After 15 years of legal wrangling, the Obong of Calabar, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi-Otu V, was deposed by the Supreme Court of Nigeria, leaving the capital of Cross River State, Calabar, in a state of palpable shock.
The deposed Obong is still eligible to run in the next election, which was ordered by the Supreme Court’s ruling yesterday, which was prepared by Justice Amina Ahgid and read by Justice Akomoye Agim. This would be his fourth time having to resign so that another election could take place.
That Etubom Anthony Ani and others sued Etubom Ekpo Okon Abasi-Otu and others in Suit No. HC/102/2008, filed by his lead attorney, Mr. Joe Agi (SAN), for abandoning the screening process of the Western Calabar under the then Chairman, Etubom Abasi-Otu, now the Obong of Calabar, that had screened and selected Etubom Ani as their sole candidate.
On January 30, 2012, Anthony Ani succeeded Abasi-Otu as the Obong of Calabar,
overturning the decision of the Appeal Court that had been favorable to the deposed Obong. Justice Obojor A. Ogar wrote the judgment for the High Court of Cross River State.
The Obong was fired and a new election was mandated after he and others challenged the High Court ruling in the Appeal Court in Calabar.
The first respondent, Etubom Ani, who admittedly was not inducted into the Etuboms’ Council of the Palace of the Obong at the time of the selection process of the Obong of Calabar, was not traditionally qualified and eligible to vote and be voted for as the Obong of Calabar under Exhibit 1/20, according to the ruling delivered on June 4, 2013, by the lead judge at the time, Justice Garba Lawal, who is now a Justice of the Supreme Court.
New elections will be held in compliance with the 2002 constitution of the palace, in
conformity with equity and true justice,” was the summary of the verdict that was made accessible to some newsmen in Calabar shortly after it was delivered on January 13, 2023.