The former Commissioner for Information and State Orientation, Dr. Chika Onwe has berated Monarchs from Ezza clan who allegedly banished the former Secretary to Ebonyi state government, SSG, Prof Bernard Odoh from his community over an open letter he wrote to the governor, Chief David Umahi.
It was gathered that the alleged banishment was unconnected to the petition written by Odoh, inviting the Economic Financial Crime Commission, EFCC, to probe the alleged misappropriation of N2billion Agric loan in the state.
Ebonyi News Network learnt that the said N2billion agric loans was collected from the central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, by the present administration lead by Chief David Umahi in 2016, during his first tenure.
Recall that the traditional rulers of Ezza Nation had after their emergency meeting held at Onu-Eke the Palace of the Chairman of Ebonyi state traditional rulers council, HRH, Charles Nkpuma accused the former SSG of betrayal and displaying a bad attitudes.
According to them: “we condemn in its entirety the unwarranted attack on our Governor by the former Secretary to the State Government, Prof. Benard Odoh.
“The attitude of Prof. Odoh does not represent the character of a true Ezza man because it is a shameful display of ingratitude and betrayal
“The efforts of Ezza elders to call him to other have failed because of his peculiar character of disregard for elders and constituted authorities and therefore does not have the mandate of right thinking Ezza man.
“Henceforth, all privileges been enjoyed by Odoh as an EZZA Man is hereby withdrawn” the monarchs stated.
But, Chike Onwe in a statement signed and forwarded to Ebonyi News Network in Abakaliki said the banishment was uncalled for, unlawful and should be withdrawn, stressing that the former SSG did not do anything wrong to warrant such level of punishment.
According to him: “The traditional rulers are men who should be abreast with the laws of the land especially the ones that guarantee freedom of citizen. Or are they not? I know they are. And I ask, how does Odoh offend the gods that would move the royal fathers to raise such heavy hammer on his head? Could it be the letter he allegedly wrote to the anti-graft agency presenting himself for investigation? I believe that, though the move may not be politically correct, it rather presents Odoh as a man of honour and integrity.
“How many public official after serving in an office, would willingly present themselves to be probed? I bet we can count with our fingers. So, rather than passing a hasty verdict on him, their Majesties should have waited for the outcome of the inquiry. If in the end he is indicted, then they would shrug their shoulders in disapproval.
“Could it be because Prof. Odoh failed to honour their invitation? I have my doubt. The letter inviting him for the meeting of June 3 was purportedly written, signed and sent on June 1. Assuming without conceding that Odoh was outside the state at the time the invitation was ‘sent’, did they expect him to break the rules of interstate lockdown to honour the invitation? That would be presumptuous.
“I wish to further ask our royal fathers, what are the privileges that Odoh would be denied? Are they political, economic or social? Will he be barred from buying and selling in the local markets? Will his children be sent out of the community schools? Will he be barred from using the stream and cultivating his farmland? Will his wife be stopped from joining other women for the annual August meeting? Will he be stopped from contesting election into the Town Union? What’s the actual colour of the privileges he will be made to lose? Whatever they mean by that pronouncement, my stand is that the decision was swift, hasty and inappropriate.
“Has the traditional institution become a willing tool in the political cheese game? Every society is as great as its royal estate. Where is the glory of the Royal stool? Where is the Majesty of our kingdom? Where is the awe that go with the staff? I’m not a traditionalist but I don’t need to be one, to know that our ancestors are not happy.
“I don’t need to know that the bones of our forebears quakes in their graves at the sound of that pronouncement. We need to heal the wounds and restore the dignity of our land now that it’s fresh. If we don’t, maybe the payday will happen on us and I pray it does not extend to our children. Let’s act fast, for it’s morning yet on creation day” he stated.