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Group Faults The Process That Led To The Re-election Of Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu

 


The surviving members of the Etuboms' Traditional Rulers Council of the Palace of the Obong of Calabar constituted as far back as 31st March, 2008, have signalled the commencement of processes for the selection of a new Obong of Calabar.


Recall that the Supreme Court of Nigeria on 13th January, 2023 dethroned the Obong of Calabar,  Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi-Otu V, after 15 years of legal tussle.


However, the apex court in its judgment ordered for a fresh election, which the deposed Obong was qualify to contest.


In complying with the order, the Etubom Conclaves re-elected Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu and proclaimed him the Obong of Calabar on 18 January, 2023.


But a group of surviving kingmakers who were members of the Etuboms' Traditional Rulers Council of the Palace of the Obong of Calabar as at 2008, have faulted the process that led to the re-election of Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu as the Obong of Calabar, saying it did not comply with the order of the Supreme Court.


The announcement of the commencement of the selection process is contained in a communique jointly signed by Etubom Essien Ekpenyong Efiok, Etubom Micah Archibong and HRM Etubom Nyong Effiom Okon, and read during a meeting with some Efik sons on Monday at the Old Customary Court, traditionally known as "Esop Efik" at Eyamba Street, said to be the site where king Eyamba III was selected and also his house known as liverpool house in the late 18th century; Great Duke was selected there. Ededem Archibong was also selected there. Any authentic Obong of Calabar has to receive spiritual acceptance there before he is recognized as Obong of Calabar.


The Council affirmed that only the surviving Etuboms of the Traditional Rulers Council constituted as of 31st March, 2008 are qualified to elect a new Obong of Calabar, in line with the judgement of the Supreme Court.


"We the undersigned, being surviving members of the Etuboms’ Traditional Rulers Council of the Palace of the Obong of Calabar as of 31st March, 2008, wish to bring to the attention of the Entire Efik Kingdom the present situation concerning the throne of the Efik Kingdom.


"By virtue of the judgments of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in Appeal No: SC.633/2013 — Etubom Anthony Ani & Ors v. Etubom Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu and Ors. and Appeal No: SC.634/2013 — Etubom Anthony Ani & Ors v. Etubom Essien Ekpeyong 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 its finding, that 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 has been declared VACANT. 


"For the avoidance of doubt, the judgment of the Supreme Court 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. 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.” 


"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 Judgments, the surviving members of the Etuboms Traditional Rulers Council as constituted in 2008 are 7 (seven) in number, these are the only persons who have the authority to convene a meeting of the Etuboms Traditional Rulers Council for this purpose. Therefore, pursuant to article 5a(i) of the 2002 Constitution of the Etuboms Council, the only Etuboms who can participate in the Etuboms Conclave are the following Etuboms: 


1. Etubom Essien Ekpenyong Efiok 


2. Etubom Micah Archibong VI 


3. Etubom Bassey O. B Duke 


4. Etubom Nyong Effiom Okon JP 


5. Etubom Cobham M. Boco 


6. Etubom Okon E. O Asuquo


7. Etubom Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu 


"This is so because all other persons who subsequently became Etuboms thereafter were all not members of the Etuboms Traditional Rulers Council as at 31st March, 2008. 


"The Judgment Orders of the Supreme Court have not been complied with as of today. Consequent upon the foregoing, we the Surviving Etuboms have in line with the Judgments of Supreme Court referred to above, resolved to end this impasse by proceeding with the process of selecting an Obong of Calabar. To this end a meeting of the Etuboms Traditional Rulers Council has been summoned to amongst other things call on the Western Calabar Traditional Rulers Council to forward names of qualified Nominees for the revered throne of the Obong of Calabar. The outcome of this process shall be made public after necessary traditional steps and procedures have been complied with. We urge all and sundry to continue to remain peaceful and law abiding," the communique reads.




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