Hail new Oku Ibom, Ibibio canopy of unity
The best of Ibibio cultural heritage was exhibited during the installation of Ntenyin Solomon Etuk its paramount ruler.
The seat of the Oku Ibom Ibibio is a symbol of authority and headship of the Ibibio people, found in Akwa Ibom State.
On December 31st, 2018, that seat which was hitherto unoccupied after the passing of the 3rd Oku Ibom Ibibio, His Eminence, Ukapabio Udo Ukpa, had a new occupant.
The coronation of His Eminence, Ntenyin Solomon Etuk, Paramount Ruler of Nsit Ubium Local Government Area as the new Oku Ibom Ibibio at Asan Ibibio (the meeting ground of the Ibibios) on that day signaled the unfolding of a new chapter in Ibibio land. An Ibibio king, the 4th Oku Ibom Ibibio, emerged.
Ntenyin Etuk, said to have been the preferred choice of Ibibio traditional rulers began with a selection process on September 14, 2018 and then a proclamation on November 17, 2018, when he was announced as the new leader of the Ibibio race.
The stool is reverend because after God (Akwa Abasi Ibom), believed by the Ibibios to be the Supreme Creator, the Oku Ibom Ibibio is seen as the next, the President General of Ifim Ibom Ibibio, the head of the Supreme Council of Ibibio traditional rulers and the enforcer of Ibibio tradition and customs; a king who has the power to unite and guide the Ibibios aright.
The coronation was symbolic as it heralded the dawn of an authority and a new chapter in Ibibio land. In fact that day witnessed the strong bond among the Ibibios as many notable Ibibio sons and daughters within and outside the state graced the occasion to identify with and celebrate their new king.
The large expanse of the Asan Ibibio was filled with people, wellwishers colourfully attired in rich Ibibio regalia. The title holders were all arrayed in chieftaincy attires and seated in distinct areas while their wives (Iban mbong) were dressed in flowing ankle length gowns and matching traditional hats, and wore bead necklaces on their necks, wrists and ankles.
The array of Ekpo masquerades added colour to the event as they danced to the drum beats across the arena.
Many notable Ibibio sons and daughters on arrival at the Asan, first paid homage to the Oku Ibom Ibibio who was seated in a hut built with palm leaves.
The rites preceding the coronation involved prayers and propitiating. Afterwards, the Paramount Ruler of Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area, Okuku Edidem Ime Udousoro Inyang led other paramount rulers into the hut and the Oku Ibom Ibibio was coronated. With the coronation, prayers were offered for the long life and reign of the Ibibio king.
Special guests outside the state who witnessed the coronation include a representative of the Obong of Calabar, the Amayanabo of Opobo and the Oni of Ife who delivered good will messages.
Speaking at the occasion, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, eulogized the rich heritage of the Ibibios pointing out culture binds people together and must be preserved.
The Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel assured the Oku Ibom Ibibio of the state government support and encouraged the Paramount Ruler to re-enact the spirit of unity, togetherness and oneness among the Ibibios.
He said it was the responsibility of the monarch to return the Ibibios to the days of unity practiced by the Ibibio State Union, where the interest and welfare of Ibibio sons and daughters were promoted and protected.
The new Oku Ibom Ibibio acknowledged the confidence reposed in him by the paramount rulers as the preferred choice for the kingship. He admitted that it is a tasking responsibility to unite the Ibibio people.
He however said he has accepted the challenge to lead the Ibibio people and promised to make the stool of the Oku Ibom a canopy for all, adding that he was encouraged to take up the duty because of the support he has received.
Ntenyin Etuk described the success of the coronation as the consummation of a new horizon for the Ibibios and harped on unity, togetherness and progress to surmount every height and climb every mountain to get the Ibibios to their Promised Land.
Oku Ibom Ibibio, Ntenyin Solomon Etuk entering the coronation hut
Oku Ibom Ibibio, Ntenyin Solomon Etuk being lead into the coronation hut
Oku Ibom Ibibio, Ntenyin Solomon Etuk after the coronation