By: Vitalis Ugoh, Calabar
The Efik Kingdom has put to rest the lingering Supreme Court judgement ordering it to select a new Obong from the Western Calabar, Ikoneto, by proclaiming His Royal Highness, Etubom Anthony Ani, as the Obong of Calabar.
The proclamation was done by four out of the surviving seven Etuboms as constituted as at 2008.
He is His Royal Highness, Etubom Anthony Ani, former Minister of Finance during the regime of late General Sanni Abacha who is from Western Calabar, Ikoneto community.
Briefing newsmen in Calabar yesterday, the original kingmakers led by Etubom Essien Ekpenyong Efiok as chairman of the council and Conclave and Etubom Micah Archibong as Secretary proclaimed Etubom Anthony Ani as the new Obong of Calabar.
“The proclamation was done on May 22, 2023 by four out of the seven surviving Etuboms as at 2008 who constituted the original kingmakers led by Etubom Essien Ekpenyong Efiok as chairman of the Council and Conclave and Etubom Micah Archibong as Secretary, he said”.
Others in attendance include Etubom Okon Etim Asuquo, the oldest Etubom of the Palace of the Obong of Calabar and Etubom Nyong Effiom Okon JP, the Paramount Ruler of Calabar South Local Government Area.
“Out of the seven qualified Etuboms, four were present and their decision was unanimous, Etubom Efiok added”.
“With this proclamation, the activities for his traditional and church crowning will kick off in earnest”.
He, therefore said “it is my responsibility as the Regent and Chairman of the surviving Etuboms council of 2008 of the Palace of the Obong of Calabar and consequence of Supreme Court judgement that made reference to the 2002 constitution. No any other person apart from me can do the proclamation because I àm still alive to take up that responsibility as chairman and in collaboration with other serving Etuboms as at 2008 and since the judgement there is no Obong on the throne. And it is not fair for us to remain for such a long time”.
“As a result to respect and honour the Supreme Court judgement, “we decided not to waste time and therefore bring in the most qualified person to the throne as the Obong of Calabar in the person of His Royal Highness Etubom Anthony Asuquo Ani.What we have done today is not a parallel thing because they have not complied with the decision of the Supreme court.”
“This is the time we have gotten an Obong and I am appealing to everyone to be calm and work with the new Monarch on the throne as there would be a turn of events for good and the Efiks will feel the impact.
It would be recalled that the Etuboms Traditional Rulers Council recently said they had began the real process of filling the vacant stool.
Consequent upon the foregoing, “we the surviving Etuboms have in line with the judgements referred to above, resolved to end this impasse by proceeding with the process of selecting an Obong of Calabar.
Recalled a meeting of the Etuboms Traditional Rulers Council, was summoned to amongst other things call on the Western Calabar Traditional Rulers Council to forward names of qualifed nominees for the revered throne of the Obong of Calabar”
This was part of decisions taken in a communique at the end of their meeting, “the outcome of this process shall be made public after necessary traditional steps and procedures have been complied with”.
The communique said ” I urge all and sundry to continue to remain peaceful and law abiding “
“The Supreme Court in Appeal No: SC.633/2013-Etubom Anthony Ani &Ors V. Etubom Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu & Ors and Appeal No:SC.634/2013 – Etubom Anthony Ani &Ors V.Etubom Essien Ekpenyong Efiok and Ors delivered on the 13th of January 2023, HRH, Etubom Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu was dethroned as the Obong of Calabar.”
“This decision was reached by the Apex Court, consequent upon it’s finding, that he was selected and proclaimed in an illegal manner, not in consonance with the principles of equity, fairness, and natural justice”, the communique added..
“Consequently, to all intents and purposes, the throne of the Obong of Calabar has been declared “Vacant”.”By order of the Supreme Court, the selection of a new Obong of Calabar must be based on the 2002 constitution of the Etuboms Traditional Rulers Council, again and by implication of the said judgements, the surviving members of the Etuboms Traditional Rulers Council as constituted in 2008 are seven, these are the only persons who have the authority to convene a meeting.”
Therefore, pursuant to article 5a(1) of the 2002 constitution of the Etuboms Council, the only Etuboms who can participate in the Conclave are, Etubom Essien Ekpenyong Efiok, Etubom Micah Archibong V1, Etubom Bassey O. A Duke, and Etubom Nyong Effiom Okon JP.
Others are, Etubom Cobham M. Boco, Etubom Okon E. O Asuquo and Etubom Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu.
The meeting was attended by the surviving members of the Etuboms Traditional Rulers Council of the Palace of the Obong of Calabar of 31st March, 2008, at the end of their meeting on the 15th May, 2023
The statement was signed by HRH. Etubom Essien Ekpenyong Efiok, Chairman/Regent.