…LGA Commissioner fingered as crises overwhelm Anambra communities
In recent times, communal crises bothering on Igweship and town union leadership tussles have been rocking various communities in Anambra State.
Some of these included, Ifite-Dunu, Nawfia, Ideani, Azia, Abacha, Oba, Ojoto and many others.
The most notorious is the alleged persistent recognition of and public fraternity by some notable officials of the State government led by the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftancy Affairs, Mr Tony Collins Nwabunwanne with the court dethroned traditional ruler of Alor community, Idemili South Council of the State, -Chief Mac-Anthony Elibe Okonkwo.
This is currently rocking the peace and cohesion in the area.
Consequently, Gov Chukwuma Soludo has been called by citizens to investigate and probe the Commissioner as he was accused of having a hand in most of these crises.
He was also alleged to being key participant in their instigating, dating back to when he was an aide to former Gov. Willie Obiano on Chieftaincy and Community Affairs. Hence was presently seen as working at variance with the progress of the State and against the public interest.
The immediate past President General of Alor People’s Convention, Chief Uzoma Igbonwa while responding to a question from journalists on the tense atmosphere in the hitherto peaceful Alor community pointed out that Mac Anthony Okonkwo was formally dethroned vide an Anambra High court judgment of Feb 17, 2022. His motion for stay of execution was declined by the High Court, but surprisingly, he has continued to parade himself/passing off as, dressing as and presenting himself as a traditional ruler of Alor both in private and in public. He refused to heed to the subsisting court judgment that dethroned him and the State Attorney-General’s recent advice and legal opinion notwithstanding. However, it was doubtful if the initial certificate of Recognition issued to him has been formally withdrawn, little wonder he was going around town parading as a monarch.
It would be recalled that Alor is the country home of the former governor of the State and immediate past Minister of Labour/Employment, Senator Chris Ngige.
This unwholesome situations, Igbonwa stated, “has elicited tension, confusion, agitations, and restiveness in the community, especially among the youths.
According to the February 17, 2022 court judgment, Okonkwo was ordered to desist thenceforth from parading or presenting himself as a traditional ruler anywhere at all.
It was on the strength of this court verdict and the absence of any other impediment that the community had in 2022 elected and enthroned HRM Igwe Collins Ebelechukwu Chukwumesili as Ezediohamma 111 of Alor, Igbonwa added.
Instructively, he pointed out that, “Igwe Chukwumesili was chosen from Uruezeana village in Ifite Section, the rightful and appropriate area whose turn it was to present the new Igwe, as was copiously outlined in the operational Constitution of Alor and consistent with the judgment of the High Court.”
Chief Mac-Anthony Okonkwo’s surprising illegitimate and unfortunate emergence had remained tenuous and troubled because he hail from the last and youngest Umuokwu Village of Ifite Section of Alor. It was actually a journey to nowhere which had brought nothing apart from darkness, gloom and crises to Alor since he bulldozed his way and fouled the Chieftancy selection arena, when he knows that his Umuokwu village was not in reckoning as far as the Alor Igweship stool was concerned presently, until it gets to her turn in many generations to come.
When contacted, one of the old and experienced Ichies, Ichie Ifeanyi Obiazi (Ichie Idee 111 of Alor) bemoaned “the ugly situation Okonkwo had brought upon a once sure-footed progressive Alor community.”
Referring our Correspondent to copy of the verdict of court that removed him, Ichie Obiazi expressed shock that he was still clinging to his traditional rulership claim and illusion.
Throwing more light to the conundrum, Ichie Obiazi rhetorically asked, have you ever seen it anywhere in global history where anyone mounted the throne while his father is alive. Would he be breaking kola nut for and or in the presence of his own father, as the traditional ruler? That will be opprobrious.
Mac Anthony Okonkwo’s father is very much alive and strong. It’s even under his father’s roof that his son, Mac-Anthony, is still living and carrying on as “Igwe” while the folly lasted.
In all these community crises, our investigations disclosed that it’s people of Nwabunwanne’s ilk that provided the offensive manure that nourishes such festering malady all over the state.
However, apparently reacting to the legal counsel of the State’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Okonkwo, through one Emeka Ikegwuogu as his spokesman, at a press conference in Awka at the weekend insisted that he “remains the authentic traditional ruler of Alor”.
More so, in a letter to the immediate past President General of Alor(Igbonwa), dated August 22,2023, the State’s Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice had cautioned Okonkwo and those prodding him on to be guided by the court verdict in Suit HID/354/2019, save and until contrary is established. “In the interim, Mac-Anthony Chinedu Elibe Okonkwo is not the Igwe of Alor, and he must stop disturbing the peace of Alor community with his childish behaviour. No reasonable Alor man or woman pays Mac-Anthony any attention. For him, Alor Igweship stool is a business venture and he must not rule Alor people by force”.
The State’s Chief law officer also pointed out that, “Having been satisfied that the judgment and orders delivered in the suit are the extant and subsisting orders of the court between the parties and on the same subject matter, save and until the contrary is established, Mr Mac Anthony Chinedu Okonkwo should not conduct or superintendent over the new yam festival scheduled on Saturday, August 5, 2023 in the purported capacity of traditional ruler of Alor town is unlawful and against the public peace of the town, therefore he is restrained from doing so to avoid total breakdown of law and order in the community.”
It needs highlighting here too that Alor community cannot in anyway be seen as inconsequential, having produced a State Governor, Senator, Ministers, incumbent Clerk of the Senate, Senior Advocates of Nigeria, Judges, Magistrates, and top business moguls in different areas of discipline, members of the State Assembly and different top government appointees at the Federal and State levels.
Prof. Elo Onyeka, a respectable indigene of Alor, wondered why none of the distinguished well-read citizens was in the motley crowd of Okonkwo’s praise singing press conference.
While blaming these communal crises on Nwabunwanne who was alleged to be sitting on most official letters concerning these communities and Chieftancy issues, Chief Max Oruche from Ifite-Dunu community accused Mr. Nwabunwanne of being too young, inexperienced and immature for the office he occupies, and evidently not sound in the general customs and tradition of most communities in the State and/or working against Gov. Soludo’s vision for democracy to thrive in Anambra communities.
Nwabunwanne in reaction to the leadership/rulership crises ravaging the State, especially as he was accused of instigating some blamed those who never liked his rising profile and face. But vowed to overcome all their antics and come out without any blemish.
Records revealed that while trying to paper the heavily cracked walls of the traditional rulership/community leadership mess he allegedly actively participated in during the immediate past administration of Chief Willie Obiano, -Nwabunwanne was visibly attacking Soludo’s efforts and the hope for reelection later 2024, as he is creating enemies for Gov. Soludo.
This should be a wake up call for the governor to x-ray Nwabunwanne’s activities and some other officials who have become heavy baggage to the administration.