Governor Liyel Imoke
By Jude Okwe
The palace of the Muri Munene of Efut Kingdom and Paramount Ruler of Calabar South Local Government Area is now under lock and key as Cross River State Government Wednesday ordered that it be sealed up following the bloody struggle to occupy it by rival kingmakers.
Last week, some young men suspected to be hired thugs sponsored by one of the contestants of the throne had set Anantigha part of Calabar on fire as they invaded the palace and beat up Muri Effiong Mbukpa who had been parading himself as the Muri Munene-elect, and uncapped him, took away his cell phones, and documents and destroyed the royal stool.
Though, the state Security Adviser to the governor, Mr. Rokpene Bassey, had saved the situation from being degenerated into serious crisis, as he went to the palace at the fateful day to rescue the situation, Government had to lock up the palace to avoid more crisis.
Speaking in an interview in Calabar, Chairman of the Efut Combined Assembly, His Highnes, Ndabo Obo Obo, condemned the action of government, stating that instead of sealing off the palace, the government should have used the security drafted to the place to defend the monarch.
Obo alleged that a highly placed government official had vowed that he would not be alive and see the paramount ruler being issued with the Certificate of Recognition by the government, stressing that it was the same government official that was responsible for most of the crisis within the traditional institution in the state.
“When Munene Efiong Mbukpa was presented to succeed the traditionally sick Munene, all of these rebels were present. Trouble started when the state governor, Senator Liyel Imoke, visited the palace before his election and commended the Mbukpa for maintaining peace since he mounted the throne.
“His Excellency told the paramount ruler to continue to maintain peace and that as soon as possible he would be issued with the certificate of recognition, but two days after the inauguration of peace panel, one of the rebels declared himself (Mbukpa) and his action was motivated by a highly placed government officials and he motivated the locking up of the palace,” he said.
It is the same government official causing trouble in the whole of traditional institution. In fact, he has extended it to Mount Zion Church,” he said.
According to him, if the government had given the certificate of recognition to the paramount or implemented the report of the panel set up by government, there would have not been any crisis as the people he described as rebels wanted to create the impression that there was a crisis to stop the recognition of the monarch who he said had fulfilled all traditional rites to mount the throne.
He said the only offence of the paramount ruler was that in his inaugural speech, he had warned the palace kingmakers to stop the habit of selling one land belonging to the Efut nation to over five persons, adding that some persons who had approached the palace to get parcels of land but could not succeed were behind the crisis.