Friday, March 24, 2023

Supreme Court sacks Obong of Calabar, orders fresh election

The apex court upheld a much earlier ruling by the Appeal Court in Calabar that the selection process of the Obong was marred with irregularities.

• January 14, 2023
Obong of Calabar, Édidem Ekpo Okon Abasi-Otu
Obong of Calabar, Édidem Ekpo Okon Abasi-Otu

The Supreme Court on Friday delivered a ruling that sacked the Obong of Calabar, Édidem Ekpo Okon Abasi-Otu, putting a legal tussle that has lasted well over a decade to rest. 

In the ruling written by Justice Amina Ahgid and delivered by Justice Akomoye Agim, the apex court upheld a much earlier ruling by the Appeal Court in Calabar which held that the selection process where Mr Abasi-Otu emerged was marred with irregularities. 

Delivering judgement on June 4, 2013, the Lead Judge then, Justice Garba Lawal (now Supreme Court Justice), 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, was not traditionally qualified and eligible to vote and be voted for as the Obong of Calabar under Exhibit 1/20.”

Etubom Anthony Ani and others through his lead counsel Joe Agi, SAN, sued Etubom Ekpo Okon Abasi-Otu and others in their capacities as members of the Etuboms’ Traditional Council 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 single candidate. 

The ruling delivered yesterday also asserted that Mr Abasi-Otu could still contest and vote in the freshly ordered election, a decision that will throw his hat in the ring for the fourth time. 

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