Reinstated Chairman of Imo State Council of Traditional Rulers and chairman of the South East Council of Traditional Rulers, Eze Cletus Ilomuanya, on Friday resumed duty amidst tight security.
Ilomuanya, who has had a running legal battle with Governor Rochas Okorocha following his removal from office three years ago stormed the parliament of the State Council of Ndieze adjacent Imo Concorde Hotel, New Owerri in an ash colour Lexus sport utility vehicle (SUV) bearing the inscription “Obi of Obinugu”.
Accompanied by the leader of the Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), Chief Ralph Uwazuruike, a chieftain of the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), Chief Vitalis Ajumbe, a former Deputy Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Chief Chuma Nnaji, and others, Ilomuanya amidst cheers from friends and well-wishers inspected the office block and facilities within the complex before retiring to his office.
Imo Government had in a letter with reference number SG1/S.1166/X signed by Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Anthony Anwuka, announced the immediate withdrawal of the certificate of recognition and staff of office of Ilomuanya along with that of traditional ruler of LAGWA autonomous community in the Aboh Mbaise Local Government Area.
Citing Sections 11 and 14 of the Imo State Traditional Rulers Autonomous Communities Law No 6 of 2006 to justify its action, the state government explained that by this the monarchs in question ceased to be the recognised ruler of their respective autonomous communities and directed the secretaries of the community government councils to henceforth liaise with the state government on behalf of their respective communities pending the selection and presentation of an Eze in accordance with the custom and constitution of their autonomous communities.
However, Ilomuanya who addressed newsmen recalled the travail and agony which visited him while out of office. He said that his three years exit from office was like darkness that descended on the traditional institution of the state, but quickly declared that he bore no grudges against the state government that pushed him out of office.
The monarch explained that although he has a constitutional tenure of five years to serve as passed by the State House Assembly, he would have resigned midway if Okorocha had informed him that he would not work with him.
Insisting that the rule of law must be obeyed by all irrespective of position, Ilomuanya disclosed that he had not been paid since he left office on June 6, 2011, even as three of his vehicles are still in the custody of the state government.
He explained that he was compelled to seek redress in court to protect the traditional institution so that whoever succeeds him would serve out his constitutional tenure.
Adding his voice, Uwazuruike stressed the need for the preservation of the Igbo traditional institution and enjoined Ndigbo to always be their brothers’ keepers.
The MASSOB chief who claimed to have given Okorocha the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) governorship ticket in 2011 advised Ndigbo not to allow partisan politics to polarise them.