The Efik people of Cross River state have hailed the Supreme Court judgement over the 15- year-old Obong of Calabar stool tussle between the current occupant, His Eminence Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi-Otu and challenger, Etubom Anthony Ani.
The judgment written by Justice Amina Ahgid and read by Justice Akomoye Agim upheld the judgment of the Appeal Court, Calabar and ordered for a fresh selection exercise which the current Obong is still qualified to contest and not Etubom Ani.
The judgement, our reporter gathered, disqualified Etubom Ani from taking part in the new selection exercise thereby paving the way for the current Obong of Calabar to re-emerge as the sole candidate for the throne.
This may have explained the reasons for the celebration at Adiabo, the country home of the Obong, where, shortly after the judgement was delivered, Efik sons and daughters, including members of the Etubom Traditional Council, gathered to sing and dance in solidarity with the monarch.
Addressing journalists, the Chairman of Etubom Traditional Council, Etubom Bassey Okor Bassey Duke, said the palace was yet to get full brief of the apex court’s verdict.
“So far, so good and we are confident that Obong of Calabar will remain and peace will continually prevail in the kingdom,” he added.
Recall that shortly after the coronation of Edidem Abasi-Otu V as the Obong, Etubom Ani had dragged the new king and others to the High Court of Cross River state, in suit No. HC/102/2008, filed by his lead counsel, Mr. Joe Agi, SAN, decided in his favour.
This did not go down well with the Etubom Traditional Council of the Efik kingdom which also appealed the said judgement.
The Appeal Court upturned the judgement of the lower court and submitted that Etubom Ani “was not traditionally qualified and eligible to vote and be voted for as the Obong of Calabar under Exhibit 1/20.”
And as expected, Etubom Ani and his legal team disagreed with the Appeal Court verdict and took the matter to the Supreme Court where the final judgement was given on Friday.