The Anambra State Government has suspended HRH Igwe Damian O. Ezeani, the traditional ruler of Neni Town, for allegedly breaching the official Code of Conduct that governs conventional rulers in the state.
The decision was announed by the State Commissioner for Local Government, Chieftaincy, and Community Affairs, Mr. Tonycollins Nwabunwanne.
The traditional ruler is reported to have conferred a chieftaincy title upon Senator Ifeanyi Ubah without adhering to the established protocol, which mandates obtaining permission from the traditional ruler of the recipient’s community and clearance from the ministry.
The commissioner noted that the Code of Conduct for Traditional Rulers in Anambra, issued and upheld by the traditional rulers themselves, explicitly states that no ruler is to confer chieftaincy titles on individuals from outside their jurisdiction without the necessary permissions.
”This regulation aims to prevent the misuse of such titles and to ensure the dignity of the traditional institutions is maintained,” he added.
The commissioner further stated that it has been observed that a minority of traditional rulers have engaged in the practice of trading chieftaincy titles for monetary gains, an act that has brought embarrassment and disrepute to the esteemed traditional institution.
However, the move has been criticised by some people in the state, with many saying the decision has a political undertone.
Senator Ubah recently joined the All Progressives Congress in preparation to contest the governorship election and challenged Governor Chukwuma Soludo for the position.
One of the critics wrote on Nairaland: ”So a Senator of the Federal Republic is not qualified (in the eyes of the clueless Soludo Government), to receive the chieftaincy title that was also handed to several other illustrious Anambrarians as part of the 20th Ofalla Festival of HRH Igwe Damian Onwuamaeze Ezeani (Igwe Ugonabo Neni) on the 29th of December, 2023. An event in which the Senator was unavoidably absent and visited the Palace today to receive his.
”Note that the state government does not decide the occupant of any Igweship stool for any community but rather is obligated to hand a letter of recognition based on the community’s unanimous decision, just as it also does not have powers to decide who the community wishes to confer chieftaincy title on.
”Attempting to usurp such powers. is akin to asking a father to get permission from the Government before naming his child.
”That letter authored by the over-zealous young man Tony Collins Nwabunwanne is a direct insult to the entire Neni Community.
”These recent acts of desperation, pettiness and cluelessness only remind one of some of the similar acts by some overzealous Government officials in the then-Jonathan administration when it had dawned on many then that a regime change was in the offing.
”This Governor is throwing panic punches so early in the day on a man of grace who has never been known to shy away from any attack, no matter the guise or form that it takes.
”The Governor of Anambra State must be called to order, and the unjust suspension of the Igwe of Neni must be immediately nullified.
”We cannot allow the erosion of our traditional institutions, the subversion of justice, and the perpetuation of political vendetta to continue unchecked.”