…As Right Hand Man, Others Defect To Mbukpa’s Faction
The lingering succession crisis rocking Efut kingdom is far from being over as Prof Itam Hogan Itam’s right hand man, HRH Muri Maurice Okon Eyo and many other supporters, have dumped the renowned Professor for Effiong Mbukpa’s camp.
Recall that since 2009 after the death of late Muri Munene Ita Okokon Ekpenyong Ebuka Ebuka, the kingdom has known no peace as Mbukpa and Hogan are laying claims to the exalted Muneneship stool.
While the state government, last year recognized Prof Itam as the authentic Munene/King of the Efuts and had gone ahead to give him certificate of recognition, many decided court cases and judgments had reportedly been in favour of the Mbukpa’s faction.
However, recent development in the kingdom may have strengthened Mbukpa’s position on the succession crisis as Maurice Eyo, described as the Chairman, Muri’s Council of the Professor’s group, jumped ship with many others.
The defection of Muri Maurice Eyo, who is the Clan Head of Efut Akwa Ikot Ekpe Clan, is believed to have caused panic at the Anantigha Palace of the Munene where Prof Itam holds sway.
Consequently, the Efut Combined Assembly of the Mbukpa’s faction unanimously accepted Eyo’s defection. They accordingly recognized him as ‘Leader/Custodian of Efut Nation,’ and described him as ‘dynamic leader,’ and warned members of the public “to shun Council of Efut Nation and Prof Itam Hogan Itam.”
Unconfirmed reports said Muri Eyo and Prof Itam had found it very difficult to work together as the former had reportedly alleged that the Professor was not carrying everybody, particularly the leaders, along in his dealings, and not possessing leadership qualities to move the Efut forward.
In a press statement signed by HRH Muri Joseph Okon Edem, acting Chairman, Muri Munene’s Council of the Efut Combined Assembly, HH Ndabu Godwin Bassey, Secretary General Efut Combined Assembly and HRH Muri Maurice Okon Eyo himself, the Efuts took time to enumerate the alleged ‘sins’ of the Professor.
They alleged that the Professor collected “lots of millions of Naira from politician and others at the Palace (of the Efuts at Anantigha) without repairs, and maintenance, (of the palace) adding “ The Efut palace for now is very unkempt, untidy and completely out of use.”
They also alleged and accused him of “Indiscriminate sales of Efut Abua/Ekondo Land in Calabar South L.G.A, without consent of the rightful owners of the land contrary to Court Judgments in Suit No.HC/MSC/59/2017, HC/199/13 etc.
“Aiding and abetting issuance of Certificate of Recognition as Village Heads to unqualified persons into villages already headed by Certificated ‘Ndabus,” and many other allegations.
As at press time, efforts to contact the Professor for his reactions did not yield any result as his telephones lines were switched off when our reporter dialed.
However, a prominent supporter of the Professor and a Muri, who preferred anonymity, said the alleged defection of Muri Maurice Eyo to Mbukpa’s group would not shake the Professor as Itam was bent on “righting the wrongs and injustices associated with succession to the ancient throne of the Efuts since 2009.”
“Many of those who went back there are known traitors. We know their antecedents and let me tell you, they will come back begging. Their defection has not shaken our determination to do the right thing. Thank God the State government has recognized our leader, Prof Itam Hogan Itam as Munene and Leader of the Efut nation. There is no gimmick and falsehood that can change that,” he stated.