The Supreme Court of Nigeria has sacked Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V, the Obong of Calabar, Cross River State.
This was made known by the Supreme Court’s ruling on Friday after several years of legal tussle.
According to the judgement written by Justice Amina Ahgid and read by Justice Akomaye Agim, ordering the kingmakers and Traditional Rulers’ Council to immediately summon a fresh selection process to produce another Obong of Calabar.
The fresh selection should be held in accordance with the 2002 constitution of the Palace.
However, it was learned that the dethroned Obong is still qualified to contest and this will be the fourth time he had to step down for the selection exercise.
This is the first time in the history of the throne that the apex court would dethrone an Obong.
The Obong of Calabar is a first-class king in Nigeria.
Recall that the plaintiff in the matter before the Supreme Court, Mr. Etubom Anthony A. Ani, had appealed the judgement of the Court of Appeal on June 4, 2013, wherein in the lead judgement that was read by Justice Garba Lawal (now a Justice of the Supreme Court), which ordered that “the 1st Respondent (Etubom Ani) who admittedly was not capped/inducted into the Etuboms’ Council of the Palace of the Obong by the Obong at the time of the selection process of the Obong of Calabar in 2008, was not traditionally qualified, and eligible to vote and be voted for as the Obong of Calabar under Exhibit 1/20.
“That the 1st Appellant, Etubom Abasi Otu, was traditionally qualified and eligible to vote and be voted for as the Obong of Calabar under Exhibit 1/20 at the time of the selection process.”
The Court of Appeal, therefore, set aside the selection process that produced Etubom Ani as candidate and also set aside the March 31, 2008 proclamation of Etubom Abasi Otu as Obong, and Ordered the Etuboms’ Conclave of the Palace of the Obong of Calabar, whose mandate it is under Article 5(a) (ii) (iv) of Exhibit 1/20, to do so, “to conduct another process of selecting a new Obong of Calabar, in accordance with the provisions of Exhibit 1/20 and in strict compliance with the rules of natural justice.”