The Appeal Court in Calabar, Cross River state has refused to grant the application of the Obong of Calabar, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu asking the court to stop the lower court from continuing with the matter against his ascendance into the throne until the appeal is decided.
The Efik royal throne has been in contention since Edidem Abasi Otu emerged as the Obong of Calabar and grand patriarch of the Efik kingdom.
One of the contenders to the Obongship throne and one time Minister of Finanace, Etubom Anthony Ani and four others had in April 2008 dragged the Obong of Calabar Edidem Abasi-Otu and seven others to court, challenging the verdict of the Etuboms Council in selecting and proclaiming Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V as the Obong of Calabar.
Last week, the plaintiffs Etubom Anthony Ani and four others had filed a notice withdrawing their case against the Cross River state government and two others who were initially joined in the matter, leaving only the Obong of Calabar and four others as defendants.
As both parties had called all their witnesses except that of government, the Judge, Justice Obojor Ogar adjourned the matter to October 11, 2011 for all the counsels to file their addresses.
Justice Ogar had in earlier proceedings turned down an application by the Obong’s Counsels requesting to file some documents vital to their case as it was considered late.
But Counsel to the Obong, Miss Tanga on Wednesday took the matter to the Appeal Court seeking for an extension of time to appeal against the decision of Justice Ogar refusing to admit some documents they considered vital to their case. Tanga prayed the Appeal Court to order the lower court to stop the hearing of the case before it pending the determination of the case at the Appeal Court.
However Counsel to Etubom Ani, Chief Joe Agi opposed the application saying “the motion was incompetent on grounds that refusal to admit a document is not an interlocutory decision to appeal before final judgment”. The Appeal Court Judge, Justice Kumai Akaahs refused the Obong’s prayers and struck out the application noting that the issue they are talking about should be included in the final appeal should they lose the case since the matter had gone for address in the lower court.