Niger Delta community rejects government suspension of monarch, says king can’t be removed while still alive

Concerned Nembe indigenes and traditional rulers from Nembe local government area of Bayelsa state under the aegis of the Opu-Nembe council of chiefs have faulted the last week suspension of the monarch of Oluasiri clan, HRH King Iyerite Awululu, the Olua 1 of Oluasiri, describing the suspension as politically motivated and a direct violation of the traditions and culture of the people.

According to the group, though the people of Nembe appreciate the need by the state government to resolve the friction in the clan, they are concerned that the moves being taken has greatly overlooked the complexities, traditions, customs and values of the Opu-Nembe Kingdom.

The group, in a statement issued on Tuesday via email and signed by the Opu-Nembe chairman, Chief BF Amakiri Do and Secretary, Chief FCY Aperebo-Okpoama, stated that as the fathers of the larger Opu-Nembe kingdom, whose right it is to install and oversee monarchs in the tripod clans of Ikeinsi, Obioku and Oluasiri, the action of the state government is unfortunately, not reflecting the values and laws of the Opu-Nembe council of chiefs concerning the suspension of a monarch.

According to the statement: “We understand that the state government might see a need in trying to resolve the slight friction in the clan, a gesture we appreciate, we are only concerned that the moves being taken has greatly overlooked the complexities, traditions, customs and values of the Opu-Nembe Kingdom”

“The government has acted within its wisdom, but it has, unfortunately, not reflected the values and laws of the Opu-Nembe council of chiefs concerning the suspension of a monarch.

“We wish to state that, until proven beyond doubt that the King of Oluasiri has faltered on the traditional laws, rules and rights governing his stool, for the avoidance of further breakdown of law and other in Oluasiri clan, we who installed him will regard him as the legitimate and serving King of Oluasiri kingdom as well as the accompanying development and youth organs.

“We are, by this statement, positing that the Bayelsa state traditional rulers council rescind its decision of attempting to suspend the King Of Oluasiri clan, the Oluasiri development union and the Oluasiri youth federation pending the outcome of the efforts of the Opu-Nembe council Of chiefs in resolving this issue amicably within its overseeing powers and rights.”

“The Opu-Nembe council of chiefs is non-political, we are neither anti-government nor anti-genuine government policies, for almost two centuries we have been bound and guided by a royal creed that ensures the unity, sustenance and advancement of our kingdoms. And so, we are deeply conservative towards politics, both state and partisan.”

“Concerning this hurried purported suspension, we feel there is an ulterior motive which may not be unconnected with the imminent elections. There is an attempt, we believe, in some quarters to exploit the paraphernalia of government in creating artificial tension in preparation for the approaching polls. We urge the state government to be wary of those who may be sordidly extending the governments arm into independent council affairs for sinister purposes”

“His Excellency Governor Seriake Dickson has declared in the past that he will not interfere in traditional matters and we fully believe him, so we are inclined to believe there are cynics who are trying to use state government influence in negotiating at the black market.

“In Nembe tradition, no king is removed from office while alive. This current event will only set a negative precedence that will remain disdainful to our values, customs and traditions as a people.

“Our position, therefore, as the parent body of the monarchies of the three clans within Opu-Nembe, is that the reign of the King of Oluasiri, the tenure of the leadership of the Oluasiri development union and the Oluasiri youth federation remains valid until the Opu-Nembe council of chiefs concludes its findings and states its obligatory position over this minor matter which is steeped in economic anxieties.”

It would be recalled that the Ibeyanaowei of Oluasiri, HRH King Iyerite Awululu, who was crowned about 10 years ago, was suspended by the state government over alleged flagrant abuse of the state government directive and threat to peace and security of the community.

The suspension of the Oluasiri monarch, which was made known through the Permanent Secetary of the State Ministry  of Community Development and Cchiwtancy affairs, Mr. Gibson Egbert, was followed with the dissolution of the Oluasiri Development Union and Oluasiri Youths Federation.

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