Governor Bassey Otu of Cross River State had waded into the tussle of the revered Obong of Calabar Stool, saying Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi V remains the valid Obong and Treaty King of the Efik Kingdown.
Governor Otu gave the pronouncement on Tuesday, November 7, 2023, via a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Emmanuel Ogbeche.
The statement said the Cross River State Government is not happy 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 Otu, who is of Efik origin noted 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 judgements 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!”, the statement added.