By FESTUS AHON
UGHELLI—THE people of Okpai Kingdom in Ndokwa East Local Government Area of Delta State have dethroned their monarch, HRH Ugbome II, over allegation of forgery and impersonation.
Twelve members of Okpai Ruling Houses/Quarters, Traditional Council of Kingmakers, council of elders and accredited representatives of Okpai Kingdom, in a petition to the state governor on the matter, called on the state government to withdraw its approval and recognition hitherto accorded the embattled monarch.
They alleged that the Igwe, sometime, in 2000, submitted to the Directorate of Chieftaincy Affairs a draft declaration of customary law regulating succession to the throne of Igwe of Okpai for recognition.
They said the preparation and signing of the said draft law dated November 11, 1998, were made without the knowledge, consent and authority of the kingdom, adding that in the heat of the controversy, the Igwe begged for pardon and promised not to repeat the acts and allegedly deposed to an affidavit on December 8, 2002, informing the people that he had withdrawn the said declaration of customary law.
They noted that last year, however, they were shocked to discover that the draft law had been registered and published as DSL No 7 of 2005.
Upon the discovery, the people dragged the Governor, Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice and Directorate of Chieftaincy Affairs to court, seeking nullification of the registered declaration of the customary law.
They said: “The people of Okpai were shocked to discover from the defence filed in the suit that HRH G. Ugbome II, had submitted to the state government a letter dated 31/05/2004 written on his behalf and also an affidavit by him on the same 31/5/2004.”
They argued that nobody from the lineage of the current Igwe had ever ascended the throne of Okpai Kingdom as the two previous Igwes bearing Ugbome were from different ruling houses .