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Ohakim, Ihedioha knock Okorocha for disobeying court judgment


Ikedi Ohakim

In an eight-page letter dated March 29 2017, titled “Still On The Trend Of Events In Our State,” addressed to Governor Rochas Okorocha, the immediate past governor of Imo State Ikedi Ohakim wrote: “Your Excellency, I was appalled on coming across a recent newspaper report in which you were quoted as saying that you will “banish” His Royal Majesty, Eze Cletus I. Ilomuanya CON, the Obi of Obinugwu, Chairman, Imo State Council of Traditional Rulers. Your Excellency, that statement credited to you touched me so much so that I found myself asking: Have things turned this bad for Nigeria? Pardon my skepticism.

“Your Excellency, but you will agree with me that such an utterance is quite unbecoming of a servant of the people in a free and democratic society, more so in a state like Imo, whose people are known to be civil in actions and utterances and generally, not given to that type of brashness. I dare say you have the tendencies to exhibit.

“You do not have the liberty to fragrantly disobey the rule of law, including judgments of court of competent jurisdiction. In this case of your purported dethronement of HRM, Eze Ilomuanya and his removal as chairman of the Imo State Council of Traditional Rulers, you may have succeeded so far in your unprecedented reign of impunity and brigandage, only because other stakeholders in the state, and indeed the entire Igbo land, have all this time been hoping that you will soon come to your senses and retrace your steps. Your recent utterances, however, show that you are not appreciative of the patience of the good people of Imo State and, indeed, other well-meaning Igbo in other states on this particular matter. Your Excellency, this perception is not good enough for you. Worse, your actions and utterances on the matter constitute a huge embarrassment to the entire Igbo race. For, apart from the fact that they amount to a desecration of the cultural norms of Ndi Igbo, your recalcitrance portrays you as part of a subterfuge to reduce the traditional institution in Igbo land to a second class status, compared with those of the other nationalities that make up Nigeria, where you go often to mount horses to take chieftaincy titles and advertise same in the national media.

Ohakim continues: “To say the least, I am pained that it is from my own very state that the Igbo traditional institution is taking such a lethal blow, because I was at the forefront of elevating it to the height, where it was accorded national respect and assigned the same status as similar institutions in other parts of the country. Beyond Eze Ilomuanya, it is also not a hidden fact that the traditional institution in Nigeria as a whole is aware of your penchant to reduce traditional rulers in Imo State to mere errand boys. The story is well known in the country that you once commanded traditional rulers to mount a parade of honour for you, while you took a salute, all that on live television. As you must have been told, that was an abomination.”

IN the same vein, the former Deputy Speaker, of the Federal House of Representatives, in the 7th National Assembly, Rt. Hon. Emeka Ihedioha in a press statement said: “My attention has been drawn to a recent statement credited to the Governor of Imo State against the reinstated Chairman of Imo State Council of Traditional Rulers, HRH Eze (Dr.) Cletus Ilomuanya, CON, Obi of Obinugwu. The outburst is, indeed, disturbing, reckless and very unbecoming of a governor of a state in a leading democratic nation like Nigeria.

“Eze (Dr.) C.I. Ilomuanya did not err by approaching the courts to ventilate his displeasure at the unlawful dissolution of the Imo State Council of Traditional Rulers under his chairmanship by Governor Okorocha.

“Having won his case up to the Supreme Court, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Hounourable Minister of Justice, Mallam Abubakar Malami, SAN, directed in a letter to the governor that Eze Ilomuanya be accorded full rights and privileges. Sadly, however, Governor Okorocha dismissed the Federal Government’s directive with a wave of hand.

“Only for the Imo State Governor to recourse to self-help by threatening to, among other things, banish a highly revered monarch of Eze Ilomuanya’s standing. The intended action of Governor Okorocha is not only laughable, primitive, but is also unfortunate and constitutes an affront to the rule of law.

“Okorocha must realise that power is transient and he cannot be wiser than the many Lordships that have reviewed his irresponsible actions. It is ironic that a beneficiary of similar judicial pronouncements in the year 2015 governorship election is now finding it convenient to constantly ignore valid court rulings.

“It is an aberration in a democracy, for Governor Okorocha to continue to indulge in such acts, as if he has become a law unto himself; acting like a dictator by refusing to obey the lawful directives of the Federal Government. This is, indeed, a recipe for lawlessness, as the time of grandstanding with loquacious boasts is over.

“The threat to banish Eze Ilomuanya or any other Imolite is antithetical to the Ndigbo culture. Rather than resort to intimidation, the Governor should commend Eze (Dr.) Ilomuanya, (CON) for being civil and responsible in his pursuit of the matter at the courts. Now is the time for the Federal Government, under President Muhammadu Buhari to beam its searchlight on the Imo State Governor flagrant abuse of the rule of law and acts of illegalities that have almost become the second nature of Governor Okorocha. Right now, our traditions, alongside institutions, which have before now remained sacred and revered, have been consistently desecrated to the dismay of every Igbo man and woman, such that our ancestors have become worried and may soon begin to revolt.

“I commend the Attorney-General of the Federation for being forthright, firm and just in his administration of justice in this particular case, for directing that Eze Ilomuanya, who was callously deposed and removed as Chairman of the Imo State Council of Traditional Rulers be reinstated.

“The AGF, as the country’s Chief Law Officer, must stop at nothing in ensuring that his directive is fully complied with, as this is one of the ways to save Nigeria from the arrogance and impunity of people like Okorocha, which if not checked, will surely bring the country to ridicule not only in Nigeria, but outside the country.”

In a letter dated March 27, 2017, and signed by its President, Sir, Issac C. Esiobula and General Secretary, Sir, Cajethan Nwizu, and addressed to the Imo State Governor, the Obinugwu Development Union wrote: “The pervading state of unease and disenchantment in Obinugwu Community of Orlu Local Government Area of Imo State, which is due to the current impasse over Your Excellency’s unjust removal of our Traditional Ruler, and in the process foisting on us a total stranger, who goes by the name Simon Stanley Nwangwu from Ndiuche Arondizogu in Ideato North Local Government Area, as our supposed Eze, is not only strange, but most unacceptable to all the sons and daughters of Obinugwu Autonomous Community in Orlu, individually and collectively. To further buttress our point, Your Excellency, your ill-advised action is not only illegal, but it is also unconstitutional, as it runs contrary to the constitution of the Obinugwu people, who already have laid down rules, with regards to the selection and process of enthroning a new Eze, whenever such a position becomes vacant.

“We are, therefore, using this opportunity to inform Your Excellency once again, that the stool of the Obiship (Traditional Ruler) of Obinugwu Autonomous Community is not vacant, as HRH Eze (Dr.) Cletus Ilomuanya, (CON) is and still remains our Traditional Ruler.”

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