. says he’s not qualified to be nominated, selected, enthroned, recognized as Igwe

By Nwabueze Okonkwo

Anambra state High court sitting at Ogidi, presided over by Justice Pete Obiorah has granted an interim injunction restraining the traditional ruler of Alor community in Idemili South Local Government Area of Anambra State, Igwe Mac Anthony Okonkwo from further parading himself as the Igwe of Alor.

Alor community is the home town of the incumbent Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige who also was against the nomination, selection, enthronement and recognition of Okonkwo as the Alor monarch since 2014 when the state government issued him with a chieftaincy certificate and staff of office.

The order followed a counter-claim filed by the second defendant/counter-claimant, Chief Uzoma Igbonwa, through his legal counsel, Bona Oraekwe Esq., challenging the recognition and certification of Mac Anthony Okonkwo, the third plaintiff as the traditional ruler of Alor (Ezedioramma III), since 2014, by Anambra state government.

Okonkwo and two others, Frank Nwabufo Okoye and Ifenna Okafor had in Suit No. HID/354/2019, through their legal counsels, S. C. Udemezue Esq. with F. I Obiekwu Esq., dragged the Incorporated Trustees of Alor Peoples Assembly, APA and Igbonwa to the court seeking a declaration that the APA registered under Part C. of Companies and Allied Matters Act. CAMA of 1990 is not a town union government and as such cannot perform the functions and duties of Alor Peoples Convention, APC which is the authentic town union government for Alor people.

The plaintiffs also sought a declaration of the court that the purported change of name of the APC to APA at the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC by the defendants is null and void, adding that the court should restrain the APA from acting as APC and from holding parallel meetings of Alor Annual General Assembly comprising of all adult male and female of Alor extraction in any way whatsoever.

The plaintiffs further prayed the court to restrain APA from conducting any form of election for the purposes of selecting a new traditional ruler in place of the third plaintiff, Okonkwo who has already been recognized and certified by the state government as the Ezediohamma III of Alor since 2015.

But in a twist, Justice Obiorah while delivering the judgement, ordered Mac Anthony Okonkwo to forthwith desist from occupying or using the Palace of Obi Eze Agbudugbu (the original ancestral abode of Alor people) and generally intermeddling in the various customs and practices as well as administrative affairs of Alor town.

Justice Obiorah who is also the administrative Judge of Idemili Judicial Division also granted an order directing the second defendant/counter-claimant Igbonwa as the President-General of APC elected in compliance with the judgement in Suit. No. A/14/2015, delivered on February 5, 2019 in conjunction with the Regency Council of Alor, to commence the process of filling the vacant stool of Igwe of Alor, in accordance with the Constitution of APC 2011.

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The judgement read in part: “I grant an order that the certificate of recognition issued to Okonkwo by the state government on June 23, 2014 is in breach of the constitution of Alor Peoples Convention then in force and Anambra State Traditional Rulers Law 2007”

“I declare that the purported selection and presentation of Okonkwo as a traditional ruler of Alor town by the caretaker committee of APC by a contrived process held between April 7 and May 17, 2014 is null and void for the breach of extant provisions of the constitution of APC 2011 which replaced the constitution of APC 1992 and traditional rulers law of Anambra state, 2007 or any other law relating to traditional rulers”.

“I declared that Okonkwo being a person who is not an Ozo titled person as at March 9, 2014, is ab initio not qualified, not a fit and proper person to be nominated, selected, enthroned or recognized as the Igwe of Alor”.

“I declare that upon the fulfilment of all condition precedents, the Uruezeani Village/Quarters being the most senior among the villages/Quarters in Ifite Section of Alor has a right to present a qualified candidate or aspirant in the matter of selection of a traditional ruler from Ifite Section for onward presentation to Alor people”.

“I declare that the only ways and means of according recognition of Anambra state government to a traditional ruler within the meaning and context of the state traditional rulers law of 2007 is by first and foremost publishing such fact in the Gazette of the state government and thereafter the issuance of a certificate to the candidate democratically selected by the community in accordance with her constitution and or customs and tradition and that the failure by the state government to follow such a laid down procedure rendered the recognition of Okonkwo a nullity”.

Justice Obiorah however stated that the parties shall bear their respective costs of this legal action since their claims and counter-claims succeeded in part.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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