Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo state has appealed to the traditional rulers of Mbaise land, to help persuade Chief Emeka Ihedioh over his election petition.
The governor who is distressed by the weight of evidence in the petition filed by the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Imo state, urged the rulers to advocate that the case be dropped.
Okorocha also asked the Mbaise monarchs to persuade the head of the legal team of Ihedioha, Chief Mike Ahamba (SAN) to withdraw the petition in the interests of the state.
The evidently perturbed governor made this plea to the traditional rulers yesterday during a meeting with members of the state Council of Traditional Rulers in Owerri.
According to This Day, over 40 alleged traditional rulers that were suspended or facing trial from the government-sponsored council of traditional rulers were absent from the meeting.
Sources claimed that the governor’s appeal to the traditional rulers amounted to threats to the lives of Ihedioha, Ahamba and the traditional rulers.
They stressed that“the implication is that if at the end of the day, the petition is not withdrawn by the parties, the governor can go ahead to get his own ‘pound of flesh’ from the persons directly concerned.”
The sources added that it was observed that the governor singled out only traditional rulers from Mbaise to stand-up in the midst of their colleagues, and that was perceived as intimidation, threat and impunity.
It was said that the rulers rebuked the governor, advising that he desists from such punitive measures.
However, the governor has directed the 40 traditional rulers in the state who took him and the government to court to withdraw the suit without further delay.
He also required that they tender an apology, adding that such action amounted to insult and embarrassment to him and the government.
Okorocha said that “for the 40 traditional rulers to have gone to court against him and the government for no tenable, tangible and justifiable reason, it means they must have mistaken his patience, tolerance and respect for the people of the state as weakness.”
Reports suggest that the traditional rulers had gone to court on the grounds that the governor suspended them and even went to the media to claim that the court had restrained the governor from suspending them.
The governor inferred that the traditional rulers were out to deliberately dent him and his government, claiming that he never suspended the traditional rulers or sacked them.
He went on to say that he had not taken any action that suggested a plan to go against them, thereby questioning the rationale of their court action.
Okorocha explained that the state Council of Traditional Rulers led by Eze Samuel Ohiri does not have the right to suspend or remove any Eze from his position.
He added only he as the governor has that right, and he had never exercised any such right against the traditional rulers in question.
He pointed out that the leadership of the traditional rulers council only suspended four of their members from the council and that they did that of their own will, not on behalf of the governor.
The governor, who chaired the meeting, directed that whatever money was owed the traditional rulers in the state should be paid within a week.
He went on to dissolve the traditional rulers’ councils in the local governments, saying that their tenures had expired long before.
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