Nigeria’s apex court reaffirms Amasi Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V as Obong of Calabar

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Etubom Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V has, for the umpteenth time, been reaffirmed the Obong of Calabar, Natural Ruler and Grand Patriarch of Efik Eburutu Kingdom NEGROIDHAVEN can report authoritatively.

This is following Friday’s Supreme Court of Nigeria’s judgement affirming the decision of the Court of Appeal which dismissed the two appeals of Chief Anthony Ani a former Minister of Finance.

The pronouncement of the Supreme Court was that the 2 appeals brought by Anthony Ani were thrown out for ‘lack of merit’.

The content of this Supreme Court judgement is a reaffirmation of the appellate court judgement of 10 years ago confirming that Anthony Ani was never qualified to contest and that his participation rendered the exercise defective. She then ordered a fresh election without Anthony Ani and in accordance with the 2002 Constitution rules of selection.

Obong of Calabar in company with Etuboms and Otuekongs at his residence on Friday

This was complied with and redone 10 years ago. Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V was then re-proclaimed as the Obong of Calabar.

The chair of the Etubom Council, Etubom B. O. B. Bassey, in his reaction said the palace is quite happy with the decision of the apex court.

According to him, ‘I can see some pleasantries in your faces, and I think like I am, you are also very happy with the outcome with Supreme Court verdict. I would have said it is not new but, this one I hope brings an end to what has been happening in the last fourteen years or so. The court decision, though we are not too certain yet about it, from all that we have heard so far, we have cause to rejoice.

‘Well, that is not anything new to us, I remember that in 2013, we had a similar verdict and we had to do the bidding. That doesn’t in anyway remove the feeling of happiness. Because before now, there was this hue and cry everywhere that they want to remove the Obong, they want to take him away, they want to replace him and all that. But, now we know and of course we had known that nobody can remove the Obong from his seat as the Obong of Calabar. It had happened before, it’s not totally new, we know very well clearly that it cannot happen.

‘Be that as it may, we are very happy that it is not what some people thought about. It is something quite different and pleasant as far as I am concerned, because I know at the end of it all, the Obong will maintain his throne in the palace of the Obong of Calabar.

‘I haven’t gotten much to say but, take it from me that we are very happy. In the last few days, some of us have thought about it, but as days passed by we know that nothing strange is going to happen, so believe you me, there is nothing that shouldn’t make us or should make us unhappy.’

Recall that NEGROIDHAVEN had earlier reported that the incumbent Obong of Calabar has been selected by the kingmakers and accepted by the people of Efik Eburutu Kingdom, three (3) times so far.

The first time was upon the demise of the former Obong of Calabar, Edidem (Prof) Nta Elijah Henshaw in February 2008. The kingmakers met and on March 31st 2008, Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu scored 11 votes out of the 13 votes cast by the Kingmakers and he was duly proclaimed the 79th Monarch of the Efik Eburutu Kingdom as Obong of Calabar.

Anthony Ani was one of the 3 contestants in that exercise and he scored 1 vote. Dissatisfied by the outcome of the exercise, Ani went to court and after 4 years the High court, rather curiously, found in his favour and ordered that the Obong step down and the selection process be repeated.

The Kingmakers and Etuboms Council complied fully with the High courts orders by formally inviting the various contestants to another selection exercise.

This time every kingmaker voted for Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu. Anthony Ani scored zero votes and Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu was duly proclaimed the Obong of Calabar for a second (2nd) time.

The result of the second selection in compliance with the court order was duly deposited at the Highcourt at the end of a solemn walk by all the Principalities of the Efik Kingdom.

Subsequently, owing to some pronouncements in the judgement which the Kingmakers were uncomfortable with, the Palace went to the Court of Appeal to seek redress.

Etubom B.O.B. Bassey the chair of Etuboms Council addressing the press on Friday in Calabar

In 2013, the Court of Appeal, delivered its judgement and not only did they assent to the prayers of the Palace but they ordered that the Obong should step down and another selection process be conducted, owing to the fact that the process was tainted by the participation of Anthony Ani who was not eligible to have contested in the first place. He was found illegible on the grounds that he got the Etubomship by transfer from the rightful substantive Etubom who was still alive and because he was not capped by the Obong-in-Council as prescribed by the provisions of the Efik Eburutu Constitution, recorded historical practice and numerous antecedents.

For the third (3rd) time, the Obong had to step down and another selection exercise was conducted in full compliance with the orders of the Court of Appeal.

This time, once again, for the third time, the verdict was unanimous and the Obong of Calabar, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V was proclaimed the Obong of Calabar to the delight and jubilation of Efik people all over the world.