Nta Elijah Henshaw; the Obong of Calabar from to 2001 to 2008 was until his installation a visiting professor to the University of Benin and the Maxillo-Facial Dental Surgery Unit, College of Medical Sciences, University of Calabar born November 15, 1928. He became deputy provost and provost, College of Medicine, University of Lagos in 1979. Between 1971 and 1973, Henshaw was acting chairman department of Restorative Dentistry, College of Medicine and University of Lagos and later, associate professor and Head of Department, University of Lagos. He was listed in 1982-1983 edition of Who is Who in the world. Henshaw was formally crowned the Obong of Calaba on December 15, 2001 bringing to rest, years of intrigues and fighting over the throne after the demise of predecessor, Boco Ene Mkpang Cobham V on New Year’s Day, 1999.
Henshaw in an unprecedented, albeit, controversial manner had earlier been installed the new following the inability of the people in Western Calabar to produce the right candidate for the throne. The succession arrangement agreed upon on December 12, 1970, provides that the Obong title shall rotate between Western Calabar and Urban Calabar, the two major areas into which Calabar is divided[i]. The consistent cry against Henshaw’s installation prompted the intervention of the state government and a subsequent institution of a commission of enquiry to look into the matter. The commission, presided over by Justice Dorothy Idem nullified Henshaw’s installation. The case of Western Calabar was foreclosed when Governor Donald Duke assembled 11 out of the 14 king makers who met and ratified Henshaws nomination for the throne.
Obong Henshaw’s first assignment shortly after coronation suggested the direction his loyalty might flow to. The Obong splashed prominent titles on Stella Obasanjo, Akwa Ibom State governor, Victor Attah, secretary to the Federal Government Ufot Ekaette, his wife Ene and Chibudum Nwuche, and other senior members of the ruling party in Abuja[ii]. The professor of medicine whose marriage to Grace Basscy Nsa in 1954 yielded six sons and three daughters[iii] was succeeded by Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V who hails from Adiabo community of Western Calabar.
[i] Newswatch, February 20, 2012
[ii] TELL January 7, 2003
[iii] Newswatch Who is Who