● Warns against breach of public peace
● Tasks Obong to set up reconciliation team
● Ex-Finance Minister, Anthony Ani loses out as “Obong-elect”
Cross River State Governor, Prince Bassey Edet Otu, has received commendations for putting to rest the lingering crisis that rocked the ancient throne of the Efik Kingdom over the Obong of Calabar title.
The commendations came from the Obong of Calabar Executive Forum (OCEF), which described the governor’s action as a “welcome development” that had restored dignity to the Obong of Calabar as the traditional ruler and custodian of the culture of the Efik people.
Within the week, Governor Otu moved swiftly to douse tension by dismissing the former Minister of Finance, Chief Anthony Asuqwo Ani’s continuous claims to being an Obong-elect.
Consequently, he directed that henceforth anybody who attempted to breach public peace by parading himself as Obong-elect when the throne was not vacant “shall face the wrath of the law,” further warning that such conduct would be considered and treated as being inimical to the maintenance of public peace and tranquility.
The governor further stated that as long as the Appeal Court judgment that led to the selection and coronation of the present Obong of Calabar, His Eminence, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V had not been nullified or vacated, any counter-claim to the throne which had been in existence for over six centuries would amount to tarring the image of the Efik Kingdom with a sacrilegious brush of conflict that was alien to Efik culture and tradition.
Arising from the State Government’s position, the Obong of Calabar Executive Forum (OCEF) applauded the development and the subsequent dousing of tension over the spurious claim of the alleged existence of an imaginary Obong-elect when the substantive Obong in the revered personality of HE Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi V was still on the throne.
The Chairman of OCEF, Chief Gershom Henshaw described such claims as not only sacrilegious but a calculated attempt to smear the good image of the Efik people who were known for their peaceful conduct, tranquility, dignity, and unity of purpose.
Further pointing out that the governor, as an Efik son, has not only demonstrated respect for the royal throne of his forefathers but also shown that he is a crisis manager per excellence, the Forum pledged the Obong’s palace cooperation and support to the State government, assuring Governor Otu of its readiness to remain a dependable ally in the development and growth of the State.
BELOW IS THE OFFICIAL POSITION OF THE CROSS RIVER STATE GOVERNMENT ON THE TRADITIONAL STOOL OF THE OBONG OF CALABAR
The Cross River State Government frowns at the seemingly 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:
i. That the issue of WAIVER for qualification of a candidate to contest the Obong Stool is untenable;
ii. 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;
iii. That in all the subsequent judgments 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;
iv. That all parties must ensure the implementation of the judgment cited in (iii) above to the latter;
v. That His Eminence, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi V remains the validly selected and elected Obong of Calabar and the Patriarch of the Efik Kingdom;
vi. 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;
vii. That His Eminence, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi V should as a matter of urgency and priority set up a reconciliation team, whose 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.
Long live the Obong of Calabar!
Long live the Efik Kingdom!
Long live the Government of Cross River State!
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!
Chief Press Secretary to the Governor
[With Foreftont report]