Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, and the Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) of the Independent National Electoral Commission INEC in Imo, Prof Emeka Ezeonu, on Saturday led a protest against alleged imposition of the traditional ruler of Alor, Igwe MacAnthony Okonkwo.
The Monarch of Alor is one of the traditional rulers recently suspended by Governor Willie Obiano for traveling to Abuja to visit President Muhammadu Buhari without permission.
Over 500 indigenes of Alor in Idemili South Local government area took to the streets with placards bearing different inscriptions against alleged imposition of monarch and Caretaker Committee in the community by the State government.
Some of the placards read: ‘Alor rejects the imposition of caretaker, please, Governor Obiano look into this matter’; ‘this imposition has been on for eight years’ and ‘we dissociate our community from the monarch who traveled to Abuja without permission from our government” among others.
Ngige, a former Governor, who hails from the community, called Obiano to suspend the 12 traditional rulers and banish them from their different communities for desecrating the culture and traditions of their lands.
He said the banishment should be extended to the person who led them to the Abuja trip
Ngige alleged the traditional ruler was imposed by former Governor Peter Obi to punish his community and local government for voting against their allied forces in the 2011 senatorial election when he contested on the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).
He said: “He decided to punish the towns thereby starving them of any projects and destabilise their town unions starting from Alor where he dissolved the executives with a caretaker hostile to Ngige and imposed the monarch on the community as against the Constitution of the people ”
“When someone is suspended from performing functions of an office, he should be barred from even being in that vicinity.
“So, I advise Anambra State Government to relocate these 12 traditional rulers from their Communities to avoid a situation likely to cause a breach of public peace.”
The Minister further alleged the Monarch of Alor was never enthroned but imposed on the people as a vendetta by the Obi administration for using what it called small Yoruba party ACN to defeat them.
The President General PG of Alor, Chief Uzoma Igbonwa, said the community would continue to support Governor Obiano’s administration, adding that Alor would never work against the State Government.
According to him: “We plead with the State Government to dissolve and disband the said caretaker Committee of Alor People’s Convention for working against the interest of Alor people and government of the State because their continued existence is an impediment to the peace and progress of Alor Community.”
Imo REC, Prof Emeka Ezeonu said the community would not rest until the State Government do the needful by banishing the monarch and dissolving the Caretaker Committee.
But the traditional ruler, Igwe MacAnthony Okonkwo, denied the allegation he was imposed by former Governor Obi.
He insisted he was the monarch of Alor.
After his one-year suspension by Obiano for allegedly going to Abuja without authorisation, he openly apologised for violating certain rules guiding the operation of monarchs in the state.