The Supreme Court of Nigeria has sacked the Obong of Calabar, Édidem Ekpo Okon Abasi-Otu V after 15 years of legal tussle over stool.
In view of the development, the Palace has been thrown into jubilation after hearing the judgement of the apex Court .
Recall that the judgment written by Justice Amina Augie and read by Justice Akomoye Agim upheld the judgment of the Appeal Court, Calabar and ordered for a fresh election which the “sacked” Obong is still qualified to contest and this will the fourth time the Obong had to step down for another selection exercise.
However, in a swift reaction from the Palace of the Obong of Calabar, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V where there was wild jubilations after hearing the judgement of the Supreme Court which qualifies the incumbent to participate in a fresh nomination process that has been ordered hinted that there was no cause for alarm.
Even though the verdict has technically but temporarily sacked the Obong, the Palace is upbeat and confident of his return.
Etubom Anthony Ani, M.O.N and others in Suit No. HC/102/2008, filed by his lead counsel, Mr. Joe Agi, SAN, sued Etubom Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu and others in their capacities as members of the Etubom’s’ Traditional Council for jettisoning 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 sole candidate .
Contrary to speculations, Etubom Ani had instituted the suit immediately after the Etuboms’ Conclave met and declared Etubom Abasi Otu as the Obong elect, not after he had been crowned the Obong of Calabar.
READ ALSO: Supreme Court Dethrones Obong Of Calabar
High Court of Cross River state Judgement of Justice Obojor A. Ogar had sacked Abasi Otu as the Obong of Calabar on January 30, 2012 in favour of Etubom Anthony Ani and jettison the Appeal court judgement that was in favour of the deposed Obong.
However, the Obong and others challenged the High Court Judgement at the Appeal Court, Calabar and was sacked and a fresh election ordered.
Delivering judgment on June 4, 2013, the Lead Judge then, Justice Garba Lawal who is now a Justice of the Supreme Court, 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.
“That the 1st Appellant (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”, hence the Appeal court set aside the selection process that produced Etubom Ani as candidate.
The court also set aside the March 31 proclamation of Etubom Abasi Otu as Obong Ordered by 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 and it “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”.
The summary of the judgment made available available to some newsmen in Calabar immediately after it was delivered on January 13, 2023, states that fresh election will be held in accordance with the 2002 constitution of the Palace, in line with equity and actual justice.
Speaking on Friday at the private residence and Palace of the Obong, the Chairman of Etubom traditional council in the Palace, Etubom Bassey Okor Bassey Duke, noted that they are yet to get full brief of the Apex Court verdict but “so far so good and we are confident that Obong of Calabar will remain and peace will continually prevail in the kingdom”.
The legal tussle to dethrone the Obong of Calabar , Édidem Ekpo Okon Abasi-Otu V have been on for about 15 years beginning from the High Court to the Appeal Court and the Supreme Court.
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Friday in Abuja, the Supreme Court in it’s final verdict through a judgment read by Justice Amina Ahgid upheld some aspects of the judgment of the Appeal Court, Calabar and ordered for a fresh nomination which the Incumbent Obong is still qualified to contest.
However the Etuboms’ in Council, promised to brief the media next week after full study of the Supreme Court verdict.
Vanguard learned that this was the first time in the history of the throne that an Obong would be dethroned by the Apex court .
Court Stops PDP From Suspending, Expelling Governor Wike
Justice James Omotosho of the Federal High Court Abuja on Monday ordered the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) not to take any action aimed at suspending or expelling Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike from the party.
The order was made upon an ex parte motion filed by Wike against the entire hierarchy of the PDP.
Respondents in the motion marked FHC/ABJ/CS/139/2023, dated and filed on February 2, are the PDP, its National Working Committee, National Executive Committee, National Chairman of the party Dr Iyorchia Ayu; PDP National Secretary Senator Samuel Anyanwu and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
By the motion, the applicant is praying for an order to maintain the status quo and stay all actions in this matter relating to the threat to suspend or expel him, pending the hearing and determination of the originating summons.
Wike also asked for an order of the Court granting him leave to serve the motion on notice, originating motion, and all other processes of the Court in the suit on the 1st to 5th Respondents by substituted means which is pasting all the said processes of Court on the PDP National Secretariat.
The Rivers state Governor equally sought an order deeming such service as made above as proper service.
Upon reading the affidavit in support of the motion exparte deposed to by one Precious Ikpe and filed at the Court Registry and after hearing, the court granted the reliefs sought.
FG Pledges To Increase Minimum Wage Of Workers
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, says the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration is committed to improving the minimum wage of workers to boost productivity.
Mustapha, who was the special guest of honour at the inauguration of Hassan Sumonu’ Court, said this in Abuja on Monday.
He said that the Buhari-led administration is concerned about improving the welfare of public service and had paid the arrears of retired Airways workers.
On the inauguration, he said that the two-storey building was a delight for the NLC and the entire workers.
”This achievements and legacies are for the Nigerian people.
”I commend the outgoing NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, for delivering the edifice that will yield additional income to the Congress,” NAN quoted him as saying.
Advise Buhari To Release Nnamdi Kanu, Ohanaeze Replies Malami
The Ohanaeze Ndigbo socio-cultural organization, on Monday, urged the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, Abubakar Malami to advise President Muhammadu Buhari to release Nnamdi Kanu, leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB.
Ohanaeze made the call in response to Malami’s remark that the Federal Government has not received any request for Kanu’s release.
Speaking with DAILY POST, the Secretary-General of Ohanaeze, Okechukwu Isiguzoro lamented that Malami has advised the president wrongly on the release of Kanu.
Recall that Governor Charles Soludo of Anambra State had urged the Federal Government to release Kanu to him.
Soludo had vowed to stand as surety to ensure Kanu’s release.
The IPOB leader has been detained by the Department of State Services, DSS, on the order of the Federal Government since June 2021.
Despite the court ruling ordering his release, the Nigerian government has refused to set him free.
Malami had said the Federal Government was yet to receive a formal request for Kanu’s release.
However, Isiguzoro said Ohanaeze and some elder statesmen of the South East had met Buhari and requested Kanu’s release.
According to Isiguzoro: “Ohanaeze has put a formal request and paid a visit to the president which the Minister of Justice was present when the late Mbazulike Amaechi, Ezeife, Bishop Onuoha paid a visit to Buhari and requested that the best thing he can do for Ndigbo was to release Nnamdi Kanu to them.
“We want to tell Malami that the Federal Government through his department should stop playing the ostrich and come out boldly to tell us that they are not ready which they have shown in action but not in words.
“The body language of Mr President has shown that they are not ready to release Kanu having not obeyed the court order that granted his release. Malami should rightly advise the president to release Kanu.
“The body language of Malami has shown they have wrongly advised Mr President not to release Kanu based on reasons known to them. Such a situation of not obeying court order is aimed at instigating insecurity in the Southeast.”
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