Obong of Calabar, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Out
By Jude Okwe
In the absence of dissent, kingmakers in the palace of the Obong of Calabar Monday selected a new monarch for the Efik Kingdom and made a proclamation to that effect.
The new Obong of Calabar is Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu, whom until July 4, occupied the throne of his ancestors, was proclaimed re-selected in an exercise that majority of the kingmakers from the recognised royal houses participated in.
The Court of Appeal sitting in Calabar had last Thursday declared that the process that enthroned him in 2008 was flawed and thus declared his proclamation then null and void but ordered for a fresh selection processes which Abasi Otu was free to participate in since he was qualified.
Also, the court held that a strong contender to the stool and former Minister of Finance under the late General Sani Abacha administration, Chief Anthony Ani, who had been challenging the emergence of Abasi Otu, was not qualified to contest.
The court held that he had not been capped by the current or past Obong of Calabar as provided in the constitution of the Etuboms’ Council.
Since the throne abhors a vacuum for too long, the kingmakers went into a review of the judgment and a series of consultations on what to do in the light of the verdict.
Once satisfied, they fixed yesterday for the selection in the absence of a challenger to the monarch.
A statement issued by the Etuboms’ Traditional Council (ETC) read: “Following the judgment of the Court of Appeal sitting in Calabar on July 4 ordering that the Etuboms’ Conclave, the kingmakers of the palace of the Obong of Calabar should ‘conduct another process of selecting Obong of Calabar in accordance with the provisions of the constitution of Etuboms’ Council 2002 and in strict compliance with the rules of natural justice,’ among other things, the Etuboms’ Council has promptly complied with that court order by taking all necessary steps leading to and convening the Etuboms’ Conclave and conducting another selection of Obong of Calabar.
“The turn to produce the next Obong of Calabar, after the demise of Edidem Nta Elijah Henshaw V1, being that of the Atai Iboku group of Houses, as provided for under this group were communicated to and directed to produce and present their nominee to the Etuboms’ Conclave on July 8.
“The most senior Etubom of the Atai Iboku group, Etubom Lawrence Edet Asido, presented their unanimously selected nominee for the throne of Obong of Calabar in the person of Etubom Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu of Adiabo Ikot Mbo Otu House.
“Having been fully satisfied with the candidate’s qualification and eligibility, and there being no dissent whatsoever among the kingmakers, the Etuboms’ Conclave thereby declared him the successor, and hereby conveys his proclamation as the successor to the throne of Obong of Calabar today, July 8, 2013.”
The Etuboms and observers present at the conclave included: Etubom Bassey Okor Bassey Duke (Duke House); Etubom Micah Archibong (Archibong House); Etubom Offiong Ekpe Ntiero (Ntiero Lower House); Etubom Ewa Ansa Efana Henshaw (Ewa Ekeng House); Etubom Inyang George Duke Henshaw (Effanga Offiong House) and Etubom Ekeng Ekpenyong Ewa (Effiom Ewa Nsa House).