The people of Ezuagulu Otu in Anambra East local government area of Anambra State whose traditional ruler, Igwe Peter Udorji Ikegbunam, was among the 12 monarchs suspended for one year by the state government for travelling to Abuja with the oil magnate, Prince Arthur Eze to see President Muhammadu Buhari without clearance, have vowed to resist any attempt by another community to instigate the removal of their traditional ruler.
Hundreds of youths, women and elders from Aguleri Clan, consisting of five autonomous communities of which Eziagulu Otu was part, had on Monday protested the participation of two traditional rulers from the area, Igwe Ikegbunam and Igwe Alex Edozieuno, in the Abuja trip and demanded their removal.
Their argument was that since Governor Willie Obiano hailed from the area, it amounted to committing sacrilege for the royal fathers to embark on a trip that could undermine his administration.
But in a swift reaction Tuesday, members of the Eziagulu Otu royal cabinet condemned the protest, describing it as unfortunate. Chairman of Igwe-in-Council, Chief Chidi Nnamekwe said they were happy with their monarch and therefore had no reason to protest against his leadership.
His words: “We have five communities that make up Aguleri Clan and these communities have their own kings and Presidents-General.
“Whatever they have in Aguleri Uno, we have it also in Eziagulu-Otu. So how can Aguleri President-General be doing protest with his people on our behalf and in their own town demanding that our traditional ruler be removed from office?
“Our President-General, Chief Anthony Onwuteaka was not even aware of the protest in Aguleri. Our people were not involved and we were not consulted. We have no reason to move against our traditional ruler. His Abuja visit was just a private visit and he is entitled to freedom of movement as enshrined in the Nigerian constitution of 1999 as amended.
“Our traditional ruler is a good man, a man of integrity and a man of impeccable character who has done so much for the community. He brought peace to the community and the youths of Eziagulu-Otu are in total support of his leadership.
“What Aguleri people are trying to do is to annex Eziagulu-Otu to their own community and we will not allow it. Aguleri people have no mandate from us to do such kangaroo protest. We will defend our King and our community. They should mind their own community.”
Addressing reporters at his palace, Igwe Ikeegbunam said those who took part in the protest at Aguleri did not have the mandate of Eziagulu-Otu people because they were not from the community, adding that the purported protest took place at Amaeze Aguleri, which is the domain of another traditional ruler, Igwe Mike Idigo.
He said: “We wonder when Eziagulu-Otu has become part of Aguleri town. There are five communities that made up Aguleri clan which are Enugwu-Aguleri, Mkpunando, Aguleri, Enugwu-Otu and Eziagulu-Otu.”
The traditional ruler maintained that the Abuja trip was neither against Governor Obiano, nor his government, adding that they were in Abuja to thank President Muhammad Buhari for his developmental strides in Anambra State and South East, which he explained, was purely a private visit.
He added: “I wonder how Abuja can sack a governor with the visit. The power to sack a governor lies with the House of Assembly which can impeach if there is gross misconduct or the people during election.
“Traditional rulers have no right to sack a governor. Also, there was no fair hearing on the part of Anambra State government, to hear from the traditional ruler’s side of story before taking the decision to suspend them.
“I want it to be on record no Eziagulu-Otu indigene, the Eziagulu-Otu President-General or Ndi Iche were involved in the so-called protest in Aguleri.”
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