In a recent development in the power struggle for the Obong of Calabar throne, a heavy police presence has been established around the Cross River State Traditional Rulers’ Council of Chiefs chambers, adjacent to the Governor’s Office. Police forces are reportedly blocking entry to the former finance minister, Etubom Anthony Ani, who claims the Efik throne and served as minister under the late General Sani Abacha’s regime
The police blockade also prevented 18 paramount rulers from the 18 Local Government Areas (LGAs), who had come to endorse Etubom Ani as the Obong of Calabar-elect, from entering the venue.
The reception for Etubom Ani, who was declared the Obong of Calabar-elect by his supporters, was set to be held in the council chambers, hosted by Etenyin Etim Okon Edet, the chairman of the state Traditional Rulers Council, and other paramount chiefs.
However, armed police forces arrived early and secured the main entrance, preventing even government employees from entering their offices in the adjacent Ministry of Finance complex.
The police did not comment on their actions. However, sources close to the state governor suggested that allowing the event could be interpreted as the state government officially endorsing Etubom Ani.
The same sources confirmed that a press conference intended to be held by Etubom Ani, as well as his planned visits to the paramount rulers, have been postponed.
Over the past week, Ani has hosted grand events at his residence near Governor Bassey Otu’s new office for two communities in Odukpani LGA, where Ani hails from, including Adiabo Ikoneto and Esin Ufot Ikot Offiong.
Ani has consistently asserted that he is the lawful Obong of Calabar, citing victories in High Court, Appeal Court, and Supreme Court cases regarding the 15-year-old dispute. He asserts his adherence to the directives of the Supreme Court.