…..Deploys soldiers to prevent entry
By Sixtus Uket (Calabar)
The tense political atmosphere in Cross River State ignited by the acrimonious posture of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), reached a crescendo Wednesday with the Chairman of Calabar Municipal Council, Ndabo Efeffiong Nta, locking out the Paramount Ruler and his cabinet from a scheduled interactive session with members of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), currently on a statewide campaign.
The royal fathers, led by the Ndidem of The Quas and Grand Patriarch of the Ejagham Nation, Ndidem Eta Eteta, were expected to meet with the Cross River PDP Governorship Campaign Team at the Council of Chiefs Chambers located within the Council premises.
When our reporter visited the Chambers, a detachment of the Nigerian Army attached to the State-owned Security outfit, “Operation Akpakwu,” were seen around the building allegedly acting on the instructions of the Council Chairman.
The traditional rulers, who are revered as the custodians of customs and tradition were seen stranded under the harsh sunny weather exploring the next line of action.
A council staff, who preferred anonymity revealed that, “the Council boss personally locked the Traditional Rulers Council Chambers and left with the keys earlier in the day insisting that the royal fathers cannot play host to an opposition party within his domain.”
Reacting, the Paramount Ruler of Calabar Municipality, Ndidem Eta Eteta, described the action of the Chairman as an “affront and an unmitigated embarrassment.”
According to him, “this chamber is the official venue for all our routine engagements. We came here today following the request of the PDP for a meeting with members of the traditional institution in Calabar Municipal only to discover that our Chamber has been locked to deny us access. This is why we are outside here. I have never been subjected to this sort of embarrassment,” the monarch said.
Attempts by our reporter to get the Chairman to comment on the issue proved abortive as his phone lines were switched off.
The Traditional Rulers sitting outside their locked Chamber at the Calabar Municipal Council