By Magnus Effiong
A socio-cultural group made up of Efik youths from the 12 ancestral clans of the kingdom, Nka Ikemesit Mkparawa Essien Efik Duopeba, has congratulated His Eminence Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi-Otu V on his re-emergence as the Obong of Calabar, aftermath of the Supreme Court judgment which ordered a reselection of candidate for the throne.
Recall that the Apex Court, in its judgment on January 13, 2023 had dismissed a lawsuit brought before it by a contender for the throne, Etubom Anthony Ani, who from 2008 had challenged the selection of Edidem Abasi-Otu as Obong of Calabar from the High Court up to the Apex Court.
The Supreme Court had upheld the judgment of the Appeal Court which had earlier disqualified Etubom Ani from the Obongship contest for not being capped, and which also ordered for a fresh election. Reports say the Conclave had carried out the Appeal Court-ordered re-selection process in 2013.
Complying with the Apex Court judgment, the Etuboms’ Conclave which is responsible for selecting an Obong, had on Wednesday, January 18, 2023, re-selected and proclaimed His Eminence Edidem Abasi-Otu V as the Obong.
However, the youth group, which spoke through a congratulatory message, signed by its Chairman, Ekpo Ekeng and his Vice, Adim Ekpenyong Adim, and made available to Pillar Today, Friday, pledged total support to the throne.
The message read in part: “We, the Nka Ikemesit Mkparawa Essien Efik Duopeba, an umbrella body of youths in the twelve clans of Efik, hereby congratulate His Eminence Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V, the Obong of Calabar, the Grand Patriarch of Efik kingdom and Treaty King on his re-selection and emergence as The Obong of Calabar.
“While wishing you a successful reign, long life, prosperity and God’s divine protection on the throne, we assure you of our continuous support and hereby pray the Almighty God to grant you the wisdom of King Solomon to guide you as you preside over the affairs of the kingdom.
“We wish to also extend our heartfelt commendation to the Etuboms’ Conclave, the Etubom Traditional Council, Obong of Calabar Executive Forum, Chiefs and the entire Efik people and indeed everyone who had played one positive role or the other to ensure peace in our land. Once again, congratulations to all.”
On the alleged efforts by some persons to further caused disaffection by issuing press releases, letters and fake proclamation document against the reselection of the Obong, the youth group warned against what they described as “ridiculing and rubbishing of the Efik throne,” and called on perpetrators to sheath their swords.
“We hereby appealed to our brothers, fathers and traditional leaders to give peace a chance. It can only be one man on a throne at a time. Denigrating, ridiculing and rubbishing our cherished throne and instigating crisis and bloodshed in Efik kingdom would do no one any good.
“Let us know that when two elephants fight, it is the trees and grasses which suffer. Let the smear campaign end for the good of our people,” the youths pleaded. The group also urged those who were yet to collect their voters cards to do so immediately, saying voting Senator Prince Bassey Otu as Governor has become a project which all should see to its realization, adding “this is our time, we will not waste it.”