By Kingsley Agim, Calabar
The Obong of Calabar, His Eminence, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi V, has called on government, especially at the federal level, to beam the light of infrastructural development on Calabar to accord the ancient city its toga as the first capital of Nigeria.
The Royal Father made the call while speaking to journalists, recently, after teeing-off the Golf Tournament – Canaan City Amateur Open – in celebration of his 70th birthday at the Calabar Golf Club.
The monarch, who decried the negligible attention paid to Calabar, in spite of its history, pointed out that infrastructural development is lacking in ancient city.
“We must ensure that Calabar is developed in terms of infrastructure, befitting of it as the first capital of our nation – Nigeria. And I am glad President Muhammadu Buhari has promised to look into the situation,” the king added.
On his birthday, the delighted Edidem Abasi V expressed gratitude to God for preserving him up till 70, adding that: “we will be praying for life; and if that happens, a lot more is expected. We must ensure unity , peaceful coexistence between one another and restore the dignity of the Efik Kingdom.”
The Ruler also lauded the Calabar Golf Club for honouring his birthday with a golf tournament, saying, “this honour is an indication that the people are happy with me.”
“I am happy for teeing off the maiden edition of this tournament and by virtue of it, becoming a member of the Calabar Golf Club,” he further stated.
In his remarks, a Member of the Calabar Golf Club Board of Trustees and former Deputy Governor of Cross River State, His Excellency, Effiok Cobham, Esq, stated some of the manifold significance of the Golf Tournament were to celebrate the septuagenarian Monarch, whom he described as “a good king;” draw Efik indigent golfers together; publicise what the Calabar Golf Club is doing, as well as make the traditional rulers and others know that they too can be sportsmen.
The BoT member also quipped that “by doing this, we can draw the Obong out of most of his palace activities, to at least, once in a while, come and hit golf balls, which by so doing, will enhance a sound mind and body; without which, effective leadership is impossible.”
Also speaking, Captain of the Calabar Golf Club, AVM Eko Osim, described 70 years, as a God-given age that signifies that one is blessed and has come of age.
“Everybody in this kingdom, State, Country and beyond, knows the stool of the Obong of Calabar. And for God to have kept him to this age – three scores plus ten – is worth celebrating,” AVM Osim remarked.
The retired Nigerian Air Force official welcomed the Obong of Calabar as a patron of the club and wished him a peaceful reign as he enjoys his septuagenarian status.
The Club Captain also opined that beyond publicising golf in the State, the Calabar Golf Club adds a tangible advantage to the tourism proportion of the State, adding that the availability of a golf course in Calabar, completes its status as a “cosmopolitan city.”
Articulating his views, the Media Chief in the Obong’s Palace, Sir Frank Edet, averred that the event was a clear manifestation that the Obong is a man of the people.
“All segments of the society recognise that the Obong is their king; which highlights the gamut of activities lined up in celebration of this great leader. It is of great significance to our people that we have an acceptable leader that is leading the Efik Eburutu Kingdom,” the spokesman concluded.
The event was characterised by an outpouring of goodwill messages from members of the Calabar Golf Club, notably, Chief Charles Okon, President of the African Club of Calabar; Barr. Eyo Ekpo, former Gubernatorial Candidate for the Social Democratic Party; and a representative of the Etuboms Traditional Council, Etubom Otu Effa Otu.
Highpoint of the occasion was a tee-off of the tournament by the Obong of Calabar, His Eminence, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi V.
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