The Igwe of Nnewi, His Royal Highness, Kenneth O. Orizu 111, has advocated for the return of the payment of five percent of allocations to the local government areas to traditional rulers to make them more independent and apolitical.
He spoke in Nnewi, Anambra State during the 2019 celebration of the 56th Ofala festival and his 94th year birthday.
The annual Ofala festival brings to an end the activities of the year. It is also a period when people are free to come and celebrate with their Igwe.
He said: “During the Sani Abacha era, five percent of the local government allocation was earmarked for traditional institutions.
“This is no longer done today, especially in the South East. In the North, South West and even in the Midwest, they still pay the five per cent of the local government allocations to the traditional institutions. Down here, that is not the case.” He also stated that traditional rulers were very useful in ensuring security saying that it is much easier to reach them than chairmen of local government.
“A traditional ruler, through the subs, that is, chairmen of families, chairmen of villages, can reach out to the people faster and better and they respect him more than the local government chairman.
“So, the sooner traditional institutions are given the recognition they deserve, the better for everybody”, he added.
The revered royal father maintained that “So, I believe government needs to do more to lift the traditional institutions, considering their roles in the system. When there is crisis in the town, the institution is beckoned on to quell the crisis. There are things traditional rulers can do that even the chairmen of the local government areas cannot do.
Also at the event, the member representing Nnewi North, Nnewi South, Ekwusigo Federal Constituency Hon. Chris Azubuogu called on the government to the tourism potentials of the Nnewi Ofala Festival and other cultural events in the state to create jobs and provide the much needed revenue.
He said: “We should pursue new strategy of tourism development that will make Anambra State a destination for tourists across the nation and beyond, we have the tourism potentials but need new strategy to attract external tourists and investors to Nnewi and the state in general.
“There should be an integrated tourism development policy for our state that will attract tourists into Anambra State during the yuletide and keep them busy, we have to structure a tourism policy that will tell the world why they should spend their holidays in Ananmbra State.
The occasion took off with a thanksgiving service moderated by the Bishop of Nnewi Anglican Diocese, Rt Revd Ndubuishi Obi.
In his sermon, a fiery priest, Rev Canon Tochukwu Egwuatu of St Philips Anglican Church Okofia who took his text from 2 Kings 4:7 urged all and sundry to embrace Christ.
He said the highly revered Nnewi monarch is known for his wonderful leadership style which according to him is hinged on truthfulness, honesty and transparency.
Also speaking in the same vein, the bishop of Anglican Diocese of Nnewi, Rt Revd Obi said Nnewi town is reputed for peace and stability unlike many other communities in the state.
“Nnewi is peculiar because it can boast of many billionaires yet it still enjoying absolute peace and tranquility unlike many communities that have very few affluent individuals but are now at war.
“For me, I attribute the celebrated peace in Nnewi to the leadership dexterity of Igwe Orizu 111 whose simplicity is unprecedented.” Obi noted.
The prelate used the occasion to pray for the monarch and the community.