The Palace of the Obong of Calabar, His Eminence Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V, and the Obong in Council on Wednesday performed the traditional rites signifying the acceptance and reinstatement of the Duke Town Family Council into the Efik Kingdom.
The family was ostracised in 2017 with sanctions following alleged desecration of one of the revered shrines of the Efiks as well as desecration of the Ekpe culture and rites by some of its members.
Those culprits were invited to the palace but they refused to honour the invitation. Sanctions were consequently imposed on the family which had since been remorseful. After various interventions, the Obong set up a committee to review the decision to ostracise the family.
During the reconciliation meeting at the palace, the Obong of Calabar with the full complement of his traditional council carefully listened to the presentations from various speakers and the committee before giving his royal ruling.
He warned against any attempt by any House to disparage the Efik Kingdom in the future, saying “enough is enough” and urged for unity and oneness of purpose.
In an interview after the ceremony, the chairman of the Caretaker Reconciliation Committee, Chief (Dr.) Offiong E. Eyamba, said he was “very much impressed at the outcome of the meeting with the Obong in Council with his Etuboms.”
He added: “Initially, I was very afraid that we would not be accepted amongst our family members again, but I thank God everything went well.”
He recalled that “few of our own brothers pulled out of the committee and we were in disarray. Hence we all came together as one to resist them, resulting in what you witnessed today.”
Also speaking, His Highness Effiom Okon Ekpenyong Effiom, said “there is no interest attached to this peace accord at all. We have been members of the Obong’s traditional council. I have been here as an adviser. It is not good for us to continue to stay outside in our own family.”
He declared: “I am using this opportunity to call on our brothers left behind to cue from this divine reconciliation and do the needful so as to return to the fold as no tree can make a forest.”
Another participant in the meeting, His Highness Peter Ene Ekpenyong, a retired DSS Director, said: “I am very much impressed with the outcome of the meeting with the Obong today. The Obong is truly a father of all Efik Kingdom. We appreciate his humility. God bless his reign.”
The Secretary of Duke Town Family Council, Chief Charles Effiom Offiong Okon, described Duke Town as the cradle of civilization East of the Niger.
He noted that “we cannot be seen to be uncivil, taking arms against ourselves in this 21st Century. That is why a peaceful mechanism was employed to resolve issues.
“It is quite unfortunate that there was this quagmire in the first place with some of our brothers.
“Instead of us allowing the pig to destroy the whole farm, let us use one cocoa yam to set a trap with its teeth.”
He added: “Traditionally, the House was sanctioned to forestall it affecting other Houses. And today, the real members of the House, Chief Effiom Okon Ekpenyong and John Eyamba, have been an adviser and a member of the Etubom Traditional Council.
“The Etubom of that House is old – a centenarian and very much incapacitated. People have been using his name to commit havoc within the Efik Kingdom.
“We have come to tell the Efik Kingdom that all that has been happening was not from Duke town Family Council House but from our common enemies.”
He blamed what happened on the inordinate ambition of some people within their fold “and not from our honourable family.”
Chief Okon on behalf of everybody thanked the Obong and the entire Efik Kingdom for accepting them back to the fold, reiterating that “the Obong is a magnanimous person. He is a father to all and he has just demonstrated that today, showing that whosoever has a problem with the Obong or the Kingdom should come, as such issues will always be resolved.”