Enugu Traditional Ruler Imposition Sparks Investigation

Igwe Crown

The Concerned Citizens of Obuno Uno Autonomous Community, situated in Nkanu West Local Government Area of Enugu State, have raised a collective voice, calling upon the South East Council of Traditional Rulers, led by Igwe Ambassador Lawrence Agubuzu, to establish a panel of inquiry. The purpose of this panel would be to thoroughly investigate the purported imposition of a traditional ruler in their community.

The Concerned Citizens led by one Chief Godwin Chukwuemeka Ogbodo emphasize that such an investigation is essential not only to maintain the public’s confidence and respect in the traditional institution but also to avert a potential crisis in the area.

The genesis of their concern stems from the recent presentation of a certificate of recognition to Chief Jack Nwatu as the traditional ruler of Obuno Uno. This presentation, allegedly conducted by the Commissioner for Chieftaincy Affairs, Local Government, and Rural Development, Deacon Okay Ogbodo, has sparked controversy due to perceived violations of established procedures.

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Expressing disappointment over the commissioner’s actions, the group asserts that no verification or election occurred in their community for the Igweship stool before the certificate of recognition was presented. They argue that tolerating such impunity could set a detrimental precedent for the traditional ruler recruitment process not only in Enugu State but also across the entire South East region, potentially leading to avoidable crises in various communities.

Furthermore, the Concerned Citizens have called on the National Judicial Council (NJC) to investigate what they describe as “Contempt of Court” committed by Deacon Okey Ogbodo. They claim that the certificate was presented in defiance of or without consideration for ongoing legal proceedings, specifically citing Suit No. E/132/2019, E/30m/2020, HAG 13/2022.

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Recalling a previous demand by the Coalition of Civil Society in Enugu State for the suspension of Commissioner Deacon Okay Ogbodo, the Concerned Citizens echo this call, citing perceived corruption, abuse of office, and the instigation of crisis in communities. They further demand the immediate withdrawal of the certificate of recognition issued by the commissioner and a return to the established rules and regulations governing the election of traditional rulers.

Raising doubts about the commissioner’s claim that he acted under the instructions of Governor Dr. Peter Mbah, the Concerned Citizens express skepticism. They highlight the governor’s legal background and commitment to due process, asserting that he would not willingly disobey the law or contribute to community unrest.

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In conclusion, the group stresses the sanctity of the traditional institution, urging both traditional rulers and the NJC to intervene promptly. Their message is clear: “A stitch in time saves nine,” emphasizing the importance of timely action to preserve the integrity of the traditional institution in Enugu State.