At ‘anwa idung’ (village square), the entire Inyang Ibom clan is gathered for an emergency meeting to deliberate on issues of urgent concern.
‘Anwa Idung’ is strategically located at a junction where three semi narrow bush tracks meet.
These tracks lead to the three major villages making up the clan (Okono Obio, Nto Usoh & Udung Enwe).
Close to it is Akai Ekpo (forest of ekpo cult) where initiates meet for usual activities.
Briefly, the Clan Head steps aside with elders for a short meeting as some women and youth are seen discussing, showing gestures of disapproval of something.
Nkoyo and Affiong are quietly seated on a small log of wood, both wearing a sad look, still mourning their late husband, Okokon, as the leader and some members of ‘Nka Uforo Ibaan’ (women association of the clan) attempt to keep them company.
With the return of Nsobom and Clan elders to the square, Ukaang, the clan town crier, calls the gathering to order.
“Inyang Ibom isongo!”, Ukaang greets in the native way, as the people respond, “Iyah!”. He greets on, “Okono Obio nte isongo! Nto Usoh mmamma! Ojeh ojeh ojeh badi Udung Enwe! Udung Enwe idediong o!” he greets all villages of the clan and speaks on;
“People of Inyang Ibom Clan, you are welcome to our ancestral square tonight.
You see, Nsobom called us here because the toad is on the road in broad daylight”. Ukaang barely makes a statement without including riddles.
“Let me step aside and allow our royal father to address us. Thank you”, he steps back as Nsobom manages to stand with the help of his royal staff.
Nsobom Ntuenibok Etukudo Ekpeowo is the youngest Clan Head of Inyang Ibom, currently serving the Udung Enwe slot of the clan headship, although there are arguments that his late father adopted him from Okono Obio, through one of his concubines from the area.
This position is often expressed by people of Udung sub-village, who initially challenged his place of birth and indigenousness not to be of Udung Enwe, but Okono Obio.
Tonight, he breaks a news that earlier existed as rumors in markets and farms.
Nsobom Ekpeowo greets the people and speaks on; “my people, I called us here tonight to discuss what we cannot afford to ignore.
I must say that we have come to the point of our existence where what happens to the leg, affects the whole body”.
The square is silent now, everyone pays great attention to him as he continues.
“Of recent, we have heard the happenings in Obio-oko, Adunam and other places within Odoro-Idut, following the wickedness of Akusa men.
In fact, it is no longer an Odoro-Idut affair. Just the other day, we lost our sons who journeyed to Obio-oko for business, including Okokon, the only brother to Ukofia, our head of warriors”.
This time, Nkoyo and Affiong can no longer hold it. They begin to shed tears.
As other people begin to shed tears, while some shake their heads in regret, Nsobom breaks the news.
“It may have been rumored about, but let me say that Etubom Idut nyin has given directives for Akusa goat dealers to be given plots of land across the entire Idut kingdom, for them to confine their goats to one place and feed them.
He believes this will solve the problem caused by Akusa men”. The murmur as the meeting gets slightly rowdy. Efforts to call the meeting to order is unsuccessful as emerges with rage from the crowd to speak.
(To be continued…)