Traditional rulers in Abia State have disowned a chieftaincy title conferred on the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Major General Muhammadu Buhari, by the traditional ruler of Eziama Aba autonomous community, Eze Isaac Ajuonu Ikonne.
The Eziama Aba monarch had on Friday honoured Buhari with the chieftaincy title of Ogbuagu I of Aba kingdom (meaning lion killer, signifying a mark of valour) when the APC presidential candidate and his entourage paid him a courtesy visit during his presidential campaign rally in Aba.
But the leadership of the Abia State Council of Traditional Rulers faulted Eze Ikonne for going beyond his domain to give a chieftaincy title encompassing the entirety of Aba, which comprises over 400 communities spread across two local government areas, namely Aba North and Aba South.
Addressing journalists at Umuahia on Sunday, the chairman of the state Council of Traditional Rulers, Eze Eberechi Dick, who is the traditional ruler of Mgboko in Obingwa local government area, chided Ikonne, the Enyi I of Eziama for usurping the powers of other traditional rulers in Aba and acted as if he was the only traditional ruler in Aba.
“Eze Isaac Ajuonu Ikonne of Aba North has no powers to install Buhari as Ogbuagu I of Aba Kingdom,” he said.
He explained that since “Aba in stricter sense is made up of two local governments, namely Aba North and Aba South while as a zone, Aba is made up of nine local government areas with over 400 communities” Eze Ikonne has no power to act on behalf of the entire royal fathers whose domains are located within Aba.
“Ikonne is therefore incompetent to give somebody title on behalf of Aba. Abia traditional rulers, hereby condemn Ikonne’s resort to politics,” the Abia royal fathers council chairman stated.
Dick further upbraided Ikonne delving into politics by using the occasion of the visit APC chieftains, including Buhari, Rochas Okorocha of Imo State and Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State, who is also the Director General of Buhari campaign organisation, to attack Abia State Government and the Federal Government of Nigeria
“We disown him and his statements,” the enraged monarch said, adding that “reports reaching the state traditional rulers indicate that Ikonne was influenced to do what he did (hence) we shall investigate it and take appropriate actions.”
The state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Chief Anthony Agbazuere, who was present at the press conference, accused Ikonne of turning himself into an opposition party by his consistently but incoherently misdirected attacks on Abia State government led by Governor Theodore Orji.
He said it would do Ikonne a lot of good by defining his role as a royal father and choose between being a traditional ruler and active opposition politician, adding that there was no way the Eziama royal father could operate effectively if he failed to retrace his steps.