From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Supreme Court, in a landmark judgment dethroned the Obong of Calabar, Édidem Ekpo Okon Abasi-Otu V and ordered that a fresh election for the vacant stool be conducted.
In a unanimous judgment that was prepared by Justice Amina Augie, the apex court affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeal on the disputed stool.
Before he was dethroned on Friday, the deposed monarch has been a subject of a protracted legal duel that questioned his selection process.
Justice Akomaye Agim, who read the unanimous judgment ordered the kingmakers and Traditional Rulers’ Council to immediately convoke a fresh selection process to produce another Obong of Calabar in accordance with the 2002 constitution of the Palace.
The fresh election, the court held should be conducted in accordance with the 2002 constitution of the Palace, in line with equity and actual justice.
According to the Supreme Court, the deposed Obong is at liberty to participate in the selection processes as he is eminently qualified to do so.
The suit leading to his removal was filed by Etubom Anthony Ani, alongside other aggrieved subjects.
The deposed monarch was in Suit marked HC/102/2008, filed by counsel to the plaintiffs, Mr. Joe Agi, SAN, sued with others as members of the Etuboms’ Traditional Council for jettisoning the screening process of the Western Calabar.
Court documents showed that a High Court of Cross River state judgement of Justice Obojor A. Ogar had dethroned Abasi Otu as the Obong of Calabar on January 30, 2012 in favour of Etubom Anthony Ani and jettisoned the Appeal Court’s 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 again sacked by the court and a fresh election ordered.
Not satisfied, the Obong and others challenged the High Court judgement at the Appeal Court, Calabar, and was again sacked by the court and a fresh election ordered.