The Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Nnaemeka Achebe, has berated the Governor of Anambra State, Charles Soludo and the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Tony Collins Nwabunwanne for suspending the traditional ruler of Neni Community, HRH, Eze Damian Ezeani, simply because he conferred a Chieftaincy title on Senator Ifeanyi Uba, representing Anambra South Senatorial District in the red chambers of the National Assembly.
The Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Nwabunwanne while announcing the suspension, said, “the code of conduct for traditional rulers in the state mandates that no monarch can confer a chieftaincy title on anyone from outside his community, without obtaining the permission of the traditional ruler of the recipient’s community.
Ubah is from Otolo, a community in Nnewi north LGA of Anambra”.
However, the Obi of Onitsha, who is the Chairman of Anambra State Council of Traditional Rulers (ASTRC) berated the Commissioner for accusing traditional rulers in the state of conferring traditional titles to individuals for pecuniary benefits.
The revered traditional ruler, in a letter to that effect, dated January, 8, 2024, averred that, the letter stating the suspension of Ezeani, lacked “respect and sensitivity” in addressing traditional rulers in the state.
The letter dated January, 12, 2024, reads, “Without providing evidence for your sweeping statement about trading chieftaincy titles for money, you also, wittingly or not, thereby indicted the entire traditional institution of the state,” the Obi said.
“Your press release to a global audience put the institution into disrepute when a direct circular letter to all traditional rulers as the parties of interest would have sufficed.
“The tone and language of your letter were, by any measure, a public riot act and pontification to the same majority of traditional rulers that you extolled as acting with dignity and integrity.
“The letter lacked respect and sensitivity in addressing the traditional rulers of Anambra State, who, by any standard, are held in very high esteem in the comity of the traditional institutions of Nigeria and beyond”.
The Anambra monarch also faulted Nwabunwanne for describing Ubah as “one Senator Ifeanyi Ubah” in the suspension letter, adding that it is “disrespectful and offensive”.
“Your reference to a second-term Right Honorable Distinguished Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as “one Senator Ifeanyi Ubah” is most disrespectful, offensive, and unbecoming of one holding a political office as Commissioner,” the monarch said.
“It is noteworthy that a person can only qualify to contest elections after scaling through the highest level of security checks at the federal level.”
The Anambra monarch said the suspension of Ezeani and the threat of withdrawal of the certificate of recognition “suggest that there may be other issues with either Igwe Neni or distinguished senator Ubah, which are being stealthily ventilated in the circumstance”.
The Obi of Onitsha averred that the manner in which the state government is handling matters of conferment of honorary chieftaincy titles is the “apogee of the progressive dehumanisation and dismantling of the traditional institution” under Soludo’s administration.