Leaders and stakeholders of the Ekid community, comprising Eket and Esit Eket Local Government Areas in Akwa Ibom State, have risen in one accord to publicly affirm that they belong wholly to the Ibibio, which is the fourth largest tribe in Nigeria.
The proclamation was made during a solidarity visit to Oku Ibom Ibibio and the President General of Akwa Ibom State Supreme Council of Traditional Rulers, His Eminence, Ntenyin (Dr.) Solomon Daniel Etuk, at his palace in Ikot Ukobo, Nsit Ubium Local Government Area, on Friday, December 1, 2023.
The leadership, comprising all segments of leaders and stakeholders of the Ekid peoples, marked a significant milestone in putting the records straight on the long-standing debate surrounding the Ekid people’s lineage to the Ibibio fold.
In his opening speech, the President General of the Ekid Peoples Union (EPU), Dr. Samuel Udonsak, said they fully endorse the Traditional Rulers Law, Cap. 155 of 2022, and the appointment of Ntenyin Solomon Daniel Etuk as the President General of the Akwa Ibom State Supreme Council of Traditional Rulers.
He said, “We, the Ekid People, a sub-group of the Ibibio race, have come in solidarity with our supreme monarch. The Traditional Rulers Law is ethical, morally just, and consistent with the status of the Ibibio race as the majority in Akwa Ibom State. We applaud and stand by this law.
“The good people of Akwa Ibom State, as represented by the State House of Assembly, passed the law, and with the assent of His Excellency, the Governor, Akwa Ibom people have spoken. There is no going back.
“With this noble action, we have elevated the stool of the Oku Ibom to be on par with what is obtained in other states. This is therefore worthy of commendation.
We congratulate the Oku Ibom Ibibio and pray for His Eminence’s peaceful reign.”
The leader of the delegation and the political leader of Eket Senatorial District, Chief Nduese Essien, who further affirmed the decision that Ekid people are Ibibios, commended Ntenyin Etuk for working assiduously to ensure that the Ibibio groupings come together in love and unity for the progress of the state.
Chief Essien reiterated the historical integration of Ekid within the Ibibio fold, citing colonial historians who substantiated the connection. He also shed light on past challenges faced by the Ibibios, urging a comprehensive approach to address lingering issues.
“We have noted the unanimity you have attained so far, the unity of purpose, and the determination to protect the heritage of the Ibibio Nation. We are indeed encouraged. The Ekid people have always been a sub-tribe of the Ibibio nation. Several colonial historians have attested to this. We were indeed active participants in the Ibibio State Union and benefited from its overseas training programmes,” Chief Essien stated.
The former Federal Minister recalled an incident during the 2014 National Conference when he uncovered a scheme by some individuals who wanted to have a new state (Oil Rivers State) carved out from Akwa Ibom.
According to him, the plan was to annex the entire coastal area of Akwa Ibom, which historically belongs to Ibibio, without seeking consent, and he promptly informed the former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Obong Victor Attah, who led the state delegation, and together they mobilised efforts to thwart the unholy move.
In his address, the Paramount Ruler of Eket, HRM Edidem E.C.D. Abia affirmed that Eket and the entire Akwa Ibom State are inherently Ibibio, despite dialectical variations.
While affirming that “Eket and the entire Akwa Ibom State are Ibibio land,” he denounced those attempting to undermine the Ibibio heritage. “We are here to reassure Oku Ibom Ibibio and other leaders of the Ibibio nation that we are one, the royal father added.
The Executive Chairman of Esit Eket and Chairman of ALGON, Hon. Iniobong Robson, who moved a vote of thanks, praised God for giving the Ibibio a good leader.
He commended Oku Ibom for his commitment to the Ibibio cause and for being so patriotic to work for the interests of the people.
He clarified that the purpose of the visit was to register our support and solidarity with the President General of the Supreme Council of Akwa Ibom State Traditional Rulers and the Supreme Monarch of the Ibibio Race.
In his response, the President General of the Supreme Council of Akwa Ibom State Traditional Rulers and Oku Ibom Ibibio, Ntenyin (Dr.) Solomon Etuk expressed gratitude to the Ekid people for the solidarity visit.
The premier royal father acknowledged that Ekid is Ibibio and reiterated that leaders of Ekid have been actively participating in Ibibio activities and meetings.
While reassuring the Ekid people of his continued commitment towards the unity of the Ibibio race and the people of the entire state, Ntenyin Etuk pledged to work towards realising the common interest of all.
He called for all hands to be on deck in supporting the government of the day so that Akwa Ibom State can continue to make worthwhile progress in all ramifications.
In the delegation of Ekid peoples was the Chairman of the Board of Trustee Ekid People’s Union, Rt. Hon. Chief Nduese Essien, the President General, Ekid People’s Union, Dr Samuel Udonsak, and ALGON Chairman and Executive Chairman Esit-Eket Local Government, Rt. Hon. Iniobong Robson, Executive Chairman Eket Local Government, Rt. Hon. Akan Tommey, Elder Nsudoh Nsudoh, Barr. Bassey Dan Abia, Prof. Etie Ben Akpan, Pst. Isaiah Abia, Rt. Hon. Barr. Jack Udota, HRM Comfort Enodien, Rt. Hon. David Lawrence, Barr. Emmanuel Etti, Pst. Ita Umo Udo, Chief Assam Usoro and Wife, Obongiwaad Emmanuel Mbong, Elder, Eddy Etangnkanga, Pastor Ubong Okposin, Barr. Manfred Ekpe, etc.
The event had the presence of President Esop Mbong Ekid, Nsoduok Ette Udo Ikot, who led all the traditional rulers of Eket and Esit-Eket; the President, Youth Wing of the Ekid People’s Union, who led all the youth leaders of Eket and Esit-Eket; and Esop Mbong Mbaba, led by Lady Jane Essien. Others were members of the Afigh Iwaad Ekid Socio-cultural Organisation and numerous sons and daughters of the entire Ekid nation.