By Magnus Effiong
The government of Cross River State has said His Eminence Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi-Otu remains Obong of Calabar. This has effectively ended the ambition of former finance Minister, Etubom Anthony Ani, who had been in a long drawn battle with Edidem Abasi-Otu to become Obong of Calabar.
The government position may have finally brought to end the 16 years succession crisis which engulfed the Efik kingdom concerning the coveted seat of the Obong of Calabar.
A press release, signed by Emmanuel Ogbeche, Chief Press Secretary to Governor Bassey Otu and made available to our reporter said “The Cross River State Government frowns at the seeming intractable dispute over the Kingship of the Efik Nation and the contention for the Stool of the Obong of Calabar since 2008.
“Governor Bassey Otu notes that the Stool of the Obong of Calabar is about six centuries old, steeped in the ethos of the Efiks and revered among the few First Class Kings in Nigeria; hence the need to protect the throne from judicial, social and political scorn.
“The Governor stated that having undertaken a judicial review of the State High Court and Supreme Court rulings as well as the Constitution of the Obong’s Palace and interfaced with royal fathers, resolves as follows:
“That the issue of WAIVER for qualification of a candidate to contest the Obong Stool is untenable; That the stipulations of the Constitution of the Obong’s Palace in respect of the procedure for the enthronement of any Etubom as the Obong of Calabar remain sacrosanct;
“That in all the subsequent judgements of the appellate courts, the letter and spirit of the State High Court judgment of September 25th, 2022 has not been set aside nor its binding effect on all parties diminished; That all parties must ensure the implementation of the judgment cited in (iii) above to the later;
“That His Eminence, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi V remains the validly selected and elected Obong of Calabar and the Patriarch of the Efik Kingdom;
“That this official pronouncement by the State Government has granted explicit recognition to His Eminence, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi V as the Obong of Calabar; and brings to final closure the speculation, acrimony and disaffection that may have risen in the course of the tussle for this revered royal stool of the Efik Kingdom;
“That His Eminence, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi V should as a matter of urgency and priority set up reconciliation team, which primary duty is to bring the hitherto two contending parties on the tussle to a single harmonious, peaceful and progressive rulership of the Efik Kingdom.”