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Governor Fubara Sacks Traditional Rulers Council Chairman Over Recognition Dispute

Siminialayi Fubara


Governor Fubara Sacks Traditional Rulers Council Chairman Over Recognition Dispute

If you want peace in the community, we must work with the traditional rulers.

Portharcourt, Rivers State- Governor Siminalayi Fubara of Rivers State has relieved Eze Ohna Sergeant Chidi Awuse, the Chairman of the Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers, of his duties.

The Paramount Ruler of Emohua Kingdom was sacked due to his refusal to include photographs of the governor and his deputy in the council’s 2024 calendar.

Meanwhile, the governor appointed Eze Chike Worlu Wodo, the Paramount Ruler of Apara Kingdom to lead the council.

Fubara accused Eze Ohna Sergeant Chidi Awuse of disloyalty, claiming that Awuse, who was appointed by FCT Minister and Fubara’s political adversary, Nyesom Wike, is loyal to Wike instead of him.

According to the governor,  the council experienced a period of inactivity and ineffective leadership under the previous chairman, Eze Awuse in a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Nelson Chukwudi.

He noted that with the announcement, Eze Chike Worlu Wodo is now tasked with leading the council and fulfilling its responsibilities.

On Friday, Governor Fubara convened a special meeting with members of the Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers at the Banquet Hall of Government House in Port Harcourt, where he made the announcement appointing Eze Chike Worlu Wodo as the new Chairman of the council.

The Governor announced the appointment of Eze Chike Worlu Wodo as the new Chairman of the Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers, replacing Eze Ohna Sergeant Chidi Awuse.

Eze Awuse’s tenure, which lasted for one year, was marked by his inability to effectively lead the council and foster harmonious relationships among its members and with the State Government, leading to his removal.

The Governor criticised the tenure of Eze Ohna Sergeant Chidi Awuse, highlighting that under his leadership, the Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers failed to include the photographs of the Governor and Deputy Governor in the 2024 calendar, despite including other government officials.

The Governor viewed the omission as a deliberate slight and an insult to the State Government, hence the need for new leadership in the council.

He noted that such a posture, among others, clearly demonstrated that the council under that kind of leadership had not, and would never live up to expectations.

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He said, “I want the council to live up to its responsibility. From my observation, the council is moribund. So, I can feel that the council, for a while now, has been very inactive. Inactive because, maybe, the chairman has decided not to be responsible as a chairman. I think that is the best way to describe it.

“I am not talking about other things that have been happening. But I feel there are responsibilities of the chairman, and so far, I have not felt it and you can also attest to that, that you are not seeing that leadership that you expect.

“I would like to draw your attention to a special insult that was meted to this government. The council produced a calendar for the year of our Lord 2024, and the Governor’s picture, and the Deputy Governor’s picture are not in the calendar.

“I want to ask you: does it show any sign that that leadership is working with this government? I hope you have a copy of it? Does it show that your chairman is working with this government?

“So, I have decided today, we have to move forward. By the special grace of God, the administrative life-span of the chairman is one year, which is renewable. So, at this particular time, I have to say that with the power vested on me, I announce that the tenure of Chief Sergeant Awuse has been terminated.”

Governor Fubara said at such a critical time of his administration, when peace is cardinal with traditional rulers, who are closer to the people, not properly coordinated, it will be difficult to achieve the required harmony and coexistence among the people.

The Governor pointed out that there was a need to have a more competent and diligent traditional ruler with the presence of mind, and ability to carry everybody along, stressing that Eze Chike Worlu Wodo most appropriately fits into that cap, with a fatherly personality, mature character, integrity and pedigree.

Governor Fubara clarified that Eze Apara Kingdom can also access every traditional ruler, elicit their cooperation and be able to provide the needed direction that the council dearly needed.

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“So, going forward, there is a need to have a leadership that will accommodate everybody and move this council forward.

“Let me, before saying other things, announce here that the new chairman from this particular moment will be Eze Chike Worlu Wodo, Eze Ohna Apara, Paramount Ruler of Apara Kingdom. He will be the chairman, Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers, and I strongly believe that he is going to do better and accommodate everyone.”

Governor Fubara said: “Traditional Rulers are the closest to our locals. If you want peace in the community, we must work with the traditional rulers. And our government is a government that pays serious priority to peace. So, I want everyone of you to ensure that we maintain peace in our localities.

“Let me request from our new chairman that: please, as we leave here, there is every need for you to call for a meeting immediately and commence the process of uniting the council.”

Governor Fubara recalled how a former governor in the State had sternly warned a traditional ruler in Ahoada East Local Government Area during a public event but added that he would not take that route.

Instead, the Governor said that his approach would be, as a respecter of elders, rather appeal to all traditional rulers to ensure cooperation with the State Government.

Governor Fubara said, it is such cooperation that will ensure the peace in your domains, notwithstanding your political inclinations, and will foster a stronger and united Rivers State.

He said, “I am not bothered or interested in your political affiliations, but when it comes to issues of the council that should bring you together, your decision should and must flow in the direction of the government.

“If you are doing anything outside, that is your own, but you cannot, I repeat that when it comes to the issues of the council, the government has given you recognition to belong, you cannot go against the government, it’s very wrong.

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“You can be in whatever it is, but when it comes to our own interest as a State and Government, you must work with our interest. I remember when we went to Ahoada-East, in Ekpeye land to perform an activity, a former Governor openly threatened one of you, and warned that if you try it, I will do this, I will do that.

“But I am not going to warn any of you because you are our fathers. I will appeal to you to please give us all the necessary support and cooperation so that we can have a United State that all of us will be proud of.

“Let me appeal to everyone of us, today is an opportunity that God has provided to Eze Chike Worlu Wodo. Tomorrow, it can be any other person’s. You need to give him respect. You need to give him the support to succeed; so that when it comes to your turn, that same measure will be given to you.”

Governor Fubara assured of addressing the issues of making available official vehicles to the traditional rulers, and other allowances due them soonest.

The Governor also urged the new chairman to commence the process of updating the record of all First Class, Second Class and Third Class traditional rulers in the State, and make it available to his office next Tuesday.

In his acceptance speech, the new Chairman of the Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers, Eze Chike Worlu Wodo, the Eze Ohna Apara, Paramount Ruler of Apara Kingdom, said he was overwhelmed with joy for the opportunity to serve the State in such capability.

Eze Wodo pledged that he will foster unity, devote his time and energy to the assignment given to him, and work in synergy with every member of the council to ensure that there was peace within their various domains.

He also assured the readiness of the council to synergise with the State Government to maintain peace and harmony in the communities so as to fast track the development of the entire State.

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