From Judex Okoro, Calabar
The agrarian community of Ijom Abayong, in Biase Local Government area of Cross River State, was agog recently.
Residents of the sleepy community rolled out the drums in celebration of their monarch, the Onun Usor of Ijom, Onun Johnson Ukam Ejekor, who celebrated 50 years on the throne. He also marked his 85th birthday.
The community hosted several eminent personalities from within and outside the community. The guests were treated to colourful royal dances, rendition of traditional songs by members of different age grades, musical concerts and parade by some masquerades.
Some of the dignitaries at the event included the chairman and other council members of Biase Local Government Area, paramount ruler of Biase and members of the Biase Traditional Rulers Council, chairman, governing council, Cross River University of Technology (CRUTECH), Dr. Emil Inyang, and traditional rulers from neighbouring communities of Ugep, Ebom, Usumutong and Efik.
Other dignitaries were Senators Gershom Bassey and John Owan Enoh, as well as Hon. Daniel Asuquo Effiong and Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe of the House of Representatives.
The event climaxed with the pouring of the anniversary libation and cutting of the monarch’s birthday cake. There was also a thanksgiving service at Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, Ijom Abayong Parish.
Speaking at the thanksgiving, pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, Ijom Abayong Parish, Rev. Ene Oku, extolled the good works of the monarch, especially his dedication to Presbyterian church activities since 1947 when he was baptized in the church. He also praised his style of leadership.
Oku extolled the monarch’s accommodating nature which, he noted, made it possible for the Ijom Abayong community, located within a volatile part of state, to live in peace at all times with her neighbours.
He prayed that God would grant the traditional ruler unceasing grace in the days ahead as well as the wisdom to guide and rightly direct his people.
Owali Ilem, president of a socio-cultural group, Erei Ise Mi Ise Worldwide, also commended the leadership role played by the monarch within and beyond Biase in the past 50 years.
His words: “We are delighted that our monarch has hit 50 years on the throne. We are optimistic that God would add more years to his life to enable him continue to impart his exceptional leadership on the younger generation.”