The Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe, has expressed unhappiness about the controversy trailing the conferment of chieftaincy title on the senator representing Anambra South senatorial zone, Senator Ifeanyi Ubah.
Anambra State Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Hon Tony Collins Nwabunwanne, acting on the order of Governor Chukwuma Soludo, had last week issued a letter suspending the traditional ruler of Neni Community, Igwe Damian Ezeani for conferring a title on Ubah.
Nwabunwanne in the letter alleged that some traditional rulers were conferring titles on unscrupulous personalities, while also describing Ubah as unknown.
This led to apologies by two other monarchs who also conferred titles on Ubah.
Achebe, who was apparently angered by the way Ezeani was suspended by the state government, in a letter to the commissioner, accused the Soludo government of not having regard for monarchs.
In the letter, which was also sent to DAILY POST, Achebe said: “Your reference to a second-term Right Honorable Distinguished Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as “one Senator Ifeanyi Ubah” is most disrespectful, offensive, and unbecoming of one holding a political office as Commissioner.
“It is noteworthy that a person can only qualify to contest elections after scaling through the highest level of security checks at the federal level. Furthermore, Distinguished Senator Ubah holds a chieftaincy title of his hometown, Nnewi, conferred on him by his monarch and Grand Patron of the Anambra State Traditional Institution, His Majesty, lgwe Kenneth O. Orizu.
“He is also a well-known business investor in Anambra State and a generous philanthropist. Thus, assuming that lgwe Neni did not strictly comply with 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 fen” 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 Neni or Distinguished Senator Ubah which are being stealthily ventilated in this circumstance.”
He blamed the commissioner for mishandling the matter involving the conferment of chieftaincy title on Ubah, just as he accused the Soludo government of having poor regard for traditional rulers in the state.
“I would like to state very clearly that your handling of this matter of conferment of honorary chieftaincy titles is the apogee of the progressive dehumanization and dismantling of the traditional institution of Anambra State by the present administration.
“The institution comprises some of the finest sons of Anambra State who achieved sterling academic heights and professional/vocational attainments. At the behest of their communities, they took up the role of traditional rulers as shining examples for selflessly giving back to their communities in particular, and society at large.
“They are the custodians of the culture and traditions of their people and lead on peace building, security, development issues, etc. Their livelihood 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,” he stated.
Achebe added that the traditional institution was mindful of “the awesomeness of executive power and authority in our democratic dispensation”, but prayed that such power and authority should be exercised with due sensitivity and humaneness over those governed.