Anambra monarchs attack Soludo, accuse governor of dehumanising traditional institution

Traditional rulers in Anambra State have expressed displeasure with the way Governor Charles Soludo’s administration is treating the traditional institution in the state.

The traditional rulers, in a letter signed by the chairperson of the Anambra State Traditional Rulers Council, Alfred Achebe, said the administration was being disrespectful, with the way it was “maltreating” and suspending some traditional rulers.

The Anambra State Government, through the Ministry of Local Government, Chieftaincy and Community Affairs, suspended a traditional ruler for conferring a chieftaincy title on Ifeanyi Ubah, a senator from the state.

The state government had threatened to do the same to other traditional rulers if they did not reverse such recognitions.

Apology to Soludo

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that no fewer than three traditional rulers had bowed to pressure by apologising to Governor Soludo for conferring the chieftaincy title. They have also withdrawn the chieftaincy titles.

The traditional rulers that have apologised include Gerald Mbamalu of Ojoto, Damian Ezeani of Neni, and F.E Ebelendu of Aguluezechuwku.

The chairperson of the Anambra State Traditional Rulers Council, Mr Achebe, said Tony-Collins Nwabunwanne, the local government affairs commissioner, disrespected the traditional institution by taking unilateral action against traditional rulers and communicating with them through social media.

He condemned the suspension of Damian Ezeani, the traditional ruler of Neni in Anaocha Local Government Area, for conferring chieftaincy title for alleged “non-compliance with the Code of Conduct” as dehumanising and selective.

“Assuming that lgwe of Neni did not strictly comply with the Code of Conduct, would the foregoing factors not be sufficiently extenuating to warrant a far less sanction on him as was meted to some other tiny few that also failed to comply?

“The severity of suspension and threat of withdrawal of Certificate of Recognition suggests that there may be other issues with either lgwe of Neni or Distinguished Senator Ubah which are being stealthily ventilated in this circumstance.

“Your letter to lgwe Damian Ezeani was copied to the Commissioner of Police and Director of DSS, Anambra State, but not to the chairman of the Anambra State Traditional Rulers Council.

“This act, amongst many others, was seen by the traditional rulers of Anambra State as a measure of the worth of the traditional institution to the present administration.

“You publicly visited the sins of an unrecognised self-acclaimed traditional ruler on the entire State traditional institution, to which he does not belong,” he said.

‘Dehumanising and deprecating the traditional institution’

Mr Achebe said the traditional institution in Anambra comprised some of the finest sons of the state who achieved sterling academic heights and professional attainments.

He said the commissioner’s claim that traditional rulers had demonstrated a penchant for trading chieftaincy titles for money was not supported by any evidence, adding that their stool was not sustained by it or a government stipend.

He described the handling of the matter of conferment of honorary chieftaincy titles as the “apogee of the progressive dehumanisation and dismantling of the traditional institution” of Anambra by the present administration.

“The livelihood of the traditional rulers does not depend on selling chieftaincy titles or the N175,000 monthly stipend from the state government, but on their own hard-earned modest personal resources.

“By their office, age, attainment and standing in society, they deserve far better respect and dignity, than being publicly bullied and unfairly shamed at every opportunity by people in the State Government.

“The Federal and other State Governments hold the traditional institutions in high esteem. What then has gone wrong in Anambra State?

“The traditional institution of Anambra feels strongly that the present administration is progressively dehumanising and deprecating the institution against the trend in the rest of the country.

“The traditional institution is mindful of the awesomeness of the executive power and authority in our democratic dispensation but prays fervently that such power and authority, which come from God through the governed, should be exercised with due sensitivity and humaneness over the governed,” he said.

Mr Achebe said contrary to the impression that the issue of honorary chieftaincy title was on the foremost front burner for the Anambra people, the communities were still faced with many development challenges.

According to him, key community challenges are the lack of basic amenities, including electricity, potable water, healthcare, good access roads, youth unemployment leading to other delinquencies and the inability of the communities to fund their contingents of the Anambra State Vigilante Group.

“We also demand respectable stipends from the five of the statutory allocation to the Local Government Councils as is applicable in other States of the Federation,” he said.