Ubah Squares Up to Soludo in Anambra

Senator Ifeanyi Ubah

Senator Ifeanyi Ubah

In Anambra, politics is already in the air, and as the state approaches it’s election year, political actors have started playing their game, reports David-Chyddy Eleke.

There are indications that the struggle for 2025 governorship contest in Anambra State may have started. This is following a recent tussle between Anambra State government and the senator representing Anambra South senatorial zone, Senator Ifeanyi Ubah, who has been touted as the chosen one to fly the flag of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in next year’s election.

Ubah had in October 2023 defected from Young Progressives Party (YPP) to APC. He was later received by the party in Anambra in December, alongside Senator Uche Ekwunife. Both politicians were rumoured to have gone into an alliance to run on APC platform as governor and deputy governorship candidates. The move was said to have sparked fear in the minds of other parties, especially the ruling party, APGA.

The recent tussle is about the conferment of a chieftaincy title on Ubah. Ubah had within the yuletide been bestowed with the title of Odenjinji of Neni by Igwe Damian  Ezeani, a title which Soludo is also known to hold from his Isuofia community.

Apparently unhappy about Ubah’s growing influence, the Anambra State government issued a letter suspending the monarch.

The letter by Anambra State commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Hon Tony Collins Nwabunwanne, suspending the monarch accused him of not seeking clearance from the state government before bestowing titles on people, including ‘persons with questionable character’.

The commissioner said: “The Code of Conduct for Traditional Rulers in Anambra provides that no traditional ruler can confer chieftaincy title on anyone from outside his domain without obtaining the permission of the traditional ruler of the recipient’s community.

“This is to curtail observed abuses including a growing trend whereby a minority of traditional rulers have demonstrated a penchant for trading chieftaincy titles for money thereby bringing the traditional institution to ridicule and disrepute.

“This brazen disregard for law and order as well as directives by lawful authorities cannot be tolerated in the new Anambra of today.

“We have received confirmed reports that you conferred such a phantom chieftaincy title on one Senator Ifeanyi Ubah in violation of the code of conduct and without clearance from the Ministry. Your action is an affront to order and good governance.

“In the light of the, above, I am directed to inform you that Mr. Governor has in the exercise of his powers suspended your recognition as traditional ruler of Neni untill further notice.”

This has sparked on an argument, over the rationale behind the directive of the state governor, Prof Chukwuma Soludo, with many believing that it is political witch hunt, targeted at whittling the influence of the senator.

APC while reacting to the development called for the reinstatement of the monarch. In the statement by the Zonal Publicity Secretary of APC in Anambra Central, Mr Igboeli Arinze, the party said hiding under the Anambra State Traditional Law to suspend Igwe Ezeani is akin to disrespecting the state’s revered traditional institution, and will not augur well for the peace and development of the state.

It said: “We had the misfortune of witnessing yet again attempts by the Anambra State Government to unnecessarily dabble into the affairs of our revered traditional institution.

“This is following the suspension of the paramount ruler of Neni, HRH Damian Onwuamaeze Ezeani owing to the fact that he conferred a chieftaincy title on one of our own, Senator Ifeanyi Ubah.

“Hiding under the Anambra State Traditional Rulers Law, Section 2 C by the Soludo administration to suspend the cultural custodian of Neni smacks of an attempt to witch-hunt Igwe Ezeani. simply because he conferred a title on Ubah.

“Let us ask, is Igwe Ezeani the first to have conferred a title on someone who isn’t from his community without the opprobrious demand for clearance by the Ministry of Local Government, Chieftaincy and Community Affairs? Or has the government woken up from its deep slumber because this time around the title was conferred on Senator Ubah?

“The APC Anambra Central is thus calling on Governor Soludo to stop this assault on our traditional institutions by repudiating the suspension of Igwe Neni as well as reinstating him to the throne of his fathers.“

The party added that Senator Ubah’s influence was becoming intimidating to the amazement of the Soludo administration, which it described as “a non performing administration”.

Meanwhile, the man in the centre of the storm, Senator Ifeanyi Ubah has reacted.

Ubah who spoke in a phone interview said the governor was simply playing politics, adding that he (Soludo) was frustrated about his growing political profile.

He said: “The entire game is all about politics. Soludo is being frustrated by my rising popularity. I’m not the only person to receive chieftaincy title. The former chief of Army Staff, Buratai was honored within the same period, Vice President Kashim Shettima was also honored, Mr President was honoured in absentia. Why is my own different?

“The governor is frustrated by my acceptance and popularity. He is jittery about the next governorship election, but I leave him to his conscience,” Ubah stated.

THISDAY has however gathered reliably that in order to legitimize the suspension and remove the colouration of witch-hunt against Ubah, the state government may likely suspend other traditional rulers who have been involved in same infraction of giving chieftaincy titles without approval.

THISDAY learnt that eight other traditional rulers who conferred chieftaincy title within the period may also be suspended too. Already, many of the monarchs involved have started begging the governor for forgiveness to save their position.

Meanwhile, the traditional ruler of Neni, Igwe Damian Ezeani may have fallen victim to high power politicking. Since Ubah joined APC and started receiving the support of the powers that be in the state and at the national level, there have been plans by APGA and State government agents to demarket him.

Chinedu Obigwe, an aide of the Anambra State governor had in several press releases described Ubah in words that could be deemed unsavoury. In one of the release, Obigwe said: “Senator Ifeanyi Ubah joined APC because he wants the federal government to forgive him his debt to AMCON.” In yet another he said: “Ekwunife and Ubah know what they are doing. They are targeting Tinubu to donate large sums of money to their account for the companion. They know they will still lose.”

Obigwe is not alone in the attacks on Ubah. The duo of the APGA state chairman, Chief Ifeatu Obi-Okoye and the National publicity secretary of APGA, Mazi Ejimofor Opara have similarly attacked Ubah in what looked like an orchestrated action.

2025 governorship election still remains to be experienced as other politicians, including the Labour Party stalwarts have begun preparation for contest. The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is expected to announce the date of the election within the year, and this may likely fall within November 2025.

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