The Obong-Elect of Calabar and the manipulation of history

I write in response to your various alarming and one-sided reports on an issue that originates from a consolidated appeal currently listed on the cause list of the Nigerian Supreme Court SC633/2013 and SC634/2013: Etubom (Dr) Anthony Asuquo Ani & Ors vs Etubom Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu & Ors., which concerns the defendant and his pedestrian attempt to pervert the course of justice. What is a stake here, is a a clever attempt by one of the litigants above to resort to self-help in order to render ineffective, a potential setback in the Nigerian Supreme Court decision? These reports were carried by your various news organs under different headings to wit:

Ekpe leadership strips Iboku Utan Lodge of privileges – www.ngchronicle.com/2017/06/19/ekpe-leadership-strips-iboku-utan-lodge-of-privileges/

Efik Kingdom expels Ekpe lodge for treason – http://crossriverwatch.com/2017/06/efik-kingdom-expels-ekpe-lodge-for-treason/ High chiefs banished from Efik Kingdom over attempt to dethrone … http://aljazirahnews.com/high-chiefs-banished-efik-kingdom-attempt-dethrone-obong-calabar/ 5 Efik chiefs ostracized over attempt to topple Obong of Calabar – https://www.dailytrust.com.ng/news/general/5-efik-chiefs-ostracized-over-attempt-to-topple-obong-of-calabar/202609.html

It is my duty to posterity, as one of those maligned by your news outlet to set the records straight and I hope your outfit would grant me the right of reply. All the reports carried the following allegations as the reason for the action of the Ekpe Chiefs and the Obong in

2
Council, or, other authorities who claim powers well beyond what is prescribed by our culture

and tradition. There is no difference between the recent decision of June 2017, to ban,

ostracise, banish or close down the Efe Ekpe Otongho Ntak, that performs the RITE of CONSENT

during an Obong of Calabar installation process, to an earlier one by the same signatories in

January 2017. The two declarations have one thing in common. Etubom Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu,

is the Iyamba of the Efe Ekpe Otu Mesembe. The same Etubom Ekpo Okon Abasi Out, presides

over the Obong in Council meetings. The sole aim of this recent brouhaha in the Efik Kingdom,

is to by-pass the screening process by the designated Ekpe lodge before Etubom Ekpo Okon

Abasi Otu, can become a substantive Obong. The decisions by the Ekpe elders and that of the

Obong in Council, where the same individual sits as Chairman of the deciding panels is

incestuous, and against the grains of natural justice.

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
Traditionally, three co-equal Efik institutions have to agree before a person is installed

as an Obong. These three arms are the Ubong, rested in the Etuboms Council, the Ndem

housed at Efe Asabo, and controlled by the Otungs of Creek Town; and the Ekpe, that is housed

at Efe Otongho Ntak, Atakpa, Calabar. The Etuboms select one of their members after a vote.

This name is transmitted to the Ndem group which could grant or withhold consent. After

Ndem grants her consent, the Ekpe has their turn. All these checks and balances are built in to

ensure that someone is of fit and good character before he is made an Obong. This tripartite

arrangement in our Obong creating process, shares RIGHTS and RESPONSIBILITIES to all

confederating houses and the two Deities which forms the core of our socio-cultural existence.

Each of these institutions have their badge of imperial authority which is wielded as the

occasions demand. The scepter of the Obong is a BROOM, that of the Ndem is a ceremonial

sword called Ika, and the Ekpe holds the Mmonyo – a decorative stick tied with oboti leaves and

dyed bird feathers. Please see the picture below, taken during the coronation of late Obong

Ededem Archibong, who reigned from 1950 – 1963. He holds a broom in his right hand, the

Ndem scepter is wielded by someone behind him, and a spear is held by an orderly on his left

side. I submit that it is actually the Obong Elect – Etubom Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu, that has

3
committed sacrilege and treason by going outside the bounds of our tradition and is now

searching for scapegoats to cover his activities.
WHAT IS MMONYO AND HAS ANYONE COMMITTED SACRILEGE OR TREASON?

Mmonyo is an Ekpe ceremonial scepter widely used by most Ekpe lodges within the

Cross-River Basin and the Cameroons. Please see picture of its uses during Ekpe ceremonies in

the Cameroon, it is not solely restricted to the Efik.

