Royal Rumbles

News Introduction: 
An Aba High Court has intervened in the misunderstanding between a prominent traditional ruler in Abia State and Aba North Traditional Rulers’ Council. - By Okechukwu Keshi Ukegbu

The misunderstanding between Eze Isaac Ikonne and in the Aba North Traditional Rulers’ Council has shifted to the court of law. Ikonne who is challenging his suspension by the council last week obtained an injunction from the court restraining the council from suspending him pending the resolution of the matter. The court however, awarded a N20, 000 cost against the plaintiff.
Eze Ikonne was said to have violated the resolution of the council by writing a petition against the acting head of service of Aba north local government. The traditional ruler had in the petition to the Abia State governor, Theodore Orji, accused the acting head of service, Chief Ben Nwaulu of running the council as a personal property. “As the governor, you gave an order that any woman married outside Abia State should go back to her husband’s side and get a job. Even my own children obeyed this rule and left because they are married outside this state, one married in Uyo the other Imo,” Ikonne stated in the petition, adding that the acting HOS has retained one Mrs. Esther Nwogu, who is married to Imo State as a worker in the council. He also accused the Nwaulu of planning to sack his children working in the local government and appealed to the governor to intervene. 
But the traditional rulers’ council said Eze Ikonne has violated its resolution that no member of the council is allowed to write a petition against another member of the council or any government functionary without first clearing with it. He was allegedly suspended for three months.
Eze Ikonne, in his affidavit to the court, alleged that his fundamental human rights were violated by the council. His counsel, K C Nwufo urged the court to hold that the respondents violated the applicant’s right to fair hearing and asked the court to set aside the said suspension and order the council to pay him N500 million for damages. In a counter affidavit on behalf of the council by Eze Love Nwogu, the respondents denied all the allegations and maintained that Eze Ikonne was given the opportunity to defend himself, which he failed to do. Their counsel, Elder Chibuike Nwokeukwu, prayed the court to dismiss the suit as lacking in merit and substance.  
In Ebonyi State, crisis in brewing in Ishiagu as two people are parading themselves as traditional rulers of the community. Chief Moses Ngele was last year coroneted as Agu III of Ishiagu. Recently, Chief Elias Ezenta was also crowned as Agu III by the community and presented to the chairman of Ivo local government and commissioner for the local government. 
Ezenta is however, enjoying the support of Ishiagu Development Union, ICDU and the Ivo local government council. President general of ICDU, Chief Linus Eze, in a petition to Governor Martin Elechi, the Ebonyi State commissioner of police, Adeola Adeniji and the state commissioner for local government, Celestine Nwali said the coronation of Chief Ngele by few individuals of the community violated the constitutional provision of the community. “The crowning of Agu is a constitutional process, which must be followed,” the president general added. He called on the state governor and the commissioner of police to stop Ngele from parading himself as traditional ruler of the community to avoid breach of peace. Chairman of Ivo local government, Celestine Eze also said that as the chairman of the council, he has presented Ezenta as traditional ruler of Ishiagu community. “No other person was presented to me and the council will hand over anyone who attempts to cause a breakdown of law and order in the area to the police.”
But Ngele maintained that his coronation on December 15 last year was in line with the provisions of Ishiagu community and in line with the culture of Ishiagu people. “We have two constitutions in this kingdom – the ICDU constitution and the traditional constitution, which involves the ofo and the omenani tradition. Both followed in my emergence,” Ngele claimed.  He added that since the council refused to present him to the state government for recognition, he has taken the matter to court.
Ngele was accused of recruiting people suspected to be thugs and holding illegal meetings. The council chairman, Celestine Eze however, said he would not allow the council to witness the crisis experienced in some other parts of the state, and has therefore alerted the development to security agencies. Ebonyi State has witnessed communal clashes in the last four years.  


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