Government should stop using town unions against monarchs —Igwe Nwankwo
His Royal Majesty, Igwe Chijioke Nwankwo, Osuofia II of Nawfia, the traditional ruler of Nawfia Kingdom in Njikoka Local Government Area of Anambra State, has said there are many challenges facing the traditional governance institution.
He traced the possible causes of friction between traditional rulers and President-Generals of town unions to the ‘divide and rule’ method, saying that in most cases, the state Government does not carry out enough investigations on any report before taking action. He said: “For instance, I once received a letter from the state government about the vigilante group. They asked me to nominate 10 members, while the town union leadership was to also nominate another 10 members.
“I refused to do that. I told them I would not be part of it. This is because the Anambra State Vigilante Law of 2014, which was amended in 2015, is very specific and unequivocal on such issue.” While explaining that the law stipulated that the Igwe is the Chief Security Officer of the town, Igwe Nwankwo disclosed that when the issue of electing his town’s President-General arose, he asked the state executive to follow the law, since according to him, “their duty is to enforce the law.”
Although he said the government eventually listened to him after many squabbles, the Igwe said there were still issues, stressing: “I have repeatedly told Governor Willie Obiano that there must be division of labour. The Igwe has his job cut out and the town unions have theirs.“That is the only way to move forward. You can only stay in office as governor for four years, at most eight years, but the problems you create can last for years if not centuries.”
The traditional ruler maintained that by virtue of their closeness to the people, monarchs have crucial roles to play in preserving not only the culture and tradition, but also peace and security in his domain.Citing the instance of challenges posed by herdsmen and farmers’ crisis, he regretted that some governors were not sincere in their stance over Ruga.
The first class monarch stated: “I entirely don’t like the idea of Ruga or whatever you call it. They say Igbo people are settling all over Nigeria. Yes, look at Computer Village in Lagos for instance and the Trade Fair Complex (ASPAMDA), among others, everyone knows that Igbo traders developed them. But they spent their money to buy spaces and developed them.
“It is a free country. If you want to rear cattle, then buy a piece of land and develop your business on it. Otherwise, you should as well give Igbo people lands, where they would do business. Nobody gave Igbo traders the spaces they developed as markets. Yet, they are taxed heavily.”He disclosed that at several meetings between the governor and traditional rulers, the governor denied “repeatedly that he does not support Ruga. However, if he is doing otherwise, it must be covertly.”
Igwe Nwankwo said it was possible that some governors from the Southeast are trading off their people’s interest for selfish political gains. He said: “Some did it to make sure they were re-elected. Many of them do not care about the legacy they are leaving behind. They only care about how many times they go into public office. Many of them are in their second and final terms and must learn how to leave legacies.
“But then, some are also scared of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and are trading off their people to compromise the system, thereby putting their states in fiasco.” On the raging issue of zoning public offices, the traditional ruler denied that there was any time monarchs met to zone or ratify a zoning arrangement, stressing that the proposition is unconstitutional and illegal.
He declared that the Nigerian Constitution prohibits zoning, and that if zoning must be done, it should not be selective. He said: “It cannot be for only the governorship. If we must adopt zoning, it must be across board. If we must zone, it must go round, including the Senate, House of Representatives, State House of Assembly and even the traditional rulership.”He disclosed that the stipend being paid to traditional rulers was too meagre, which creates opening for state governors and politicians to treat monarchs like toys.
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