The Members of Ukwuani Social Improvement League
By James Jones
OBIARUKU/Nigeria: The recent suspension of the Traditional Ruler of Umukwata, HRH Friday Abaja, had been faulted by social improvement group that goes with the name of, Ukwuani Social Improvement League, (USIL), and called the action politically motivated.
The group in a press conference held in Obiaruku, Ukwuani Local Government Area, the chairman of USIL, Mr. Chidi Uwaboufu, called the action an insult on the dignity of the people of Ukwauni, as the government overtime had carried out actions meant to punish the people of the area.
They called on the government of Senator Ifeanyi Okowa to stop what they called insult on the people of Ukwuani.
“The attention of Ukwuani Social Improvement League (USIL) has been drawn to a publication on Vanguard newspaper dated, 3rd April, 2019, and posts on various social media platforms accredited to the Delta State Government in conjunction with the office of Directorates of State’s Chieftaincy Affairs to the effect that a six months suspension was handed to His Royal Majesty, King Friday Abaja, the Ukwata 1 of Umukwata Kingdom allegedly for “acts inimical to peace, order and good governance”.
“This is the greatest insult anyone can give to Ukwuani people as it is a deliberate attempt to ridicule and undermine our traditional institutions and also to bring the entire Ukwuani nation to public disrepute. We All May Not Subscribe To The Idea Of Enthroning Kings In Ukwuani Land Which Is Intrinsically Alien To The Culture Of Our Progenators but Let it be known, that an insult to one Ukwuani man is an insult to the entire Ukwuani nation especially when that man is so loved and revered by his people.”
“Our people deserve to be respected and governor Okowa should accord due respect to Ukwuani people and should desist from undue interference in the socio-political and cultural affairs of the people.”
“We have reasons to believe that the suspension of the King has a political undertone. The said suspension may have been occasioned by the King’s political anonymity throughout the electioneering period. This perhaps may be the reason for this charade orchestrated by the governor.”
“This is not the first time that the actions of the Delta State government under Okowa would constitute a direct affront against our traditional institutions. Not too long ago, a number of our chiefs and elders were detained arbitrarily at Ogwashi Ukwu prison by governor Okowa for over a month allegedly for issues relating to communal conflicts. And unfortunately, most of our political representatives continue to remain silent over these issues because of partisanship and this is why these insults keep reoccurring.”
“Ukwuani people are naturally peaceful but our peaceful disposition should not be taken for granted by governor Okowa. We wish to make it abundantly clear to the governor that such insults will no longer be tolerated by our people because we cannot recall when such demeaning action have been meted out against other monarchs in Delta State.”
Given the foregoing, we have therefore resolved as follows that:
“The governor, as a matter of urgency must withdraw the suspension and tender an unreserved apology to Ukwuani people for his misguided decision to suspend the Ukwata 1 of Umukwata kingdom which we consider to be a slap on our faces.”
“The governor must also inform the general public stating clearly and unequivocally, the offence committed by His royal Majesty to warrant the kind of treatment meted out to him, a man who singlehandedly has transformed the Umukwata kingdom both in terms of infrastructure and human capital development, a kingdom that was hitherto abandoned by the state government over the years. And indeed, a man who has contributed immensely to the development of the economic landscape of the state.
“The Directorates of State’s Chieftaincy Affairs must remain objective and maintain political neutrality in all its dealings rather than allowing itself to be used as an instrument for self gratification by desperate politicians.”