Some traditional rulers from Anambra State, who arrived in Abuja to see President Muhammadu Buhari, were prevented from meeting the president on Friday.
Although, no official reason was given for the action, reliable sources in the Presidency attributed it to unfavourable security reports.
“One of the monarchs,” according to a source, “has since October 25, 2019, been taken to the court of Mr Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court in Abuja by the President Buhari administration on charges of perjury, forgery and conspiracy.”
The source, which gave the suit number as FHC/ABJ/CR/255/2019, hinted that the traditional ruler was “currently on suspension from office by the Anambra State government,” and was also facing civil suits, in addition to security reports against him alleging land grabbing.”
The Guardian gathered that there were concerns that meeting the monarchs would have dealt a major blow to President Buhari’s fight against corruption, the reason the traditional rulers did not get immediate clearance.
It was also disclosed that the monarchs’ trip was facilitated by a controversial businessman from Anambra State, who has in the last few weeks declared an open war against Governor Willie Obiano.
According to sources, the business mogul had lobbied to fix the meeting following which an official arrangement was made for the Friday meeting.
The traditional rulers were reportedly going to allege that Governor Obiano had misappropriated local funds in the state by not conducting a local government election since he came to power. But it was gathered that the planned meeting did not go do down well with ministers from the South East, especially the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige, who is a former Anambra State governor.
Dr Ngige was quoted as saying that “though I strongly support the All Progressives Congress (APC) to take over my state after the 2021 gubernatorial election, we must respect the sitting governor and I will not support my state and the Igbo people generally to be disgraced for no just cause.”
A source specifically told The Guardian that he also accused some of the monarchs of “totally lacking in personal credibility”, wondering why “only 13 out of the over 150 traditional rulers in the state could agree to go on this visit”.
Another minister from the South East reportedly saw the move as a breach of protocol for the monarchs to seek to see the president without presenting for clearance the speech which they planned to read to the president, adding “I can’t imagine Femi Otedola or Mike Adenuga or Aliko Dangote take traditional rulers from his state to Abuja to report their governor as if the governor is a delinquent schoolboy.”
The minister decried the presence of those he referred to as traditional ruler impostors in the “entourage.
“How can Chief Ndigwe, a barely literate person, pretend to be the traditional ruler of Awka when Igwe Gibson Nwosu, a former Nigerian Air Force pilot and a graduate of the University of Sokoto, is still alive and on the throne?” queried a top appointee of the Buhari administration who pleaded not to be named.
Meanwhile, the business mogul was said to be making frantic efforts on Friday to get the president’s chief of staff, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, to broker the meeting. It was not clear at the time if filing the report if Gambari had been intimated of the moves.
The disappointed monarchs were still waiting at Sheraton Hotel and Suites for word from the Presidential Villa when this report was filed.