Supreme Court removes Obong of Calabar

A five-man panel of the Supreme Court has dismissed the appeal filed by former Minister of Finance Etubom Anthony Ani against Etubom Ekpo Okon over the traditional stool of the Obong of Calabar and the traditional ruler of the Efik kingdom.

The judgement delivered by Justice Amina Augie was dismissed on the grounds that the appeal lacked merit.

Ani had approached a lower court challenging Etubom Okon Abasi and others in their capacity as members of Etubom’s Traditional council for allegedly distorting the screening process of the western Calabar when Abasi Otu was the chairman of the council.

Justice Obojor Ogah of the High Court of Cross River State removed Abasi Otu who was the chairman of the committee for selection of candidates for the stool of Obong of Calabar, as candidate elect, on the grounds that it is contrary to natural justice, equity and good conscience, thereby upholding Etubom Anthony’s emergence as Obong of Calabar elect.

Not satisfied with the decision, Abasi Otu appealed the decision of the lower court at the Calabar division of the Court of Appeal.

While delivering judgement in the appeal in June 2013, the then Justice Garba Lawal, now a justice of the Supreme Court, set aside the selection process that produced Ani on the grounds that he was not traditionally eligible to vote and be voted for at the time.

The judge held that Etubom Abasi Otu was traditionally qualified at the time of the selection process, but also set aside his proclamation as Obong.

The judge therefore ordered that the Etuboms conclave of the palace of the Obong of Calabar conduct another selection process in a strict compliance with the rules of natural justice.

Etubom Anthony Ani approached the Supreme Court, challenging the decision of the Calabar division of the Court of Appeal.

In a unanimous decision, the apex court upheld the decision of the lower court and dismissed the suit for lacking in merit.

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