Cross River government urged to respect Supreme Court judgment on Obong selection

The Cross River Traditional Council says the selection of the Obong is its exclusive responsibility and legitimacy recognised by the Constitution of the Obong’s Palace and affirmed by the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

On Sunday, the council said this in a statement jointly signed and issued by its chairman, Etubom Essien Ekpenyong Effiok, and secretary, Etubom Micah Archibong VI.

Mr Effiok stressed the need by all and sundry to respect and obey the Supreme Court judgment concerning the selection of Obong in Cross River.

According to Mr Effiok, it had become imperative to brief the public to clarify some misconceptions held by highly-placed government officials and set the records straight.

Mr Effiok explained that a recent statement by a government official indicated that the state government had undertaken a judicial review of the Cross River High Court and Supreme Court rulings.

He added that it also indicated that the state government had reviewed the Constitution of the Obong’s Palace and interfaced with “royal fathers.”

According to Mr Effiok, the council is unaware of any judicial or administrative review panel and was not invited to appear or testify before it.

“Above that, not having had any interface with the Governor on the matter only goes to reinforce our impression that he was only expressing his personal opinion. As Governor to all, we are understandably uncomfortable that he embarked on such a judicial review and interfaced with other ‘royal fathers’ without any reference to the legitimate council. This is so unfortunate.

“The high court case being relied upon by the governor has no relevance with the Supreme Court Judgement delivered on January 13, 2013. This is except to the fact that the four respondents contemptuously disobeyed the orders of Justice Ukpai A. Ibitam. 

“In reality, the judgment of the high court by Justice Obojor A. Ogar on the 30th of January 2012, setting aside the selection and subsequent crowning of Etubom Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu, has been confirmed by both the appellate (court) and Supreme Court,” Mr Effiok said.

According to Mr Effiok, no state high court judgment was delivered on this subject matter on September 25, 2022. He explained further that such an error was a consequence of the governor’s independent review.

“We refuse to be drawn into the tempting impression that the governor, being from the same Efik family of Adiabo Principality as Otu, has anything to do with his conclusions. But, this, again, goes to emphasise how unsafe it was for our governor to embark upon this journey unassisted.

“Be that as it may, we wish to point out that the Supreme Court of Nigeria judgment of 13th January, 2013, set aside the selection of Otu as the Obong of Calabar on the 31st of March, 2008,” he explained.