A face off is presently playing out in Oron, Akwa Ibom State, on the heels of a letter written by Janet Amba, President General of the Oron Union to HRM. Ahta (Hon) Edet O. Isemin, Ahta Oro VII, the Ahta Oro in Council, custodian of the Oron traditional institution.
The letter, dated February 14, 2019, and signed by Amba, notified the monarch that his decision to reinstate branch presidents of the Oron Union, after their sacking by the Janet Amba led executive of the Union, was unacceptable to her and will not stand. She was particular in her letter that, “…only the Central Executive Council, CEC, or the Board of Trustees, BOT, is constitutionally allowed to communicate and give directives to the branches or members of the Union.”
The President General’s letter and position described by several indigenes of the area as confrontational, has already polarised the people with a broad section of the indigenes swearing that Amba may have decided to run the Oron Union as a private concern, in flagrant disregard of the monarch, even demeaning the traditional institution and wanting no supervision from the Ahta.
But supporters of the President General of the Union are crying foul and accusing Etim O. Oquong, Secretary of the Council of Traditional Rulers, COTR, of orchestrating this whole saga. They quickly point to a widely circulated correspondence where Oquong, described as the sole signatory to the correspondence, recalled and reinstated the said branch presidents without Amba’s knowledge. That letter reads, “Following representations made to HRM Ahta (Hon) Edet O. Isemin, Ahta Oro VII, the Ahta Oro in Council considered the matter and approved the reinstatement of all suspended Oron Union Branch Presidents. Stakeholders to please note and comply accordingly. HH Offong Etim O. Oquong, Sect. COTR.
However, those in support of Oquong, easily point to a proclamation made by the Ahta, dated Saturday, December 29, 2019, wherein the branch presidents of the Union in Lagos, Abuja, Uyo, Port Harcourt, Warri, Kano, Ikot Ekpene and Benin, were sacked following what the proclamation described as their “… shameful behaviour and conduct…during Oron Union’s 93rd General Meeting/Conference, 2018, where they display (sic) affront to the authority of the Union’s leadership…” The supporters further maintain that Oquong cannot be drawn into this infraction because he supported the suspension and disciplinary action carried out on the presidents, but after high level consultations and the collective decision to forgive them was taken, the President General’s grouse has remained that “everybody should have reasoned only from her own point of view, one that is tainted in high handedness and utter disregard of popular opinion because the President General and fifth columnist want it that way”, as one Oron son who has elected to remain anonymous, told www.calitown.com. “Remember too that Oquong was not acting just as one individual, those proclamations were issued through him as the Secretary of the Council of Traditional Rulers, meaning he had directives to issue the proclamations, something Janet Amba has bluntly refused to see and accept. Now, it is to the Ahta that we Oro people must look to for direction, as it has always been and not to a President General, unwilling to accept that things can be done differently and better”, he maintained.
The snag now appears to be the decision by Amba to enter into open correspondence that disagrees with the Ahta’s position and that of the COTR. “The correspondence was not disrespectful, it was just to draw the monarch’s attention to a few procedural issues. Those who have chosen to work at escalating this issue do not mean well for the Oro Nation. We will resist them in the greater interest of all”, we were told by another supporter of the President General. The Ahta in the face of all has remained silent.
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