Apparently dissatisfied with their 18 local government areas, an agitation for more of it has erupted in Cross River State, with the Obong of Calabar, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu (V) leading the way.
At the moment, the 18 council areas in the state are Abi, Akamkpa, Akpabuyo, Bakassi, Bekwara, Biase, Boki, Calabar Municipality, Calabar South, Etung, Ikom, Obanlikwu, Obubra – Obubra, Obudu, Odukpani, Ogoja, Yakurr, and Yala.
The Efik monarch is pressing for the creation of two more local government area from the vast Odukpani Local Government Area and also suing for peace and tranquility among the Efik and other ethnic nationalities in the Southern Nigeria state.
He was speaking during the 2nd Eburutu Day celebration at Atan Onoyom in Eniong Abatim axis of Odukpani local government area.
According to the Obong, ‘’Odukpani is such a massive local government area and in reality another two can be carved out from it. I am urging you all not to despair as festivals such as this will bring the needed attention to Odukpani.’’
On the organisation of the event, he said, ‘’I am impressed with what I have seen here today and I am glad to be a part of it, I thank all those involved in resurrecting this festival as I have been made to understand that the last time it held was in 2010.
‘’I have been given full assurances by the Chairman of Eburutu Assembly, High Chief Asuquo Ekpenyong that this festival will be sustained and I am promising to lend my support whenever I am needed. This is a festival that promotes unity, love and togetherness amongst our people and I charge all of you to stay as one.’’
On his part, Ekpenyong enumerated why the Eburutu Day is important to the people of Odukpani. ‘’As a people we are not just here for show or to make fun, but to showcase the rich economic potentials and cultural heritage of the Eburutu people.
While claiming that Eburutu has been silent for too long advising the people to participate fully in the political process to elect leaders that can bring developments to the area, he insisted, ‘’Eburutu has been silent for too long and we want that to stop, we have already started and you can see that by the political appointments that are already coming to Eburutu.
‘’You also have developments in terms of infrastructure coming into Eburutu and I am happy to announce to you that in this year’s budget in Cross River all the five mother clans of Eburutu have been captured with one project or the other.’’
Paramount Ruler of Odukpani, Otu Asuquo Otu Mesembe (V) praised the organisers of the event and advised that the invitation should be extended to other Efik communities to ensure a larger assembly, adding, ‘’I sincerely want to thank the organizers and the good people of Eburutu for this day, my wife is from Atan and I know Atan Onoyom boast of an array of beautiful women.
‘’This festival is such beauty to behold and I would like to advise that other Efik communities be invited for the next edition, the event should be held bi- annually so that it can be more recognised.’’
There were presentation of awards to deserving sons and daughters of Eburutu for their outstanding services to the community and the formation of Eburutu Traditional Rulers Council which will be headed by High Chief Asuquo Ekpenyong.
While a Staff of Office was presented to him by the Obong of Calabar as a symbol of authority, the awardees were Asuquo Ekpenyong, the state Commissioner for Finance, Dr. James Ekpenyong Okon, Dr. David Okon, Elder Esu Ayara, Etinyin Asuquo, Rev. Augustine Eyibio
Dr. Mrs Edisua Ita, Chief Essien Ntung and Chief Edet Bassey.