BY: Nick Nwaneri, Calabar
A group of legitimate Etuboms in the Obong Palace have said that Etubom Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu, stands dethroned as the process of his selection was faulty, thereby creating a “Vacancy” on the throne.
He had earlier “failed to obey the judgement of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in Appeal No: SC663/2013 – Etubom Anthony Ani & Ors v. Etubom Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu and Ors and Appeal No: SC634/2013 – Etubom Anthony Ani & Ors v. Etubom Essien Ekpeyong Efiok and Ors delivered on the 13th of January 2023, Etubom Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu stands dethroned as the Obong of Calabar”.
“Therefore, “we the undersigned are the legitimate Etuboms of the Palace of the Obong of Calabar. We wish therefore to bring to the attention of the Entire Efik Kingdom the present situation concerning the throne of the Efik Kingdom.”
A statement issued and signed by the Etuboms said “this is because he was selected and proclaimed in an illegal manner not in consonance with the principles of equity, fairness and natural justice.”
“Consequently, to all intents and purposes the throne of the Obong of Calabar is VACANT. The judgment is quoted verbatim as follows;“But it is my view that the justice of this case demands that the Western Calabar Traditional Council which was mandated to select an Etubom from amongst themselves who shall be the new Obong should go back to the drawing board and start the process on a clean slate.”
“This is because the way and manner in which the first respondent was selected and proclaimed as the Obong of Calabar, polluted the selection process or should I say muddied the waters so that there is no clear view of when and where to say this far and no more in the process of selecting the next Obong”.
The statement added, “in the circumstance, the best way to go is for the Western Council to conduct another process to select an Etubom who shall be the new Obong of Calabar.”The order of the judgment is that the selection of the new Obong has to be based on the 2002 Constitution of the Etuboms Traditional Rulers Council which presently has seven (7) surviving Etuboms including its Chairman and Secretary who are the only members who have the authority to convene any of the meetings of the Etuboms Traditional Rulers Council.”
“Pursuant to article 5a(i) of the 2002 Constitution of the Etuboms Council the only Etuboms who can participate in the Etuboms Conclave are we the undersigned HRH Etubom Essien EkpenyongEfiok, Chairman/Regent, HRH Etubom Micah Archibong VI Secretary and HRM Etubom Nyong Effiom Okon JP Chairman Central Calabar Traditional Rulers Council and Paramount Ruler of Calabar South LGA, Etuboms who were in the Obongs Palace as at 31st of March 2008 as well as the following qualified Etuboms;Etubom Bassey O. B Duke, Etubom Cobham M. Boco, Etubom Okon E. O Asuquo, Etubom Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu.”
“This is so because all other persons now parading themselves as Etuboms were all not capped in line with 5a(i) of the 2002 constitution of the Etuboms Council as they were all capped by Etubom Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu who as a result of the court’s decision is deemed to NEVER have been the Obong of Calabar, the statement added”.
“Consequently, all his acts during the period in which he illegally occupied the throne are null, void and of no effect whatsoever. It is quite laughable that those selected and illegally capped by Etubom Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu are now the ones sitting down to select and proclaim him without any meeting called by the Western Calabar Traditional Rulers Council to deliberate on the matter”.
The statement recalled that “On the 20th of January 2023 we the legitimate Etuboms had cause to write a petition to the Governor of Cross River State, H.E Prof. Ben Ayade who as the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Security Officer and a principal law officer of the state is constitutionally bound to ensure that all laws and judgments of the courts are implemented and complied with to the letter and spirit of the law. In the said petition we stated as follows;
“That in the light of the decision of the Supreme Court of Nigeria and the foregoing facts provided above that His Excellency refuse to recognize the purported selection and proclamation of Etubom Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu as Obong-elect as same was carried out by persons not qualified to do so”
“That in light of the Supreme Court decision cause to be announced the takeover of the administration of the of the Obong’s Palace by HRH Etubom Essien Ekpeyong Efiok as Chairman of the Etuboms Council so as to ensure an unbiased process of selecting a new Obong of Calabar in accordance with the letter and spirit of the decision of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.”
“That His Excellency directs the Commissioner of Police and Heads of other security agencies in the state to seal off the palace of the Obong of Calabar allowing only those authorized to enter unto the premises to do so.”
“To provide every necessary assistance required to carry out the task as set out by the judgment of the Supreme Court so as to lay to rest finally this issue and bring lasting peace and healing to the Efik Kingdom and by extension the whole of Cross River State.”
The statement said “we the undersigned verily believe that these actions if carried out will reduce the desperate resort to self-help and the many illegalities being perpetrated by all manner of individuals. We also believe that this will allow the 7 of us (qualified Etuboms and King makers) to call all parties to a roundtable where a decision will be made that will bring lasting peace, progress and development to the kingdom.”
The statement was duly signed byHis Royal HighnessEtubom Essien Ekpenyong Efiok,Chairman/RegentHis Royal Highness Etubom Micah Archibong VI,Secretary
and His Royal Majesty Etubom Nyong Effiom Okon JP Chairman Central Calabar Traditional Rulers Council and Paramount Ruler of Calabar South LGA.