Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State has banned traditional rulers in the State from speaking English at functions and in conducting affairs at their palaces and directed that they must communicate in Igbo at functions and Conduct activities in their palaces in Igbo.
He said they could apply the services of interpreters if the need arises.
According to a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Sam Onwuemedo, Governor Okorocha gave the directive while handing over letters of recognition and staff of office to Nineteen (19) newly recognized traditional rulers in the State, adding that Igbo language must not be allowed to die as been predicted in some quarters.
The governor also told the traditional rulers in the State to be agents of peace, progress, and prosperity in their respective domain instead of being tools of disunity and destabilization, warning that any traditional ruler who could not show genuine leadership in his autonomous Community stands the risk of having his Certificate of Recognition and Staff of Office withdrawn.
His words “Today, history is made that light has come and darkness would not comprehend at all. The truth has surfaced and the right people have finally become the Custodian of the traditional right of their people. You are not permitted to speak English at functions. This will help keep our Culture and Igbo language alive”.
He continued “For many years now, most of you have been looking for a day like this. Some of you were victims of injustice and never believed that this could be possible and most of you have been waiting without knowing your fate. But today, it is a manifest of truth that your people have chosen you, and the government of Imo State has approved”.
He further stated “I took the bold step of reconciling people, took the step to ensure that truth came to be and voided the rancour that has existed in our various communities over ezeship title. This has equally affected the Community Government Council (CGC) negatively because every community requires an Eze to function effectively as the head of the Community Government Council. Today, that responsibility has fallen on you, I urge you not to fail as failure is not an option. I encourage you to help the government in developing the resources of our land as posterity will only remember you for your positive contributions in the development of your community and not in how much wealth you enmassed as an eze”.
He added “Remember that to whom much is given much is expected. This whole exercise you must understand is not an election or appointment to enable you distinguish between those who love you and those who hate you. Today, you are an Eze, and you must be the Eze for everyone both those against you and those who were for you. I advise you to take all of them along and embrace peace. Your first assignment should be to invite those who were against you to make peace in your land as no Eze can function effectively if there is no peace in your land”.
He continued “Today, you join several Ezes in the Communities of Imo State. You are now addressed as royal fathers and members of Imo State Traditional Council which its right is given to you until death, unless you act in such a manner that you are found wanting before the members of this society”.
He explained that “The essence of Ezeship is not in the title of being called HRM or HRH, it’s in what you have been able to do to change your society for good. You have to understand that you have enormous responsibilities, Ezeship is not an easy job, it attracts enmity and takes all your time”.
In his vote of thanks, Eze Lucky Ajoku of Ihiagwa Autonomous Community, described the governor as an apostle of good conscience and equity and promised that they will embrace peace and help the government attain the lofty ideals of the Community Government Councils in their various communities.
The list of traditional leaders given their Staff of Office and letters of recognition are:
- HRH D.E.C Onyebuagu – (Ibiasuegbe Autonomous (Oru West),
- HRH Ifeanyi Kenneth Aguneto – (Umueze/Abaza Ogwa (Mbaitolu),
- HRH Charles Anyakudo – (Ekwe (Isu LGA),
- HRH Ugo Ndubueze Donatus – (Umunokwu, Okwuato Aboh Mbaise),
- HRH Athanasius Ezekwe – (Enyiogugu),
- HRH James Nnamdi – (Ngurunweke Aboh Mbaise),
- HRH Francis Anukwu – (Avuvu Ancient Kingdom, Ikeduru),
- HRH J.C. Ebii – (Umunama-ala Ezinihitte),
- HRH Jude Alozie – (Onicha Nworie Ezinihitte),
- HRH Val Nwoke – (Ejemekwuru Oguta),
- HRH Boniface Uzoma – (Abba Nwangele),
- HRH Ukachukwu Nnanna – (Dioka Nzerem Mbano),
- HRH Pius Onyekwere – (Nnarambia Ahiazu Mbara),
- HRH Lucky Ajoku – (Ihiagwa Owerri West),
- HRH Christopher Amadi – (Okolochi Owerri West),
- HRH James Ezerioha – (Ihite Owerre, Orlu),
- HRH Basil Anyanwu – (Umuhu Ngor-Okpala),
- HRH Leonard Aguocha – (Umuohiagu Ngor-Okpala),
- HRH Eze Frankline A. Dabirinze – (Uzoagba).