By Nsan Ndoma-Neji, Calabar

The Etubom Traditional Rulers’ Council in Cross River State has disagreed with the governor of the state, Senator Bassey Edet Otu’s position and affirmation of Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu as the Obong of Calabar, insisting that Eturbom Anthony Ani, former Minister of Finance, remains the authentic Obong of Calabar.

The council stated this while reacting to the announcement by the state governor that the state government has affirmed His Eminence Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V as Obong of Càlabar.

Claiming to be the legitimate authority in the selection of the treaty king of Efik kingdom, through it’s Chairman, Etubom Traditional Rulers’Council, His Royal Highness, Etubom Essien Ekpeyong Effiok, the council made it’s position known during an interactive session with journalists in Calabar.

Recall that Senator Otu, had on November 7, made his position known regarding the true occupier of the Efik traditional stool, saying that as the governor, His Eminence Etubom Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V is the real occupant of the Obong of Calabar traditional stool.

Otu, in a statement, affirmed Etubom Abasi V as authentic Obong of Calabar, putting to rest the controversy surrending the Obong of Calabar stool.

But a faction of Efik kingmakers of Obong of Calabar, led by its chairman Etubom Essien Ekpeyong Effiok, Secretary of Etubom council, HRH Etubom Micah Archibong VI, and two others faulted the governor’s position, saying that Eturbom Dr. Anthony Ani, a former Minister of Finance during the Abacha’s reign is the authentic Obong of Calabar.

The kingmakers insisted that the decision of the Supreme Court, asking that the proclamation and selection of His Eminence Ekpo Okon Abasi V by the conclave on March 13, 2008 be set aside and a fresh selection process to take place.

Part of their argument is that the state governor cannot decide who becomes the Obong of Calabar, except the Etubom Traditional Rulers’ Council.

Ani’s faction maintained that neither individual nor state governor has such right to set aside a judgement of the Supreme Court, which advised or ordered that a fresh selection process for the Obong stool be conducted.

The council Chairman said, “If His Excellency wish to consider his position in this matter, we suggest that he sets up an independent and unbiased body to handle the situation.

“Or he summits the Supreme Court’s judgement to a court of competent jurisdiction to interpret the judgement for immediate implementation, as we know His Excellency lacks the power to set aside Supreme Court’s judgement.”

The traditional rulers averred that no state governor has power to set aside judgement of the Supreme Court which asked for a fresh selection process to be conducted to enable the Etubom conclave pick who the Obong should be.

Prayers of the Etubom traditional rulers, who are said to be staunch supporters of Etubom Dr. Ani, reads, “That the selection and proclamation of Etubom Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu as Obong of Calabar on March 13, 2008 be set aside.

“That the parties should return to the drawing board, that the selection process be started a fresh, that the selection process should start on a clean slate.

“That the 2022 constitution of Etubom’s Traditional Rulers’ Council be used for the selection.”


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