Obi of Onitsha, Anambra State Traditional Rulers Council Finally Lift Olive Branch, Meet with Gov Soludo

There was a convivial atmosphere of camaraderie between Anambra State Traditional Rulers and Governor Charles Soludo as the royal fathers finally lifted an olive branch after a hit rift enveloped their initial relationship.

This is as Governor Charles Chukwuma Soludo, CFR, met with the traditional rulers of Anambra State led by the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe CFR, on January 23, 2024.

According to a release signed by Anambra State Commissioner for Information, Sir Paul Nwosu, Governor Soludo convened the get-together as a part of the consultative meetings with stakeholders to review the progress of the state. The meeting was attended by some 94 traditional rulers.

Details below:
The chairman of the Anambra State Traditional Rulers Council, Igwe Alfred Achebe, Obi of Onitsha, in his opening remark passionately reaffirmed the unalloyed solidarity and support of the traditional rulers for the government of Governor Soludo and reassured that the royal fathers are as ever solidly ready to partner with the government in all its efforts to transform Anambra into a liveable and prosperous homeland.

Igwe Alfred Achebe stressed that the issues about the suspension of some traditional rulers and the controversies of the past days arising from the matter be put to rest. He requested that there were other issues that the traditional rulers would wish to bring to the government, adding that there is a desire to have another forum after the meeting to discuss issues such as the welfare of the royal fathers and other issues of mutual interest.

The Commissioner for Local Government, Chieftaincy, and Community Affairs, Hon. Tony-Collins Nwabunwanne reassured the traditional rulers that the government holds them in high esteem and will continue to work with them closely. He clarified some of the issues leading to the suspension of a traditional ruler and the query to two others. He assured the traditional rulers that it was all done in the spirit of ensuring law and order in the state.

The Commissioner pledged that the concerns of some of the traditional rulers over the composition of members of the Traditional Rulers Council and sundry issues are being looked into by the government.

Governor Soludo highlighted the purpose of the meeting which was to focus on the partnership of all stakeholders towards the execution of the Solution Agenda for 2024. Mr. Governor comprehensively informed the traditional rulers of the major milestones of his administration in the past 22 months and asked for their cooperation as stakeholders under the Public Private Community Partnership (PPCP), a strategy of his administration’s rapid development of Anambra State.

It was observed during the meeting that the body operating as the Anambra State Traditional Rulers Council as constituted was unknown to the law because the body was improperly constituted in violation of the provision of section 2 (F) of the Anambra State Traditional Rulers (Amendment) Law, 2020.

The section provides that the Council shall be composed of the following persons to be appointed by the Governor- (a) a Chairman; (b) two Deputy Chairmen; and (c) one member from each Local Government Area, provided that members appointed from a senatorial zone shall not exceed eleven.

Anambra State has three senatorial zones and 21 local governments. The provision of the law mandates that the Traditional Rulers Council shall be constituted with not more than 36 members but the record of the state however shows that the body currently acting as the Traditional Rulers Council is composed of 52 persons in utter violation of the law. The implication of this is that the body is not the Traditional Rulers Council known to law. Added to this, section 30 of the Traditional Rulers Law 2007 and 2020 as amended provides that each member shall be appointed to the council for a term of four years only, and shall be eligible for reappointment for another term of four years, and thereafter for no further term.

The State Government has however observed that most members of the said body as presently constituted have held their positions beyond the eight-year limit in violation of the law.

This way, the cumulative effect is that the present body cannot legally function as the Traditional Rulers Council as it is made up of persons who are legally disabled from being members of the Council. This body has unfortunately been functioning as the Traditional Rulers Council of Anambra State for several years.

To purge the state of this illegality, Governor Soludo made the following suggestions which were accepted by the traditional rulers: a) That all Traditional Rulers in the State shall become members of the Anambra Traditional Rulers Council other than a select few, and therefore remove the term limit. b) But that for this to function there will be a need for amendment of the relevant sections of the Anambra State Traditional Rulers Law. c) Consequently, it was agreed that a committee made up of 5 Traditional Rulers, plus officers of government to urgently meet to consider the amendment of the relevant sections and any other section of the Traditional Rulers law deemed pertinent for a review. d) As quickly as the law is amended there shall be a meeting of Traditional Rulers for the Governor to formally inaugurate the council so that it can function in strict compliance with the Law.

Governor Soludo was unflinchingly magnanimous in addressing some of the welfare issues of the traditional rulers. He announced that with the apologies of the affected traditional rulers, the government has accepted the apologies and has concomitantly reinstated the traditional ruler of Neni, and forgiven the traditional rulers of Ojoto and Aguluezechukwu.

Mr. Governor also clarified the legal status of the Igwe Nawfia as advised by his legal team.

Both the Obi of Onitsha and Igwe Ojoto passed votes of thanks on the government and requested regular meetings with Governor Soludo which Mr. Governor graciously accepted to hold at least twice a year.

The meeting ended on a convivial note of ennobling camaraderie with the royal fathers having photo sessions with Governor Soludo in solidarity.

Commissioner for Information
Anambra State


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