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Gov. Ayade sacks monarch for attending PDP meeting

Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River State has removed the paramount ruler of Calabar South Council, Prof. Itam Hogan Itam, for attending the meeting of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

Governor Ayade, who was decamped from the PDP last year to the All Progressives Congress (APC), ordered the immediate withdrawal of a certificate of recognition of the paramount ruler.

He was said to have allegedly contravened Section 30, Sub-section 3 of the Cross River State Traditional Edict No. 14 of 1978 by attending a meeting of Cross River State Southern Senatorial District Peoples Democratic Party caucus where a governorship candidate, Arthur Jarvis Archibong, was allegedly endorsed.

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The order was contained in a letter addressed to the ruler, dated May 11, 2022, and signed by the Special Adviser to the governor on Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr Adoga Ifop Victor.

The letter directed the paramount ruler to immediately return the certificate of recognition to the Department of Chieftaincy Affairs, Governor’s Office in Calabar.

The letter reads, “Following the report of the panel set up by the Cross River State Traditional Rulers Council (CRSTRC) and the approval of His Excellency, you have been removed as the village head, clan head of Ukem and paramount ruler of Efuts with immediate effect to enable you to go ahead to do your partisan politics.

“You have therefore ceased to be so recognised and cannot operate as such forthwith.”

The monarch was also alleged to have also voted at the meeting and signed the attendance register.

The meeting was allegedly presided over by a former state governor, Donald Duke.

It was gathered that a few days ago, Itam had actively attended a meeting held in former Governor Donald Duke’s house, alongside many other Southern District caucus leaders, where they purportedly anointed one Arthur Jarvis, a private university chancellor and a PDP governorship aspirant, as a consensus candidate.

This declaration has drawn the ire of other governorship aspirants such as Barrister Imah Nsa Adegoke, Senator Gershom Bassey, Daniel Asuquo (alias Dansuki).

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Adegoke said whereas the aspirants attended the meeting, the issue of a consensus candidate was not on the table.

Gershom said he initially attended the said meeting out of respect for the host and convener, Donald Duke.

Meanwhile, the Secretary-General of Efut Combined Assembly, Ndabu, Dr Godwin Bassey, commended the governor for taking such a step as it called on members of the community to be calm and go about their daily business.

Also, the apex decision-making body of the Efuts presided over by Muri Munene Maurice Okon Eyo, the supreme head of Efut Combined Assembly and president, of Calabar South Local Government Traditional Rulers Council, has thanked Ayade for promptly intervening in the matter, which it described as a right step in the right direction and to deter other traditional rulers from mingling with politics.