Andy Esiet, Calabar
Obong of Calabar, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V,
….Queried Etubom Kicks
The Etuboms Traditional Council (ETC) of the Palace of the Obong of Calabar has queried one of the Etuboms that participated in the proclamation of Etubom Anthony Ani as the Obong elect of Calabar. The queried Etubom is, Etubom Okon Etim Okon Asuquo , the Clan head of Akai Ema in Bakassi Local Government Council.
The query dated May 20, 2023, signed by the Chairman of the ETC, Etubom B. O. B Duke reads, “on the 22 nd day of May, 2023, Etuboms’ Traditional Council, Palace of The Obong of Calabar, received with unruffled calmness, news from various media, of the purported selection of Chief Anthony Asuquo Ani, as the Obong-elect of Calabar. Further revelations clearly showed you in picture, seating and observing with rapt attention and consent; where Etubom Essien Ekpenyong Efiok, was seen placing the Efik Traditional Bidak on the head of Chief Anthony Ani, and proclaiming him the Obong-elect of Calabar, in the process, alongside your peers in the unwholesome event, which amazed all of us.
In as much as it is not our concern to halt your association or link with any person(s) or group(s) as the constitution of Nigeria allows for freedom of interaction and association; it is our great concern, to know more about the reason(s) for your recent decisions and action on this subject, which were at variance with part section 4.2.7 of the Constitution of Efik Eburutu Kingdom Of 2010, in which you were one of the signatories.
The said section of the constitution, in part, reads, inter alia:
Withdrawal of Recognition from Etubom.
An Etubom shall be withdrawn from the Etuboms’ Traditional Council if in the event of any misconduct against the Obong, Council, Etubom or Adviser such as any of the following:
(ii) Divides the Palace or form a dissenting/rebel group;
(iii) Breaches protocol, by illegally parading himself or any other person as a new Obong;
Viewed from the above perspectives, Etuboms’ Traditional Council, in consideration of your age and stature, as one of the long serving Etuboms in The Palace of Obong of Calabar; have resolved to obtain explanations from you and hereby demand same, on your recent decisions, which were very damning and sacrilege on the Obongship stool, whose present occupant, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V, is still alive on the Throne, hale and hearty.
The explanations from you will also help to enlighten the Etuboms’ Traditional Council, on why Chief Anthony Ani, should come into focus on the Obongship stool, when on the 13 th day of January, 2023; The Supreme Court of Nigeria, had “dismissed” the Appeal brought before it by Chief Ani for ‘Lack of Merit’.
In the same judgement, the Apex Court “affirmed” the earlier judgement of the Court of Appeal in 2013, which found Chief Anthony Ani, “Traditionally unqualified and ineligible to vote or be voted for on matters concerning The stool of Obong of Calabar”.
We are writing this letter to you in good faith and hope to receive good response from you for record purposes and for the sake of this generation and future generation”.
However Etubom Asuquo in his response to the query dated June 20, 2023 said, he does not recognize Etubom Duke as the Chairman of the ETC.
His response reads: “I would like to start by pointing out to you, that since the decisions of Supreme Court delivered on the 13th of January, 2023, dethroning His Royal Highness Etubom Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu, you ceased to function in your rote as the erstwhile Chairman of the Etuboms’ Traditional Council, because you were appointed into that role by the deposed Etubom Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu.
Despite the decisions of the Supreme Court, you continued in a role in which you had no right to function in. It is on that note that I state categorically,
that I do not recognize you as the Chairman of the Etuboms’ Traditional Council, that role reverted back to Etubom Essien Ekpenyong Efiok, the rightful person to oversee the affairs of the Obong’s Palace, post the Supreme Court’s Judgments.
At my age of 88 (Eighty-eight) years, coupled with my status as the oldest Etubom alive today, having been inducted into the Etuboms’ Traditional Council during the reign of His Eminence Edidem Ene Mkpang Cobham in 1995, 28 (Twenty-eight) years ago, it is imperative that l, stand for the truth at this watershed moment in our history, for the preservation and survival of the Efik Kingdom.
The Efik Kingdom since 2008, has been in turmoil over the stool of the Obong of Calabar and on the 13th of January, 2023, with the delivery of the Judgments referenced above, we were given an opportunity to do things in a proper, right and equitable manner, so as to ensure true reconciliation, peace and harmony in the Kingdom.
Unfortunately, Etubom Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu, Etubom Cobham Mkpang Boco and your good self, rather than embrace this opportunity so graciously given to us, embarked on another joumey aimed at further dividing the kingdom with the actions taken on the 18th of January, 2023, barely five days after the judgment delivered by the Supreme Court.
My clear understanding of the Judgments of the Supreme Court, is that the participation of Etubom Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu in the Contest for the stool in 2008, polluted the process as he should not have participated as a contestant, having sat as the Chairman of the Obong of Calabar Screening Committee in Western Calabar.
It is also my understanding that it was on that basis, that the Supreme Court ordered that a fresh selection process be commenced, on a clean slate. As a true Efik son and also one of its leaders, I am sure you knew very well, what was expected to have been done, which is as follows:
The Etuboms Conclave was to notify the Westem Calabar Traditional Council of the decision of the Supreme Court and direct them to comply;
ii. The Western Calabar Traditional Council was to invite nominations of Etuboms from all the Efik Principalities that make up Western Calabar i.e. Ikoneto, Creek Town, and Adiabo;
iii. The Western Calabar Traditional Council upon receipt of nominations and screening of nominated Etuboms was to forward the names of the suitable Etuboms to the Etuboms’ Conclave;
iv. The Etuboms’ Conclave which is saddled with the responsibility of selecting, proclaiming, installing and coronating an Obong Pursuant to Article 5a (ii) of the 2002 Constitution of the Etuboms’ Council, was to then select and proclaim from the screened Etuboms forwarded to it, an Obong Elect.
In the purported selection process in which you participated in, on the 1 8th of January, 2023, alongside eleven other persons who had no business participating in the process, were the steps enumerated above taken? I have been made to understand, that a letter was written to the Supreme Court, informing it that you had complied with its judgment, to conduct a fresh selection process, in that letter did you inform the Supreme Court that;
1. No other principality in Western Calabar, was invited to nominate candidates for the selection process except Adiabo?
2. In conducting your purported selection process, 11 out of 13 persons who participated in the process were ineligible?
3. The Etuboms who were party to the Appeals leading to its decisions, did not participate in your selection process?
Etubom, I must say that you have not done well at all, for the Efik Kingdom and ought to bow your head in shame, I would expect that you of all people, would know better and do things in a right manner, so as to bring lasting healing and reconciliation to the deeply fractured kingdom. On my own part, I acted with all good conscience and in good faith, by joining Etubom Essien Ekpenyong Efiok, Etubom Micah Archibong VI and Etubom Nyong Efiom, to correct the mistake you and your co-travelers made.
You were written to, as one of the Seven persons alive, who could undertake this most sacred duty, but you absented yourself. Be that as it may, we followed the due process and proclaimed a new successor, to his Eminence Edidem Nta Elijah Henshaw VI, in the person of Obong-Elect Etubom Dr. Anthony Asuquo Ani, KSS.,FCA., MON., OFR.
It is my most belief that by God’s grace, that Obong-Elect Etubom Dr. Anthony Asuquo Ani, KSS.,FCA., MON., OFR., will use the years he has left on earth, to truly reconcile, heal, unite and advance the Efik Kingdom”.