Igga Community in Uzo-Uwani Local Area of Enugu State, has rejected their new traditional ruler, Mr. Herbert Ukuta, (Igwe Herbert Ukuta,) as their royal father because he was imposed on them against their wish.
As a result, the leadership of the community has asked Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to withdraw the staff of office issued to him, forthwith.
Their grouse is that his emergence as the traditional ruler did not follow the rotational principle of having Igwe in turns among the four villages that made up Igga – Akwulo, Ejulo, Asadu and Ogboche.
Whereas the late Igwe who died in 1995, hailed from Ogboche, Ukuta, who hails from Ogboche, would not be their king because their kingship is not hereditary.
Seventeen traditional heads, led by the Vice Chairman, Igga Town Union, Caretaker Committee, Mrs Victoria Okonkwo, who signed the protest letter, pointed out that the matter of their rejection of Ukuta as the traditional ruler is in court but the Commissioner for Chieftaincy Matters, went ahead and issued him with the instruments of authority as a government recognised traditional ruler in Enugu State.
The town union heads led by Mrs Okonkwo had this to say, “we, the officers and members of the Caretaker Committee of Igga Town Union, officers and members of Igga Progressive Union, IPU, and representatives of Igga Elders and the four villages of Igga Community, on behalf of ourselves and the good people of Igga Community, write and declare as follows:
“That we strongly object to the recent issuance of certificate of recognition and staff of office to Mr. Herbert Ukuta as the traditional ruler of Igga Community by the government of Enugu State and have written to appeal to His Excellency, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, to please reverse this mistaken recognition in the interest of rule of law and natural justice,” the protest letter reads in part.
According to the town union heads and elders, the Igga Igwe stool has been in contention since the demise in 1995 of the first and last holder of that office, HRH Igwe F. C. Ukuta.
They maintain that there has been avalanche of intrigues, manipulations and intimidations orchestrated by the Ukuta family as represented by Chief Maximus Ukuta, former Commissioner in old Anambra State, which reached a climax on December 9, 2012 when he purported to have crowned his nephew, Mr. Herbert Ukuta, as the traditional ruler of Igga Community.
The petitioners also accused Hon. John Kevin Ukuta, member representing Uzo-Uwani Constituency at the Enugu State House of Assembly as one of the brains behind the projecting of his cousin, Herbert Ukuta, to become their traditional ruler.
Citing the Constitution of Igga Community, the petitioners pointed out that the rotation of the traditional stool should be among the four villages that made up Igga starting from Asadu, Akwulo, Ogboche and end with Ejulo.
They also pointed that according to the rotation arrangement, it is now the turn of Asadu village to produce the traditional ruler for Igga Community but not Ogboche Village where Herbert Ukuta hails from.
They therefore appealed that the Enugu State Government, should, as a matter of urgency, withdraw whatever recognition and instrument of authority issued to Herbert Ukuta for peace to reign.
The angry community, in addition to asking for the withdrawal of recognition to the new Igwe, wants Messrs Raphael Amuche and Joseph Eneanya, who parade themselves as President-General and Secretary-General, respectively for forging documents of the Caretaker Committee of their town union and for conniving with Herbert Ukuta to become Igwe.
“We have used our good offices and goodwill to restrain our people from breaking out into violent protest in the face of this provocation and we will continue to do so. However, we appeal to government to correct this error in order that might may not become right, as the Ukuta family has always boasted, and as they believe they have demonstrated.
“We have written to present the true state of affairs to His Excellency, the Governor of Enugu State. It is our fervent hope that this anomaly would be righted soon enough in the interest of the rule of law, justice, peace and fair play, and security in our community,” the angry community heads write.