Igwe MacAnthony Okonkwo, of Alor Community, Idemili South local government area of Anambra State,have openly apologized to governor Willie Obiano and the Traditional Rulers’ Council for violating certain rules guiding the operation of monarchs in the state.
But others insist that the governor has no right to meddle in their fundamental rights in any way as custodians of the people
Obiano, had on Friday, clamped suspension on 13 of the monarchs for visiting President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja .
Okonkwo of Alor, was among the 12 traditional rulers suspended for one year by the state government for travelling to Abuja reportedly with Prince Arthur Eze, an international oil magnate
The suspension was contained in a circular signed by the Commissioner for Local Government, Chieftaincy and Community Affairs, Greg Obi.
It said that the monarchs were suspended because they travelled outside the state without approval by the government.
But reacting at the weekend during a press conference in his palace, the Alor monarch admitted his wrong doing and tendered an “unreserved apology” to Obiano
He said, “It was a serious slip on my part not to have informed the government about the trip to Abuja before embarking on it. I therefore tender an unreserved apology”
Okonkwo denied the rumour that he was induced with money and gifts before agreeing to accompany Prince Eze to see President Buhari
He said that the money he was seen counting was meant for his driver and other aides for their upkeep and wondered how somebody of his status who had made money before becoming a king would be accused of taking bribe.
“How can they call it bribe? What kind of bribe is that? That is total fallacy? I was counting out money for my driver and other aides for fuel and their welfare.
“I have never taken any bribes in my life from anybody. But if I wish to do, you have to pack Ghana-Must-Go bags of dollars up to 10 or 20, if I receive them, then you will be talking about bribe.”
“Secondly, Ndi Igwe do not have constitutional right to remove the governor or do anything to him. We are not lawmakers who have such constitutional rights” the monarch said
Meanwhile, one of the traditional rulers involved in the Abuja, who spoke with The Nation on account of anonymity, said the governor had no right to suspend any of them
He asked, “why would I apologize for going on a business trip? It is ridiculous for any one to think that a first class monarch will tender apology
He maintained that their visit to the Presidential Villa, was to commend president Buhari for his infrastructural development of the South-East region in general and Anambra State in particular.
He listed the landmark projects embarked upon by Buhari in their region to include “the Second Niger Bridge, the Enugu-Onitsha Expressway, Enugu-Port Harcourt Expressway, among others.