Earlier today, the Court of Appeal in Owerri struck out Governor Rochas Okorocha’s application to stay its July 5th 2013 judgement to reinstate HRH (Dr) Cletus Ilomuanya as the Chairman, Imo state Council of Ndi-Eze. His Excellency’s appeal was thrown out for lack of merit. A panel of three judges spoke unanimously through Hon. Justice Raphael Agbo who presided over the case.
If you remember, upon resumption of his tenure in 2011, Governor Okorocha had sacked Eze Ilomuanya and replaced him with Eze Samuel Agunwa Ohiri. When the matter got to Court, the Court ruled that Ilomuanya should remain as Chairman of the Imo State Council of Traditional Rulers until the lawful expiration of his tenure in 2015 . It also and restrained the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, his Attorney – General and Commissioner of Justice as well as their servants, agents from interfering with the activities of the Council under Ilomuanya until his tenure expires in 2015.
In its unanimous judgment delivered by Justice Philomena Ekpe, the Court declared the dissolution of the Traditional Rulers Council under Ilomuanya as null and void and of no effect. The court submitted that Section 17A of the Imo State Traditional Rulers and Autonomous Law 2006 (as amended) which provides “Resignation or Death” as the only two conditions through which any member of the Council could abdicate office.
Since Eze Ilomuanya neither resigned nor died, Justice Ekpe said the court wondered where Governor Okorochan got his powers to dissolve the Council and remove the appealant (Ilomuanya) from office.
Some time last year, we reported how Eze Ilomuanya showed up at the Traditional Rulers Council Secretariat following the judgement only to be denied entry at the gate by armed police men who were supposedly acting on the orders of _____________.
The drama continues. Where this leaves Eze Samuel Ohiri, IMO STATE BLOG does not know. All we know is that the courts have determined that Eze Ilomuanya is the recognized Chairman of the Imo State Council of Ndi Eze. Will Governor Rochas Okorocha obey the “Rule of Law” or will he fight to finish? Stay tuned for Part 3. 😀