Former President general of Oron Union Dr. Asuquo Inuikim, has called for the immediate amendment to the Traditional Rulers Law CAP 155 of Akwa Ibom State for peace to reign in the state.
He said that the law as passed by the State House of Assembly and assented to by Governor, Pst Umo Éno, is satanic and discriminatory.
The PUNCH reports that the amended law which perpetually assigns the position of President-General of the Akwa Ibom State Supreme Council of Traditional Rulers to the office of Oku Ibom Ibibio, has created a divisive and chaotic environment within the state.
Various youths and women groups from the minority tribes have allegedly opposed the law because it does not capture their wishes and aspirations
Inuikim, in a statement on Wednesday, knocked the lawmakers for disregarding the wishes of their constituents and enacting a law that further marginalises and divides the citizens of the state.
He said, “The law has raised concerns over its infringement upon the rights and freedoms of citizens. While Governor Umo Eno claimed that the paramount rulers agreed to equate the position of Akwa Ibom’s President-General with that of first-class royal fathers across Nigeria, questions have been raised about why the first-class ruler must reside only in Ibibio land.
“Their concerns center around the perpetuation of the Oku Ibom Ibibio as the sole occupant of the President-General’s office, effectively ending the rotational process of the headship of the TRC.”
He lamented that the law as it is suggests that some ethnic groups are inferior to others, adding that such is tantamount to modern-day slavery.
He further criticized the attempt to undermine the rotational chairmanship of the State Council of Chiefs, stressing that it goes against the wisdom and practices of the pioneer royal fathers of the state, who instituted the rotational headship of the council.
“The amendment to the Traditional Rulers Council Law in 2022, changing the title from chairman to president-general, was seen as an opportunity for an Oro man to hold the position.
“However, political maneuvers prevented this, allowing the Oku Ibom Ibibio to remain in power. With his two-year term winding down, he now seeks to secure his lifelong presidency and restrict the position to the Ibibio race.
“This move can only be described as excessive greed and a potential threat to the unity and peaceful coexistence of Akwa Ibom State,” he said.
While calling for a reconsideration of the legislation, Inuikim urged the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly to rectify the injustice by promoting inclusivity, unity, and fairness among all citizens.
He stressed that discriminatory laws cannot stand when in contravention of the Nigerian Constitution, and called for the restoration of lasting peace, harmony, and unity in the state.