The attention of Obi of Obinugwu and Chairman, Imo State and South East Councils of Traditional Rulers, HRH, Eze (Dr) Cletus Ilomuanya, CON, has been drawn to several media publications of Wednesday, March 15, 2017.In the said publications, the Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha was copiously quoted as saying that he will not as usual, obey the directive of the Federal Government of Nigeria, to the effect that he reinstate HRH Eze (Dr) C.I. Ilomuanya, as Chairman of Imo State Council of Traditional Rulers in line with the Court of Appeal judgment of July 5, 2013.
The Governor was also said to have amongst several other ludicrous verbiages, threatened to banish and arrest him as well as insisting that he removed him as Chairman because he was not attending meetings of the Council. To many discerning Nigerians, (Imo people especially) the latest unguarded utterances of the governor against the Federal Government particularly, the Attorney General of the Federal and Honourable Minister of Justice, is an affront taken too far.
This attitude is what His Excellency, Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra state once described as “Motor Park Character”. It is indeed very unfortunate.
For the avoidance of doubt and in order to properly situate the matter, Eze Ilomuanya wishes to state thus:
1. Governor Rochas Okorocha’s aggression against Eze Ilomuanya is unfortunate,puerile, misconceived and very atavistic. The issue at stake boarders on rule of law and constitutionalism which obviously the governor is very averse to. The ludicrous lie by the governor that he purportedly removed Eze Ilomuanya as Chairman, Imo State Council of Traditional Rulers because he was not attending meetings is a classical case of Executive Deceit. The governor, in hurry to defend the indefensible, forgot that he unlawfully dissolved the Council and removed Eze Ilomuanya as Chairman, in his maiden broadcast as Governor of Imo State on June 6, 2011. This was a week after being sworn-into office. How then could he have known that Eze Ilomuanya wasn’t attending meetings even when he (Eze Ilomuanya) was Chairman of Council? Even on the same day of the kangaroo dissolution, he asked Eze Ilomuanya to convene a meeting of all traditional rulers at his (Okorocha’s) wife eatery along Ugwu Orji, Okigwe Road, Owerri, with all Security Chiefs in the State in attendance. The meeting was even funded by Eze Ilomuanya himself with a promise from the governor that he will refund him afterwards. Surprisingly same day, at about 6pm the governor unlawfully dissolved the Council headed by Eze Ilomuanya before the courts reversed it. Who is fooling who?
2 The governor said he dethroned Eze Ilomuanya because he ordered the beating of some imaginary women. Where, when or how?
3 Eze Ilomuanya wishes to refer the governor to Pages 3 and 23 of the Court of Appeal judgment of Friday, July 5, 2013 wherein, the court granted the following restraining Order…”An Order of injunction restraining the Defendants by themselves, their servants, agents or howsoever from truncating the tenure of office of the Claimant (Eze Ilomuanya) as a member of and Chairman of the Imo State Council of Ndi Eze until the lawful expiration of the said tenure (emphasis ours). While this unambiguous court directive was subsisting, the governor flagrantly and unlawfully purported to dethrone Eze Ilomuanya on June 6, 2014 via a radio announcement. Can Okorocha stand on gross illegality and disobedience to Court of Appeal judgment and seek to foist another illegal action? The answer is NO. He who seeks for equity must come with clean hands. Perhaps, the governor does not even understand the import of the court order. Besides, Suit Nos. HOW/409/2014 and HOW/609/2014 adequately addressed this charade. The governor’s reckless conduct is even more appalling in the face of Supreme Court’s decision of February, 2015, which threw away Okorocha’s appeal.
4 On the import of the legal phrase “status quo ante” which the governor ignorantly referred to in a desperate bid to justify his condemnable act, his Attorney General would have easily explained to him that it simply means “as things were before hostility or trouble began”(emphasis ours). Deductively, it means Eze Ilomuanya remains whatever he is abinitio, until any contentious issue is sorted out. Besides, we are aware of the wise advise his Attorney General has given him in respect of this matter but which as usual, he has consigned this advice to his lawless cabbage bin.
5 Even the State Chairman of All Progressive Congress (APC) Dr. Hilary Eke, whom the governor used to circulate falsehood against Eze Ilomuanya, has publicly apologized to the monarch in his letter dated February 26, 2017 and has further re-affirmed and pledged his loyalty to Eze Ilomuanya as the Obi of Obinugwu Community and Chairman, Imo State and South East Councils of Traditional Rulers. This should serve as food for thought for the governor.
6 For the avoidance of doubt, HRH Eze (Dr.) C.I. Ilomuanya, CON, Obi of Obinugwu, remains the traditional ruler of Obinugwu Community as well as the Chairman, Imo State Council of Traditional Rulers in concomitance with the law and the unanimous wish of Obinugwu, both at home and in the Diaspora which they have publicly expressed through several Resolutions endorsed by the Community’s Leaders without a dissenting voice.
7 Governor Okorocha has no right or power whatsoever to banish any Imo citizen talk less of a highly revered monarch of Eze Ilomuanya’s status. To many, Governor Okorocha merely spoke to massage his bruised ago.
8 Obinugwu Community in Orlu LGA, Imo State has only one monarch, and that is, HRH Eze (Dr) C.I. Ilomuanya, CON as affirmed by several courts including the Supreme Court and the Attorney General of the Federation. The governor’s unguarded statements are hollow and have no force of law at all.
9 In his desperate intention to blackmail the federal government’s directive through a hog-wash dethronement farce, Governor Okorocha forgot that before the Order of reinstatement was issued to him, both the Federal Government and the courts have investigated the case and were satisfied with Eze Ilomuanya’s status as a First Class Traditional Ruler in Nigeria hence the directive.
10 The traditional institution in Nigeria is indeed, embarrassed by the governor’s endless aggression against monarchs in Imo State most of whom have been reduced to the status of “errand boys” for the governor. The sanctity, dignity and integrity of the traditional institution in Imo State have been completely eroded under the governor’s supervision because of his desire to rule Imo like Lord of the Manor Farm.
11 Eze Ilomuanya while commending the Federal Government, particularly the Hon. Attorney General of the Federation for enthroning a culture of constitutionalism and respect for rule of law in President Muhammadu Buhari’s populist government, he equally appeals to the federal authorities to call Governor Okorocha to order. The governor is not above the law and must not be allowed to infuse a culture of lawlessness in our polity, else we may be heading towards a banana republic.
12 Eze Ilomuanya nevertheless, advices the governor to do the needful by complying with several court judgments and the directive of the Federal Government through the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation. Governor Okorocha should know that he is subject to Nigerian Laws and not above them. He should stop playing God because is not God. He should also be mindful of the axiomatic proverb “that whatever goes up must definitely come down”.
Finally, the public is implored to completely disregard the media reports credited to Governor Okorocha on the issue herein, as they only amounted to playing to the gallery and has no force of law whatsoever. Eze Ilomuanya remains resolute in his belief in rule of law and constitutionalism and will do anything lawful to protect the sanctity, dignity and integrity of the Traditional Institution.
Media Consultant to HRH Eze (Dr) C. I. Ilomuanya