The Appeal Court sitting in Calabar, Cross River State, on Thursday declared the stool of the Obong of Calabar which was hitherto occupied by Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi-Otu (V) vacant, much to the delight of the Etubom Traditional Council, ETC.
The traditional council on Friday welcomed the Appeal Court judgment which ordered the conduct of a fresh election for the stool of the Obong of Calabar without the participation of Chief Anthony Ani, who was one of the contenders for the throne.
The court ruled that Ani, a former Minister of Finance, was not traditionally qualified and eligible to vote and be voted for as Calabar’s monarch.
In a statement issued by the Chairman of the ETC, Bassey Duke, which was made available to journalists in Calabar, the kingmakers said the judgment had put to rest the claim by Ani to a position that he was not qualified to occupy.
“On July 4, 2013, the ancient Efik customs and tradition were reaffirmed by the landmark decision of the Court of Appeal sitting in Calabar, in the unfortunate and protracted case brought by Anthony Ani and others against the highly revered Obong of Calabar, Treaty King and Grand Patriarch of the Efik Nation, Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V and others.
“In line with the earlier assertion and submissions of the Etuboms Traditional Council, the court affirmed that capping is a fundamental, non-negotiable and mandatory requirement for a person to become eligible to contest for the throne of Obong of Calabar.
“Consequently, the entire Efik community and all well-meaning people welcome the decision of the court that Ani is not traditionally qualified and eligible to contest to be Obong of Calabar. This clearly puts paid to his spurious and vexatious claim to a position that he knows he is not fit for. This simple truth is what we have been insisting on and we shall continue to maintain its sanctity till the end of time,” the statement read in part.