The administrative cum advisory arm of the Royal Palace, Obong of Calabar Executive Forum (OCEF), has hailed the Cross River State Governor, Bassey Otu, for officially putting an end to the 16-year succession tussle for the Obongship stool between the Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi-Otu V and Chief Anthony Ani.
It will be recalled that on November 7, 2023, the governor, in a press statement signed by the Chief Press Secretary, Emmanuel Ogbeche, affirmed Edidem Abasi-Otu V as the authentic Obong of Calabar.
Otu said that the official pronouncement by the state government has granted explicit recognition to His Eminence, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi V as the Obong of Calabar and brings to final closure the speculation, acrimony and disaffection that may have risen in the course of the tussle for the revered royal stool of the Efik Kingdom.
Following the pronouncement, the OCEF in a statement signed by the Chairman, Chief Gershom Henshaw and Secretary, Chief Dr. Maurice Ekpenyong, applauded the governor for the pronouncement.
The statement said: “We wish to convey the deepest and solemn gratitude of all Efik people at home and abroad, to His Excellency, the Governor of Cross River State, Senator (Prince) Bassey Edet Otu, and the entire government of our dear state for the well-considered, measured and all-embracing pronouncement over the unfortunate tussle for the Throne of the Obong of Calabar.
“The OCEF aligns wholly with the admonition of government for a reconciliation of all the contending parties in the now resolved tussle for the Efik Throne.
“We pledge to robustly support the harmonious and progressive unification of all Efik people under the able fatherly leadership of His Eminence Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu, Treaty King, Grand Patriarch of all Efik people.”
The forum further appealed to those aggrieved to sheathe their swords and return to the Palace of the Obong of Calabar, “which in any event always remained open and accessible to every Efik and friends of Efik Nation.”
It added: “The OCEF expresses gratitude to the state government for its timely intervention, which has put to an end to the unhealthy development in the Efik Kingdom and has restored peace and dignity to the Efik Land.”
The forum congratulated His Eminence Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V, on his official recognition by the state government as the validly selected and elected Obong of Calabar and patriarch of the Efik Kingdom.
OCEF, however, called on all Efik people at home and in the Diaspora to rally round the Obong of Calabar to build a prosperous Efik kingdom for the benefit of all and sundry.