The last may not have been heard of the crisis rocking the traditional leadership of Alor in Idemili South Council Area of the state, as MacAnthony Okonkwo has said he has appealed a recent judgement that dethroned him as the traditional ruler of the town.
The judgement delivered by Justice Peter Obiorah at the State High Court, Ogidi faulted the process that brought Okonkwo to the traditional stool, citing violations of the town’s constitution and the Anambra Traditional Rulers’ Law 2007, as reasons.
The judgement was given in a suit between Frank Nwabufo Okoye, Ifenna Okafor and MacAthony Okonkwo as first, second and third plaintiffs respectively and Incorporated Trustees of Alor People’s Assembly and Chief Uzoma Igbonwa as first and second defendants respectively.
The judge had accused the former state administration that enthroned Okonkwo as appearing to be serving an interest, by the manner it hurried to present Certificate of Recognition to the dethroned monarch.
According to the judge; “The 3rd plaintiff (Okonkwo) and the government were in a hurry to serve an interest and as such, trampled on the Traditional Rulers’ Law and the constitution of the Alor People’s Convention.
“This appears so because in evidence tendered in Exhibit P9, the regent of the town had warned them not to start the process of selecting the Igwe, but they discarded the wise counsel to do their own bidding.
“The 3rd plaintiff was recognized without meeting the requirements of making someone Igwe.
“Even the act of capping and giving of Ofo, were done by persons without the requisite authority to do so and who have apologized and said that what they did was wrong.
“Therefore, the 3rd plaintiff was not duly selected and as such, has no legitimate claim to the office.”
Justice Obiorah noted that the caretaker committee appointed by government after dissolving the executive committee of Alor People’s Convention, had no power and authority to dabble into the affairs of who becomes the traditional ruler of the town.
He also observed that the Alor People’s Convention never at any point, changed her name to Alor People’s Assembly and therefore, the latter cannot perform the functions of selection, presentation, installation and collation, which the former is mandated by law to do.
The judge also declared that the 3rd plaintiff was not an Ozo title holder as at 9th of March, 2014 and as such, is not fit to be nominated, selected, enthroned and recognized as Igwe Alor.
“The certificate of recognition issued to Igwe MacAnthony Elibe by Anambra State Government on the 23rd of June, 2014, is in breach of the constitution of Alor People’s Convention and Anambra State Traditional Rulers Law 2007,” the judge declared while granting an order of perpetual injunction restraining Okonkwo from parading himself as Igwe Alor and performing functions of the office.
However in a response in a chat with TNC correspondent, Okonkwo expressed dissatisfaction with the judgement, saying it was delivered in error.
He insisted that he remains the traditional ruler of Alor until the conclusion of the appeal.
According to him, “the plaintiffs are dissatisfied with the judgment except the parts which declared that the Alor Peoples Assembly is not the town union government of the community.
“The judgement was issued in error and I call on all my subjects to remain calm, peaceful and resolute which Alor as a community is known for.”
Okonkwo explained that he was duly elected by the community and crowned traditional ruler by the relevant authorities and elders of Alor and described as unfounded, the submission that he was not an Ozo title-holder before the event which took place since 2015.
The traditional Ruler expressed the hope that the present administration in the state under Governor Chukwuma Soludo will come up with a lasting solution to the lingering different leadership issues in various communities across the state as he had shown in resolving them during the last meeting with Presidents General and Traditional Rulers.