By Nwanosike Onu, Awka
The battle of supremacy between Anambra Governor Willie Obiano and traditional rulers has heightened tension in the State.
Obiano suspended 12 more traditional rulers for visiting President Muhammadu Buhari last week.
He had suspended monarch of Ukwulu, Igwe Peter Uyanwa, over alleged petitions from his community.
He also withdrew the monarch’s certificate of recognition.
The one-year suspension clamped on the monarchs, according to a statement, was for embarking on a visit to President Muhammadu Buhari without consultation or approval from the Government.
The suspension was announced through a circular titled “Suspension of Twelve (12) Traditional Rulers in Anambra State,” dated August 11, 2020 by Commissioner for Local Government, Chieftaincy and Community Affairs, Mr. Greg Obi.
The affected monarchs are: Igwe Alex Edozieuno of Mkpunando; Igwe Mark Anthony Okonkwo of Alor; Igwe Chukuwma Bob Vincent Orji of Ezinifite; Igwe Engr G.B.C Mbakwe of Abacha; Igwe Chijioke Nwankwo of Nawfia and Igwe Nkeli Nelly of Igbariam.
Others were: Igwe Anthony Onyekwere of Owelle; Igwe A. N Onwuneme of Ikenga; Igwe Simon Ikechukwu Chidubem of Umumbo; Igwe S. O Uche of Ezira; Igwe Dr Emeka Ilouno of Ifitedunu and Igwe Peter Ikegbunem Udoji of Eziagulu Otu.
The suspension letter was copied to Obi of Onitsha, Alfred Achebe as chairman of the Council in Anambra; Commissioner of Police and the State Director, Directorate of security services DSS.
Obiano warned they should stop parading themselves as traditional rulers and desist from discharging their functions in their communities.
The circular also revoked their membership of Anambra State Traditional Rulers Council and cancelled any appointment they may be holding in government committees until the suspension is lifted.
The government further said the suspension may be lifted at the end of one year, renewed or upgraded in the intervening period depending on government’s review of the conduct of the errant royal fathers.
However, three of the 12 suspended traditional rulers described the government’s action as unfortunate.
The monarchs, who pleaded anonymity for security reasons, maintained Obiano was ill-advised on the matter.
The told The Nation Obiano had no powers in any extant law to suspend for just trying to see President Muhammadu Buhari.
According to them: “It’s unfortunate and laughable that our dear Governor had to carry out this despotic action in a democratic dispensation.
“Why should a Governor of a state punish his subjects, especially, traditional rulers, for trying to see their President? This is laughable
“The government said we didn’t get clearance from it before travelling outside the state.
“Don’t we have our fundamental rights of movement and association anymore? Are we in a state of emergency or war?
“We pray Obiano will not attract some kind of wrath upon himself because of his desperation to perpetuate the infamous government of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in the state.
“Though we are traditional rulers in our communities, but we also have right to support any political party or candidate of our choices.”
The suspension of the monarchs, The Nation gathered, may not be unconnected with their support for an oil magnate in the state.