Whether they like it or not, I’m Obong of Calabar – Ex-finance minister Ani
Former minister of finance under the late General Sani Abacha military government in Nigeria, Chief Anthony Ani, has insisted that there is no other legally recognized Obong of Calabar other than himself.
He spoke in his palace next to Governor Bassey Otu’s new office in Calabar when Mbiabo Esin Ufot Ikot Offiong community of the Odukpani Local Government Area of the state visited to hail his election as Obong of Calabar.
Nigeria’s former envoy to Uganda, Ambassador Asuquo Nyah led the community on the courtesy visit. A few days earlier Mbiabo Ikoneto community, where Ani hails, had visited him.
The former minister took time to recall the processes which, he said, led to his election by some kingmakers even before the Supreme Court order for a fresh selection in January 2023.
He also explained that the many litigations against his selection in the last 15 years from the High Court through Appellate to Supreme Court have been in his favour.
“The final judgement by the Supreme Court had ordered that kingmakers should go and start the selection process afresh on a clean slate and that the former Obong, Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V was qualified to stand the selection process. The judgement also emphasised that only the kingmakers who participated in the 2002 process, seven of whom are still alive, should conduct the processes. We complied and actually formally communicated to Ekpo Okon, but he and his friends chose to disobey the Supreme Court directive. So I was selected.
“Let me disclose that this Ekpo Okon is my cousin. He lived and grew up with my family, and I, at the time, paid his fees. He was actually chairman of the committee that initially screened me, and at the point of proclaiming me as the Obong of Calabar, he was deceived into supplanting me.
“As far as I am concerned, I have fulfilled all the traditional processes and directives of the Supreme Court. Whether the world likes it or not, I am the Obong-elect of Calabar,” he said.
The former minister, who is now 88 years old, said that his formal installation would hold shortly after a presentation to the Cross River State Traditional Rulers’ Council on Friday at their official chambers.
Informed sources in the palace of the Obong of Calabar, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu, said they do not want to glorify Etubom Ani and his group with any responses even though palace chieftains have met to consider his recent activities and utterances.
One of the sources expressed sadness that people have chosen to desecrate the Efik Stool because of pecuniary reasons.