An Anambra State High Court sitting in Ogidi and presided over by Justice Pete Obiorah, has granted an interim injunction restraining the traditional ruler of Alor community in Idemili South Local Government Area of the state, Igwe Mac Okonkwo, from parading himself as the traditional ruler of the community.
Alor is the hometown of the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr Chris Ngige.
Ngige was against Okonkwo’s recognition as Alor monarch in 2014 when the state government issued him a chieftaincy certificate and staff of office.
The court order followed a counter-claim filed by the second defendant/counter-claimant, Chief Uzoma Igbonwa, through his legal counsel, Bona Oraekwe, challenging the recognition and certification of Okonkwo, the third plaintiff, as the traditional ruler of Alor (Ezedioramma III).
Okonkwo and two others, Frank Okoye and Ifenna Okafor, had in suit No HID/354/2019, through their legal counsel, S. C. Udemezue and F. I Obiekwu, dragged the Incorporated Trustees of Alor Peoples Assembly and Igbonwa to court, seeking a declaration that the APA registered under Part C of Companies and Allied Matters Act. of 1990 is not a town union and as such cannot perform the functions and duties of Alor Peoples Convention which is the authentic town union government for Alor people.
The plaintiffs also sought a declaration of the court that the purported change of name of the APC to APA at the Corporate Affairs Commission by the defendants is null and void, adding that the court should restrain the APA from acting as APC and from holding parallel meetings of Alor Annual General Assembly comprising all adult males and females of Alor extraction.
The plaintiffs further prayed the court to restrain the APA from conducting any form of election for the purpose of selecting a new traditional ruler in place of the third plaintiff, Okonkwo, who had already been recognised and certified by the state government as the Ezediohamma III of Alor since 2015.
But in a twist, Justice Obiorah, while delivering the judgment, ordered Okonkwo to forthwith desist from occupying or using the Palace of Obi Eze Agbudugbu (the original ancestral abode of Alor people).
Justice Obiorah, who is also the administrative judge of Idemili Judicial Division, also granted an order directing the second defendant/counter-claimant Igbonwa as the President-General of APC elected in compliance with the judgment in Suit No A/14/2015, delivered on February 5, 2019 in conjunction with the Regency Council of Alor, to commence the process of filling the vacant stool of Igwe of Alor in accordance with the Constitution of APC 2011.
The judgement read in part, “I grant an order that the certificate of recognition issued to Okonkwo by the state government on June 23, 2014 is in breach of the Constitution of Alor Peoples Convention then in force and Anambra State Traditional Rulers Law 2007.
“I declare that the purported selection and presentation of Okonkwo as a traditional ruler of Alor town by the caretaker committee of the APC by a contrived process held between April 7 and May 17, 2014 is null and void for the breach of extant provisions of the Constitution of APC 2011 which replaced the Constitution of APC 1992 and Traditional Rulers Law of Anambra State, 2007 or any other law relating to traditional rulers.
“I declare that Okonkwo, being a person who is not an Ozo titled person as at March 9, 2014, is ab initio not qualified, not a fit and proper person to be nominated, selected, enthroned or recognised as the Igwe of Alor.”