A group, League of Ezza Ezekuna Professionals (LEAP) has faulted Ezza Ezekuna Monarchs for ostracizing the former secretary to Ebonyi State Government, Prof Bernard Odoh, for criticising Governor David Umahi’s administration, describing it as unwarranted.
Governor Umahi for some weeks now have been engaged in a media war with Odoh over open letters he wrote criticising certian policies of Government under the Governor.
Odoh was Secretary to Government during Umahi’s first tenure, but had resigned his appointment in 2018 citing some irreconcilable differences with the governor.
Monarchs in Ezza land had met last week and condemned the former SSG,Prof. Odoh who hails from the clan for always criticising Governor Umahi’s administration.
The Monarchs declared him Persona non grata and withdrew all privileges due to him as an Ezza man.
But, in a press statement issued by Ezza Ezekuna League of Professionals (LEAP) after its emergency general meeting, signed by the President, Chief Ikechukwu Nwafor, the Secretary, Barr. Peter. Igwe and two members of board of trustees, Chief Amechi Aloke and Engr. Eric Nwafor, which was obtained by our Reporter, the group maintained that Odoh committed no offence or taboo to warrant such pronouncement from the Monarchs.
LEAP said Odoh’s letters to Governor Umahi were within the limits of his rights as guaranteed by section 39 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (As amended).
The group argued that constructive criticisms like the ones from Prof. Odoh were hallmarks of liberal democracy and critical ingredients for the development of governance, and urged Umahi to address the substantive issues raised in the letters as they considered them germane to good governance and progress of the state
On the panel constituted to probe the N2bn CBN agric fund disbursement in 2016 by Umahi, the group noted that it was ill-timed having come at a time Odoh wrote letters criticising the Governor’s administration.
The group further warned against dragging traditional rulers into politics.
The statement read: “LEAP believes that the letters by Prof. Odoh were actually written within the limits of his rights as guaranteed by section 39 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (As amended). Constructive criticisms like the ones from Prof. Odoh are hallmarks of liberal democracy and critical ingredients for the development of governance;
“We urge the State Government to address the substantive issues raised in the letters which we consider germane to good governance and progress of our dear state;
“We are not opposed to Prof. Odoh or any other present or former appointee of government being made to give account of his/her stewardship but it must be done in a fair and unbiased manner that would not be tainted with malice and vendetta. Prof. Odoh voluntarily resigned his appointment over two years ago and the issue of probing his activities did not arise until he started engaging government on some of the policies which he considers detrimental to the well-being of Ebonyians;
“We view with utmost concern the communique purportedly issued by Ezza Ezekuna Traditional Rulers declaring Prof. Odoh persona non grata in Ezza Land and absolving him of all privileges as an Ezza man.
“We are compelled/obligated to ask, what are the offences, sins or taboos committed by Prof. Odoh against Ezekuna our progenitor or his established institutions/organs to warrant such draconian action by the Traditional Rulers?
“Having searched and found nothing of guilt on the part of Prof. Odoh, we wish to aver that the said communique may not have emanated from traditional rulers from Ezza land. The manner it was done completely negates the principles of natural justice which the Ezza man is known for.
“Our Traditional Rulers who are custodians of culture and traditions know the processes and procedures to follow before an Ezza man is pronounced an outcast. Anything done to the contrary usually will have dire consequences and we believe our traditional rulers know better.
“We believe that the communique was the handiwork of political jobbers who do not mean well for Ezzas and our dear state. However, we are happy to note that the statements contained therein has no effect on Prof. Odoh, who continues to enjoy the respect, love and admiration of not only Ezza people but Ebonyians in general.
“We urge Ndu Ezza and indeed all Ebonyians to completely disregard in its entirety the procured communique purportedly issued by the Traditional Rulers as it is of no consequence or significance whatsoever and does not affect their true love and admiration for the person of Prof. Benard Odoh individually and collectively; and
“On a final note, we enjoin our political class to continue to accord our traditional and religious institutions the respect they deserve instead of trying to smear their reputation by dragging them into the murky waters of politics” the group noted.