Listen to article
There is palpable tension in Imo State among traditional rulers of autonomous communities, whose traditional rulers were either handpicked by the former governor, Senator Rochas Okorocha, or through the casting of ballots organized by the former administration.
The Eastern Updates gathered that the prevailing situation may not be unconnected with the judgment of an Imo State High Court sitting in Owerri, which declared as “illegal, null, void and of no effect, the action of the state governor of casting ballots as a means of identifying and recognizing traditional rulers in the state”.
Justice Benjamin C. Iheka made the declaration while delivering judgment, which lasted over three hours, in a suit, HOW/383/2014, instituted by Gabriel Nwosu against Imo State Governor, Attorney General of Imo State, and Samuel Ordu.
Justice Iheka said: ‘The first defendant (governor) has no powers to choose and recognize the third defendant (Samuel Ordu) as Eze or traditional ruler of Obiangwu autonomous community in Ngor Okpala local government area of Imo State when the third defendant was not identified, selected, appointed and installed as Eze or traditional ruler by the people of Obiangwu autonomous community following their constitution.
‘I declare as null and void, the action of the governor, by casting ballots as a means of identifying and recognizing the third defendant, as Eze or traditional ruler of Obiangwu autonomous community, which is contrary to the customs and traditions of Obiangwu autonomous community, the constitution of the community and the Traditional Rulers and Autonomous Community Law number six of 2006, as amended.’
The Court not only issued an order, setting aside the purported identification or selection and recognition of Samuel Ordu as Eze or traditional ruler of Obiangwu autonomous community by the governor, but also gave an order of perpetual injunction, restraining Samuel Ordu from howsoever conducting or parading himself as the traditional ruler of the community.
He held that the claimant’s suit was competent and within the jurisdiction of the court to determine and discountenance the preliminary objections of the defendants.
Justice Iheka awarded N500,000 costs against Samuel Ordu.