Raymond Ozoji, Awka
Former Executive Chairman of Awka-South Local Government Area, Prince Azubuike Iloh, has said that the decision to suspend 12 traditional rulers by Governor Willie Obiano over their trip to Abuja with Prince Arthur Eze is not a well thought-out decision because he believes that the monarchs banished from their thrones are not the only ones guilty of the billionaire business man’s kola nut money.
Iloh who reacted to the current battle line drawn between the governor and some traditional rulers whose mission was to report the governor to President Muhammadu Buhari regarding issues bordering on bad governance and misappropriation of local government funds, alleged that government officials serving in the present administration equally visited the oil magnate and collected his kola nut money.
The former council chairman who spoke with NewsProbe in Awka at the weekend, said the video of the traditional rulers circulating on the social media where they were allegedly caught on camera sharing the said money, was nothing but a cheap blackmail intended to deride as well as lampoon the personalities of the Royal Fathers.
He said there was nothing wrong in the traditional rulers going to wherever they wanted because it was their fundamental rights as citizens of the country and they couldn’t have taken permission from the governor to go about their private affairs.
Iloh said, “The political scenario playing out in Anambra state is not too palatable. If it is because some traditional rulers decided to pay a visit to Mr. President and for whatever it is worth, that shouldn’t be an issue. Maybe the state government have their own reason for taking the action they have taken to suspend the traditional rulers.”
He opined that in exercising executive powers, one should do so with caution, stressing that even if it was proven that a traditional ruler should be suspended for one offence or the other, there was need for a second thought, adding that the bone of contention remained whether the state government followed the right procedures before giving their verdict for the suspension of the Royal Fathers.
According to him, “The traditional institution should be respected. I saw some video they are circulating on the internet, alleging that those traditional rulers were bribed. They were not sharing money because any one who has come to Arthur Eze knows that he offers money as Kola nut; including some highly placed government officials of this state who have gone there and enjoyed the largese of this man called Arthur Eze.
“So if such highly placed government officials have gone there and money was offered them in lieu of Kola nut and they accepted, what is wrong with traditional rulers taking the same largese from Engr. Arthur Eze. The government decision to suspend the traditional rulers is draconian and not well thought-out.
“So if other traditional rulers can jump into conclusion without hearing from their colleagues, then I think the leadership of the state traditional rulers council should be readdressed.”
Iloh equally maintained that it was the right of the traditional rulers to tell the governor that he was not doing well, no matter how the message was communicated. He said rather than aggravate the situation by suspending the monarchs, he would have set up a committee to look into the matter and give them fair-hearing.
The ex-local government chairman who is also the current chairman of former elected council chairmen in Anambra state, explained that the insinuations that the suspended monarchs went to Abuja to assassinate the character of the governor as well as cast aspersions on his office, were arrant falsehood and that if any of such happened, the traditional rulers should have been invited for them to clarify issues. He therefore emphasized that fair-hearing was lacking in the actions of the state government.