The installation of the new traditional ruler of Oraukwu in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State, Igwe Emeka Onuorah, has has sparked controversy.
Onuorah said he was outside the country when he was persuaded to come and become the traditional ruler of his area after being assured that there was no contestant to the throne.
He was installed on Thursday by the State Governor, Willie Obiano.
Speaking with Southern City News in his Oraukwu palace on Friday, Igwe Onuorah said he had great plans for the development of the community.
He urged his detractors to close ranks and work with him in the interest of the community.
Onuorah said, “I’m not that type of monarch who would stay in the palace only to break kolanuts and pour libations. I’m a lawyer and well-traveled. I was residing abroad when I was called by some people to come and take this stool.
“I was told there won’t be any contest for it, and I agreed to serve. I was surprised to see contestants to the throne when I returned. I have great plans for this community.
“Now that we’ve come this far, I implore everybody to forget all that had transpired; let’s work together in the interest of our community and our children, even those yet unborn.”
But on Sunday, some members of the community insisted that “the people of Oraukwu have resolved not to recognise Dr. Emeka Onuorah as their monarch despite being issued with a certificate of recognition by the state Governor, Willie Obiano.
They insisted that Chief Pius Ezedigbo Okoye, who was elected last December with 535 votes by the community against Vincent Okechukwu and Onuorah, who got 20 and 15 votes respectively in line with the provisions of their constitution, remained their king.
They said the resolution was reached on Sunday at a meeting attended by the members of the community’s 10th Congress and the leadership of their eight villages.
According to the Acting President-General of the community, Sir Harold Mbanisi, the wishes of the people expressed through the ballot papers remained supreme and cannot be thwarted by the government.
Their resolution read in part, “We resolved that Emeka Onuorah given the certificate by the governor is not and can never be recognized by us. Proper election was conducted and Emeka Onuorah came a distant last.
“That the person the entire community elected to be the Igwe of Oraukwu is Chief Pius Ezedigboo Okoye and we are solidly behind him. We also resolved that any order, rules or directives coming from Emeka Onuorah will not be obeyed by Oraukwu people and we are not going to abide by his rulership.
“And that we are not going to be violent, but will seek legal redress in a court of competent jurisdiction.”
The community had on Wednesday halted activities at Government House, Awka, in a protest following a suspicion that Onuorah would be installed by government.
The leader of the community, Chief Harold Mbanusi, said the community had held an election for the purpose of electing a monarch for the community, where Onuorah came a distant third.
But the new king said he had set up a reconciliation committee that would swing into action to harmonise every interest group with a view to bringing lasting peace to the community.
Onuora dispelled allegation that there was an election conducted by the community for the purpose of enthroning a monarch.
He said he was nominated by the community’s kingmakers in line with the laid-down rules and regulations.
The State Governor, Willie Obiano, had on Thursday installed Onuorah as the traditional ruler of the town, amidst growing opposition to his candidature.
The governor issued him with a certificate of recognition in a brief ceremony at the Governor’s Lodge, Amawbia, near Awka, the state capital.
But the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Prof. Joe Asike, had assured the protesters that the governor would look into their matter, stressing that no injustice would be condoned by the Obiano government.