
But the Monarch does not hope to succeed only through his might. As a faithful, he thrusts the enormous tasks before him, upon God and the support of his respected colleagues in the Council, to perform creditably.
He added “With divine guidance and support of all, I shall surely lead the Council in setting good example that will speak well of us, that indeed, something great and wonderful can come from Akwa Abasi Ibom State.”
Yet, the epochal occasion was not to reach its tether with only speeches. The newly sworn in Chairman joined the Governor, Deputy Governor, Deputy Speaker, who represented the Speaker, Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, the Chief Judge of the State and a former Military Governor of the State to cut the State anniversary cake which also heralded a new beginning into his administration.
Akwa Ibom people and his colleagues in the traditional institution surely expect that at the end of his two year administration, the foremost traditional ruler in the State will leave impactful legacies.
As he said in his acceptance speech, “…Something great and wonderful can come from Akwa Ibom State.”

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