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LAGOS, NIGERIA.     Wednesday, March 03 2004





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030304 today:
Kingmakers give Henshaw 14 days to abdicate throne
From Anietie Akpan,

EMBATTLED Obong of Calabar, Prof. Nta Elijah Henshaw, who may have approached the seat of power at Aso Rock for support over his predicament, was yesterday given 14 days to vacate his palace by the Council of Cobham town.

At the end of the council's meeting yesterday, the chief kingmaker, Etubom Bassey Ekpo Bassey, accompanied by his colleagues Etubom Asuquo Effiong Efim and Chief Efiom Ekpenyong Eyo, said that a letter to that effect had been delivered at the Obong's house.

The letter, Bassey said, was deposited at the Obong's house, adding: "The traditional service is the attachment to the paper, and he knows the meaning of it."

Bassey said the ultimatum took effect from yesterday.

"We expect that at the expiration of that period, there will be no trace of Professor Henshaw left in Efik kingship.

"During this period, he has been asked not to conduct any meeting whatsoever at the palace and we trust that he will abide by this decision," he said.

Bassey explained that Henshaw was expected to know that after what the kingmakers had done at Efe Asabo, he can no longer be the Obong of Calabar, adding: "He might be 'Baba Aladura,' but certainly not the Obong of Calabar."

Etubom Bassey noted that Henshaw had already started removing his important belongings from the palace.

He denied being declared wanted by the police, but admitted that a police officer had been detailed by some people to kill him since the tussle began.

He also denied allegations that the state government was supporting the kingmakers, saying: "No, the state government is not supporting us. What we are doing is purely traditional and government does not show on the radar until the purpose is fulfilled."

Meanwhile, Obong Henshaw has reportedly visited Aso Rock for consultations with President Olusegun Obasanjo.

However, his spokesman, Chief Francis Henshaw, told The Guardian on phone from Abuja that he did not know if the Obong would discuss the crisis with the President.

"We did not come for that. We just came in today. We came in for the inauguration of the National Peace Forum tomorrow (today). You know, the Obong is the Honorary Royal Peace Ambassador for the South-South Zone," Henshaw explained.

Professor Henshaw left Calabar for Abuja at 7.30 a.m. yesterday accompanied by some of his aides on the trip to Abuja.`

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