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BREAKING: Okonkwo knocks Soludo over speculated change of Anambra State Traditional Rulers’ Council Law

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Dr. Ifeanyichuku Okonkwo, a renowned Rights Activist and former Governorship candidate in Anambra State has brushed aside the pronouncement of Governor Charles Chukwuma Soludo on Anambra State Traditional Rulers (Amendment) Law, 2020.

The pronouncement under contention was made by the governor on 23rd day of January, 2023 at his meeting with Traditional Rulers of Anambra State.

Okonkwo maintained that the governor usurped the powers of the High Court of Anambra State, and breached Section 6(2) of the Constitution, when he declared thus: “It was observed that the body operating as the Anambra State Traditional Rulers Council as constituted was unknown to the law as the State Government has observed that the body was improperly constituted in violation of the provision of section 2 (F) of the

Anambra State Traditional Rulers (Amendment) Law, 2020.”

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The Governor, in specific terms said that the section provides that the Council shall be composed of persons to be appointed by the Governor: a Chairman; two Deputy Chairmen; and one member from each Local Government Area provided that members appointed from a senatorial zone shall not exceed eleven. “There are three senatorial zones and twenty-one local governments in Anambra State. The above provision of the law therefore mandates that the Traditional Rulers Council shall be constituted with not more than 36 members.

“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 which is that the body is not the Traditional Rulers Council known to law. To that extent, that body as presently constituted cannot make any valid decisions or unction legally; and could not have done so in the light of the provisions of the law.

“Furthermore, 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 (4) years only and shall be eligible for reappointment for another term of four years and for no further term.

“However, the State Government has observed that most members of the said body as presently constituted have held their positions beyond the eight years limit in violation of the law.

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“The cumulative effect of the above 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. Unfortunately, this body has been functioning as the Traditional Rulers Council of Anambra State for several years.”

The governor, according to Okonkwo, mandated that in order to purge the State of this illegality, the governor made the following suggestions which were accepted by the traditional rulers:” 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; But that for this to function there will be a need for amendment of the relevant sections of the Anambra State

“Traditional Rulers Law; 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.; 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.”

According to Dr. Ifeanyichukwu Okonkwo (Onwa Nnobi), the stand of the state government on the matter is “in utter violation of the law, the implication of which is that the body is not the Traditional Rulers Council known to law. To that extent, Okonkwo asserted that the body as presently constituted cannot make any valid decisions or function legally; and could not have done so in the light of the provisions of the law”.

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Quoting Section 6(2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended) “The judicial powers of a State shall be vested in the Courts to which this section relates, being Courts established, subject as provided by this Constitution, for a State.”

However, Dr. Ifeanyichukwu Okonkwo faulted the Governor on his position, saying that it is not his duty but that of the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice to approach the Court and apply for appropriate setting aside of the purported illegality. “The Governor has no such powers to usurp the Court powers; and shall immediately apologize to the Traditional Rulers.

Dr. Okonkwo therefore cautioned the purported Committee of five

Traditional Rulers set up by the Governor of Anambra State, not to sit, else legal action will be taken against them.

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