February 15, 2023

Dousing ‘emir’ of Aba controversy

AS if Nigeria was not already overburdened by ethno-religious crises, evil-minded and unpatriotic Nigerians are still looking for ways of exacerbating social disharmony in the nation.

They are coming up with schemes which are bound to create avoidable conflicts and possibly bloodshed.

The highly-provocative news of an alleged impending plan to install one Shehu Bello as the “Emir of the Aba Emirate Council” hit the airwaves last week.

Though the venue and date for the said event were not disclosed, the Abia State Government, in a swift statement issued by the Secretary to the State Government, Chris Ezem, cancelled it and mandated the law enforcement agencies to bring anyone involved in any such activity to book with the full weight of the law.

That was yet another attempt by agents provocateur to cause a breach of the peace by deigning to install traditional rulers of paramount status outside their ethnic enclaves where there already existed paramount rulership long recognised by the law.

In August 2021, plans to turban one Idris Adanno as the “Sultan of Shuwa Arabs of Edo State” was quickly downed by the Oba of Benin and millions of angry Edo people at home and abroad.

Also, earlier in June 2021, the rumour spread that one Mohammed Abubakar Bambado was posturing as the “Emir” of Lagos when every Tom, Dick and Harry knows that Lagos already has several indigenous traditional rulers, paramount of whom is the Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu.

Also, it is a well-known fact that the paramount ruler of Aba is Eze Ikonne, Enyi 1 of Aba. It is the height of mischief that a non-indigenous “emir” would be purported for installation in a Christian/traditional environment, totally without recourse or regard to the chieftaincy laws of Abia State which provide guidance in such sensitive matters.

There is nothing wrong in people settling in any part of the country having their local chiefs installed to coordinate the cultural and traditional affairs of their people. It is normal to have Eze Ndi Igbo, Sarkin Hausawa or Sarkin Zango, Sarkin Fulani and such arrangement for any ethnic group living outside their native lands to serve as rallying points. But they must be strictly under the laws of the states they reside in to avoid conflicts with the owners of the land.

Our fear is that the “emir” of Aba saga was foisted by some mischievous and desperate politicians seeking to rupture the peaceful coexistence of Northerners with their hosts in Abia State and the South-East for selfish political gains. This must be resisted.

We commend the Abia State Government for acting promptly and urge it to ensure that all Nigerians within its jurisdiction are protected before, during and after the 2023 elections.