As the race for the chairmanship of Imo State Council of Traditional Rulers hots up, an aspirant for the seat, HRM Eze Oliver Ohanweh of Ihim Autonomous community in Isiala Mbano LGA, has said he will transform the traditional institution in the Imo State if he is elected.
Speaking to newsmen in Owerri, the Monarch said he is the best among the lot to take over from the incumbent, Eze Sam Ohiri. He admitted that this is the first time traditional rulers in Imo State are holding elections, pointing out that he is in good stead to win the election judging from the fact that Okigwe zone where he comes from has not produced Chairman of the Council.
Eze Ohanweh said right from the era of old Imo State, the chairmanship of the traditional rulers had unconsciously rotated recalling that the era of Late Eze Akanu Ibiam from Afikpo, to Eze Onu Egwuwuoke (Owerri zone) to Eze Ilomuanya from Orlu zone to Eze Ohiri in Owerri (Owerri Zone)
He said by implication, it is now the turn of Okigwe zone where he comes from to take over the mantle of leadership, stressing that it is unfortunate that Eze Ohiri and Eze Chidume Okoro who are all from Owerri zone are vying for the same position, despite the fact that Eze Ohiri had stayed in office as Chairman of the Council for six years when the law stipulates tenure of five years for the seat.
Eze Ohanweh said though the incumbent Chairman, Eze Ohiri has done well, he will perform better as well if given the mandate to lead.
“By equity, it is the turn of Okigwe zone to produce the chairman. I call on traditional rulers not to ruin the sanctity of the traditional institution. We must be sincere and transparent” he said
He kicked against sit tight syndrome, saying since traditional rulers are not politicians, it is important they must not forsake ancient landmark practices.
The Monarch called on delegates to the election particularly those from Orlu zone who have the highest number of delegates to strongly back his aspiration as it provides ample opportunity for Orlu zone to elect the next council chairman after Okigwe zone.
He kicked against what he described as sit tight syndrome, stating that delegates to the election should resist any attempt by anyone to transmute himself to a “Robert Mugabe” of the council.
Eze Ohanweh commended some of the innovations of Governor Rochas Okorocha to the traditional institution, saying he will oppose the rampant conferment of chieftaincy titles by some traditional rulers on questionable individuals.
“ I will use my position as Chairman of the Council of Traditional Rulers to ensure that our remunerations are no longer deducted. I will also stop rampant chieftaincy titles that are bestowed on individuals. Only those with impeccable records will be given such titles. It is important that the respect of traditional rulers are also restored” he said