Two traditional rulers who were suspended in Anambra State, Alex Anakpulu Edoziuno (Anamco) of Nkpunando community and Udoji Ikegbune (Okike) of Eziagulu Otu community both in Aguleri in Anambra East Local Government Area have been replaced by Igwe Johnson Onyeka Mbanefo as new ruler of Nkpunando and Igwe Lawrence Nwofia as the new ruler of Eziagulu Otu.
Both new rulers were coronated according to the customs and tradition of the land and in line with Chieftaincy Edits of the Anambra State Government gazetted by the state House of Assembly in 2007. Leaders of both communities said that though the dethroned rulers were suspended by Governor Willie Obiano for being part of the rulers that went to Abuja with billionaire businessman Prince Arthur Eze to see President Muhammadu Buhari, their dethronement was not connected with Governor Obiano vs Arthur Eze saga.
On the side of Nkpunando, the President-General of the town Rev Edwin Chukwuemeka, said the former Igwe Edozieuno was removed because his rein was troublesome in the community, as he never allowed peace a chance. Rev Chukwuemeka added that the igweship of Anamco had been a subject of litigation as he was not coronated according to the customs and tradition of Nkpunando Aguleri.
A prominent leader in Eziagulu Otu and current President of Anambra State Association of Town Unions (ASATU), Chief Alex Onukwuo, explained that the dethronement of Ikegbune at a time when there was issue between the governor and Arthur Eze was just a coincident, adding that his removal centred on allegation of gross misconduct, self centredness and security breaches in the town which altogether made the people uncomfortable with his rein.
The new rulers in separate comments assured that they would live up to the expectations of the people in championing the cause of peace, development and progress, adding they are grateful to the people for considering them worthy enough to lead them.
In a telephone conversation with the suspended ruler of Nkpunando community, Igwe Alex Anakpulu Edoziuno he said he remained the traditional ruler of the community who is observing a one year suspension. “Twelve of us took a trip to Abuja and on our return the governor suspended us for one year.
“If you are a teacher and you are suspended for a year, does that mean you are sacked from work? I have been Igwe for 17 years now. Those that I contested the position with years ago are the ones using the opportunity to do what they like. I am still the Igwe of the community. I am here, observing my one-year suspension. As far as I am concerned, the community only has and recognise one traditional ruler and that is me,” he said.