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Fresh legal battle for the throne of Obong of Calabar resumes in Calabar 

From Aniekan Aniekan, Calabar
Barely one year after the Supreme Court ordered for a fresh election and selection of an Obong of Calabar, a fresh legal battle for the throne has resumed in Calabar.
This follows the decision of a faction of the Etubom Traditional Council (ETC) to approach a Calabar High Court to  seek a declaration of Etubom Anthony Ani as the authentic Obong of Calabar and Treaty King.
The faction of kingmakers, who referred to themselves as the “legitimate’ and loyal to Etubom Anthony Ani, are among others seeking  a partial injunction restraining Abasi Otu from parading himself as the Obong of Calabar.
The Suit, which is before Hon. Justice Elias O. Abua, marked HC/278/2023 and dated December 12, 2023, has  Etubom Essien Ekpenyong Efiok, Etubom Okon ASUQUO and Etubom Micah  Archibong as claimant.
On the other hand,  Etubom Abasi Otu, Etubom Edem Offiong Effiwat and Edem Ita Essien Ededem, Government of Cross River State and Attorney General of Cross River State are defendants.
The claimants are seeking a declaration that “Etubom Ani has emerged as the winner in the election conducted by Etubom Council of the Obong of Calabar palace on May 22, 2023 and therefore that he and not Etubom Abasi Otu is entitled to be conferred with the Obong of Calabar title in question.
The claimant, through their counsel, Eric Ifere,Esq,  is further seeking “an order directing the Government of Cross River State to issue certificate of recognition to Etubom Ani as the Obong of Calabar.
“A declaration that the election or selection of Etubom Abasi Otu as the Obong by the faction Etubom Traditional Council conclave, which does not conform with with the provisions of the Etubom Traditional Council 2002 constitution and Supreme Court judgment of January 13, 2023 is detective, null and void.
“A declaration that the purported appointment and recognition of the candidature of the Etubom Abasi Otu as the Obong Elect by second to the fifth defendants is irregular, illogical, uncustomary, invalid, null and void and of no effect whatsoever
“An order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendants by themselves or through their servants, agents, or privies or otherwise howsoever from taking any steps or actions about or in furtherance of the purported appointment of Abasi Otu as the Obong Elect.
“An order of perpetual injunction restraining Abasi Otu from further presenting or parading himself or holding out himself or allowing himself to be a held out as the Obong Elect  and from exercising any right or performing any functions ascribed to an Obong Elect.”
However, in a counter claim filed by the counsel to first, second and third defendants/respondents  (Etubom Abasi Otu, Etubom Edem Offiong Effiwat and Edem Ita Essien Ededem), Mrs Nella Andem-Ewa Rabana, SAN, and dated March 5, 2024, the “denied each and every allegations of the facts contained in the plaintiff’s statement and claim as if each were set out traverseriatim.”
The defendants maintained that “the first claimant, Etubom Essien Ekpenyong Efiok, was then an Etubom from the Nsa Efiom Ekpo clan, Western Calabar and was not the chairman of Etuboms Council at all times material to this selection,” adding that “he ceased to be chairman with the demise of the then Obong, His Eminence Elijah Nta Henshaw,  sometime in February 2008 and the emergence (coronation and proclamation) of the next Obong of Calabar, His Eminence Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V .”
The defendants further argued that “Abasi Otu could not have remained as chairman being an Etubom and eligible contestant from Western Calabar, the royal house/bloc from where the new Obong would eventually emerge,” explaining that “the current and subsisting chairman of the Etuboms Council is Etubom Bob Bassey Duke of central Calabar as the constitution of Etuboms Traditional Councils requires as the Obong and chairman of ETC cannot come from the same bloc as to ensure rotation.”
According to the counsel, “His Eminence Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi V was selected in compliance with Supreme and Appeal Court judgments of January 13, 2023 and July 4, 2013 respectively just as they complied with the free, fair, credible and lawful selection and election processes which held to the emergence and further reemergence of Abasi Ekpo Okon as Obong of Calabar.”
The renewed legal battle for the throne is scheduled to be heard on Thursday, 28 March 2024.

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