In Efik culture, it is given to the Obong-Elect to use in performing Ekpe rites of his

predecessor. The Mmonyo used for all Obong screening rituals comes out of the Efe Otongho

Ntak lodge. Because, that Lodge has a special significance in Efik History and represents the

complete Ekpe Efik. That is why that Lodge is called Oton Otongho Ntak. How did this come

about? In the mid eighteenth century Efik decided to move the original Ekpe relic from the old

Efik settlement in Creek Town (Old Town) to where it now resides in Efe Ekpe Iboku Utan

because of the change in position of Iyamba Ekpe Efik. Back then, Efik were fewer in number

and had one Ekpe lodge and this relic dates back to that period before Efik clans and villages

dispersed and settled in the present five local government areas of Cross River States, Akwa

Ibom States and the Cameroon Republic.
4
It must be stated that the present Obong Elect Etubom Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu, had at no

time submitted himself to the designated Ekpe Lodge for screening. Thus, the present Obong

Elect, did not perform this act using the Mmonyo from Efe Otongho Ntak, during the funeral

obsequy of his immediate predecessor. The Obong elect, in order to circumvent due process

went elsewhere to obtain a Monyo. Please see a picture below of the current Obong elect with

his Monyo in hand, flanked by two Otung Ndem priests. If he did not use the Mmonyo from Efe

Otongho Ntak, why is he now claiming it as the sole and restricted totem of the Obong?

Etubom Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu, can be seen in the picture above with an unknown Mmonyo!

Sacrilege most profound.
Mmonyo is also used during the installation and funeral protocols of an Iyamba. It is

used to flaunt the host’s Ekpe’s authority when dignitaries of the rank of Iyamba visit. Recently,

Mmonyo was used to symbolically capture the Ekpe of Adak Uko, Creek Town, which had

wandered into Atakpa, Calabar, uninvited and without paying the necessary tokens. See

[embedded content]

It is actually the Obong elect, that has committed sacrilege by going to obtain Mmonyo

from an unknown source for his installation ceremony. Hence, his attempt to use his influence

to intimidate those who tow the path of tradition and reason and who have refused to be

5
bullied. In attempting to shift the responsibility and right to perform the Rite of Consent rites to

a non-neutral Lodge, Etubom Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu, is trying to circumvent a possible negative

Supreme Court judgment, or, even if favourable, avoid the rigours of having to undergo the

thorough but fair Ekpe screening, that he knows awaits him at the Efe Otongho Ntak. As at now,

consent has been withheld from the Obong elect, pending the outcome of the above

mentioned judicial process. Please note, that every Efik Ekpe shrine has its Mmonyo, which also

signifies its confederal, sovereign and autonomous authority over a defined geographical area.

There is therefore nothing known in our folklore and custom as “mmonyo ubong efik”, that

could have been desecrated, because Mmonyo resides within the Ekpe lodge and not the

Palace.
Thus, the claim to have withdrawn “the privileges” to perform the Ekpe Rite of Consent,

from Efe Otongho Ntak, is an afterthought and an act of desperate tomfoolery. When did they

decide to withdraw this so-called privilege? Was it before or after the installation ceremony of

Etubom Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu as Obong?
PERTINENT QUESTIONS AND CONCLUSION
1. How did the Obong in Council, as presently constituted, arrive at the conclusion that it was

sacrilegious for Efe Ekpe Iboku Utan, to use Mmoyo to receive the Ndidem of the Quas, who is

an Iyamba of a foreign Ekpe Jurisdiction (Qua Ekpe), whom also being aware of Ekpe laws came

with his own Mmonyo (a symbol of Qua Ekpe’s imperial authority) on the cross-border visit?

2. Was the conclusion reached because the Ndidem of the Quas, had just won a suit in the High

Court of Calabar, instituted against him by the Obong of Calabar, for the seat of Chairman

Calabar Municipal Traditional Rulers Council?
3. Was that thinking and conclusion reached out of ignorance, considering the fact that some

members of the Obong in Council, are not Ekpe initiates? One would love to say yes, but Ekpe

elders representing six Lodges have also come out to lay the same allegation. Thus, who is

right?
3. We leave you readers to ponder the following questions:

6
(a) Why would the same signatories to a judgment in January 2017, (that judgment clearly and

unambiguously banned the same Efe Otongho Ntak from performing any Ekpe activity and

interaction with the other 6 lodges) go ahead to issue the same judgment in June 2017, with a

different excuse, over a matter where no opportunity to be heard was ever granted.?

(b) Why would all these judgments have Etubom Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu, the Obong elect, and

defendant in the suit pending in the Nigerian Supreme Court as the titular head of both

tribunals? Meaning, it was the same Etubom Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu, who sat in judgment over

the same accused twice, in cases that have implications in his becoming a substantive Obong?

It follows from the submissions above, that if Etubom Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu, is not yet

the substantive Obong of Calabar, AND, the Obong in Council, as a body does not exist, hence,

any decision or proclamation from such a non-existing body is null, void and of no effect

whatsoever.

en

SOURCE :The Nigerian Voice (local news)

14 thoughts on “The Obong-Elect of Calabar and the manipulation of history

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.