The attention of the Etuboms Traditional Council has been drawn to series of unauthorized letters and announcements, prepared on forged letter headed papers and signed by individuals impersonating the Chairman and Secretary of our Council.
We have also been shown a video in which Chief Anthony Ani is seen surrounded by a scanty motley crew playing the sinister 'Agaba' and other inappropriate masquerades, purporting to have made him the Obong of Calabar, in his domestic residence, thus demonstrating their delusion or ignorance of the sacredness of such an affair.
The Etuboms Traditional Council, comprising the heads of 26 Royal Houses would like to believe that this is a skit or mischievious prank using the new AI tools which can mislead the public, the recent fake bombing of the Pentagon being a prime example of such.
Be that as it may, and for the avoidance of doubt, the Etuboms Traditional Council wishes to remind the good citizens of the Efik Eburutu Kingdom in particular, and other members of the public that:
1. On Jan 13th 2023, the Supreme Court of the Federal Republic of Nigeria "Dismissed" the appeal brought before it by Chief Tony Ani for "Lack of Merit"
2. In the same judgement, the Supreme Court "affirmed" the earlier judgement of the Court of Appeal , in 2013, which found Chief Anthony Ani "traditionally unqualified and ineligible to vote or be voted for in matters concerning the stool of the Obong of Calabar". Indeed, the purported smuggling of his name into the contest as an aspirant to the revered Efik Throne is what the Appeal Court vehemently frowned at and adjudged as a contamination of the process; which warranted a redress that involved a redo of the process to the express and unequivocal exclusion of Chief Anthony Ani.
3. Consequently, the Supreme Court ordered that a reselection exercise be done and specifically stated that the "first Respondent" , namely Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V is automatically qualified to participate in the said process.
4. The Etuboms Traditional Council, adhering to its age long Traditional processes, in strict compliance with its Constitution and lawyers , carried out the reselection exercise and reproclaimed His Eminence, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V, the Obong of Calabar, for the fourth and final time.The Supreme Court, Government and all security agencies were duly and formally notified of the step by step procedures that were followed as far back as January 20th 2023.
5. If anyone is dissatisfied today with the court ordered processes carried out by the custodians of our culture and traditions, then the proper thing to do would be to approach the same Court and seek their interpretation of our actions. Resorting to self help in such a brazen manner is not only contemptuous of the Supreme Court but an attempt to incite the public and cause a breakdown of law and order.
6. We doubt very much if the almost 90year-old Chief Anthony Ani would be so desperate or allow himself to be deceived into participating in such a pathetic and quixotic venture.
7. If that is the case then it means he has chosen to wrestle with the gods, and we gently remind him of the fate of his predecessor and cohort who tried the same thing in 2008. Besides, he should be aware that the Appeal Court judgment, as affirmed by the Supreme Court, clearly confirmed his unfitness for the Efik Royal Throne, and renders his current actions not only abominable to common sense, but contemptuous of the rule of law.
8. In an unprecedented show of love and loyalty all the 26 Royal Houses of the Efik Kingdom, including those of the three (3) renegade Etuboms who sold their birthright for a mess of porridge, have been paying homage and celebrating the Obong of Calabar on a weekly basis since February 2023. Today and tomorrow shall be no exception.
9. The Etuboms Traditional Council continues to meet peacefully and carry out its Traditional functions for the good and upliftment of the Efik people and all those law abiding citizens who reside within the kingdom.
10. The Security Agencies have arrested and are taking action against those who have chosen to denigrate the throne of our ancestors by indulging in criminal forgery and impersonation, and against those who sent out thugs disguised as masquerades to injure innocent people , rob market women and cause panic in Calabar on Friday 19th May 2023.
11. We join the Governor of Cross River State to warn those who are looking for any means to disrupt the transition and inauguration of Prince Bassey Edet Otu , Governor-elect, Cross River State, to desist from such actions or face severe consequences. The grudges they hold as a result of the outcome of the governorship election should not be brought into the traditional matters of the revered Efik Throne.
12. While commending the Security Agencies for their proactive actions which averted mayhem and loss of lives, the Etuboms Traditional Council advises all citizens to remain calm and go about their legitimate business and not to panic over any fake news reports they may come across.
The Obong of Calabar, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V, remains on the revered Efik throne ,is hale and hearty and shall do so peacefully until it is his God appointed time to meet his Creator.
Normal activities continue in the Etuboms Traditional Council ,OCEF and all other organs of the Palace.
HRH Etubom Bassey O. B. Duke,
Chairman, Etuboms Traditional Council,
Palace of the Obong of Calabar,
23rd day May 2023.