By Chuks Moses, Awka
The long suspected disharmony and manifest disunity between the Anambra State governor, Prof Chukwuma Soludo and some of his key appointees, particularly those nominated by some godfathers has just been exposed by the recent suspension of some traditional rulers in the state.
The tempestuous issue which elicited an explosive and well circulated expose from the chairman of the state’s Traditional Rulers Council (ASTRC) and the Obi of Onitsha, His Majesty, Alfred Nnaemeka Ugochukwu Achebe threw to the fore the levity and callous disposition of the state government towards traditional rulers in the state.
According to Prof Onyema Ogugua, a Germany based university lecturer in Anthropology and African History, “it’s scandalous and an inexcusable error for the governor to descend on the natural rulers without any warning, caution or dialogue.
“How could the governor hammer and disgrace these elders publicly in such an insensitive and hurried manner, just because of petty politics of bitterness.
“What was actually their offense? Because they chose to honour a popular well known son of Anambra State? A two-time elected distinguished Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria?
Insisting there’s limit to everything, the visibly enraged university don reminded the governor that the maximum number of years he would be on seat was eight. Whereas as traditional rulers they will remain on the throne for life.
Prof Ogugua in the exclusive interview pointed out some traditional rulers whose certification and enthronement by the government have remained subject of litigation. They included Ojoto, Ideani, Alor and Nawfia amongst many others.
Yet, he noted, “… our dear governor allows himself to be manipulated by some of these encumbered monarchs, especially Okonkwo … to be seen in public exchanging banters, and taking photos.
This same Okonkwo, as well as that of Nawfia(Obelle) were long ago sacked by the High Court.
“Was it not strange that the Chief Executive of the State who is expected to set the pace in obeying legal points of view is now truncating same.
These traditional rulers with legitimacy baggage have made a point of duty to engage special camera men to be ready at all state functions to click their shutters the moment he moves towards the apparently unsuspecting governor. These same pictures/videos were subsequently sponsored massively all over the internet.
This was irrespective of the clear and unequivocal written legal counsel of the State’s Attorney General/Commissioner of Justice asserting that whereas the verdict of the High Court on the matter was not set aside by any court of competent jurisdiction, Okonkwo should no longer parade or pass himself off as a traditional ruler in the State or anywhere at all.”
Prof Ogugua therefore wondered if this was the person Gov Soludo, a cerebral, very well educated and highly opinionated leader was cavorting with publicly.
The German university don also raised an alarm over what he saw as “a sordid emerging trend now creeping into the State, where the illegitimate Council chairmen assume some strange role of writing official letters inviting an equally illegitimate traditional ruler to ASTRC meeting as was seen with the Idemili South.
Ogugua also lambasted the Njikoka Council chairman for despite the well publicized ruling of an Anambra High Court on June 21,2022 before Justice Peace N. T. Otti in suit No 53/2021 in Motion No A/403 M/2022 ordered the committal to prison of the State’s governor and his Commissioner for LGA for issuing a Certificate of Recognition when suit was pending against such, continued to recognize, address and accord Chief Daniel Obelle as the Nawfia monarch.
The court had consequently ordered the setting aside the Certificate of Recognition issued by the governor on March 11,2022 and barred the state government from issuing a Certificate of Recognition to anyone whatsoever.
The university egghead became visibly with grief after watching the public video footage of Commissioner for Local Government, Chieftancy Affairs /Town Union Matters, Tony Collins Nwabunwanne attending 2023 New Yam festival celebration at Okonkwo’s home in Alor in August long after the court had dethroned him as a traditional ruler.
The Commissioner was caught on tape bragging about he facilitated making him the traditional ruler and his Certificate of Recognition. That he should carry on, that nothing would happen.
On his part, the traditional ruler of Umuona, from Gov Soludo’s home council of Aguata, Igwe Igwe Humphrey Ejesieme cries out that, “I was not given an opportunity to defend myself… ”
He was reportedly dethroned by Gov Soludo, whereas he’s vouching his innocence of the accusations leveled against him.
According to the monarch, he was alleged to have interfered with the community’s town union affairs, which was not correct.
Reacting in similar tone as most citizens and non citizens alike, Ogugua wondered “how old is this yocacoman Commissioner? What really does he know about the culture and tradition of the peoples of the State? He’s evidently very inexperienced.
Ogugua therefore urged Soludo to harmonize things out with his cabinet members and appointees so as to eliminate cacophonous public display of disharmony.