By Magnus Effiong
The Chairman of the Etuboms’ Traditional Council of the Efik kingdom, Etubom Bassey Okor Bassey Duke, has distanced himself from a document in circulation which claimed that Etuboms’ Conclave met and proclaimed him as the Obong of Calabar instead of His Eminence Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi-Otu V who is currently on the throne.
In a press statement made available to our reporter on Saturday, Etubom Duke said “I received with shock the fake publication circulating around claiming that I HRH Etubom Bassey Okor Bassey Duke was in a meeting of Etuboms’ in Conclave and a resolution after deliberation was reached which led to my selection as the successor to the Obong’s Throne after the demise of the former Obong of Calabar, Edidem Prof Nta Elijah Henshaw. VI
“For the avoidance of doubt, I wish to categorically and vehemently rebut such proclamation and selection as it emanates from the pit of hell, and to further inform the general public that The Throne of the Obong of Calabar is not vacant because our reverred King, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi-Otu V is the one and only Obong of Calabar.
“Let me also inform the evil doers that one day, nemesis will surely catch up with them as it has happened to other Efik sons who attempted to betray and bring to disrepute the sanctity of our reverred tradition,” the statement stated.
Our reporter gathered that few hours after the Obong of Calabar was re-selected and proclaimed, some documents which porpurted to have emanated from the Etuboms’ Conclave, claimed that instead of Edidem Abasi-Otu, it was Etubom Bassey Duke who was selected and proclaimed The Obong of Calabar
Part of the said document read: “The most senior Etubom of the Atai Iboku group, HRH Etubom Otu Efa Otu, presented their selected nominee for the throne of the Obong of Calabar in the person of HRH Etubom Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu of Adiabo Ikot Mbo Otu House.
“Having been dissatisfied with the candidate’s qualification and eligibility, the Etuboms’ Conclave therefore declared him unfit and Duke town was asked to produce the successor in the person of Etubom Bassey Okor Bassey Duke of Duke house who passed the exercise and hereby conveys his PROCLAMATION as the successor to the throne of Obong of Calabar today, 18th January, 2023.”
Many Efik sons and daughters who spoke on the said document described it as a doctored version of the original proclamation text released to Journalists on Wednesday night and which read: “The most senior Etubom of the Atai lboku group, HRH Etubom Otu Efa Otu, presented their selected nominee for the throne of the Obong of Calabar in the person of HRH Etubom Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu of Adiabo lkot Mbo House.
“Having been fully satisfied with the candidate’s qualification and eligibility, the Etuboms Conclave therefore declared him the successor, and hereby conveys his Proclamation as the successor to the throne of Obong of Calabar today,18th January,2023.”
Incidentally, HRH Etubom Bassey Okor Bassey Duke was the one who read the proclamation of Edidem Abasi-Otu V as the Obong of Calabar, and he also signed the press release of January 17, 2023 urging media houses to verify facts before going to town with sensational headlines regarding the Supreme Court Judgment of January 13, 2023.