Reporter : CHRISTIAN NWANGENE
An Enugu State High Court sitting in Aguobu-Owa, Eziagu Local Government Area has fixed February 11, 2021 for the pre-trial conference in the case filed by Chief Christian Akpata, asking that he be presented to the Enugu State Government for recognition as the traditional ruler of Akama-Oghe Community.
This followed the refusal of the President General of Akama-Oghe, Comrade Celestine Ukwuani; the Secretary of the Town Union, Mr. Chidi Andi, and some others to acknowledge Chief Akapata and present him to the State Government as duly nominated by his village, Enugu na Agbani, as traditional ruler elect of the community.
According to counsel to Chief Akpata and senior lawyer, Mr. Ogochukwu Onyema, kingship of Akama-Oghe is rotated among the three villages, namely: Ishiokwe, Imeama and Enugu na Agbani.
He notes that it is now the turn of Enugu na Agabni village to produce the next traditional ruler after the demise of Igwe Kyrian Ugwuozor in 2017.
Chief Onyema, however, wondered why the President General and a few others in the community would question the nomination of Chief Christian Akpata as the choice candidate of the village for the throne.
“The town union executive communicated his own village in writing for them to do election and select who will represent them for recognition by the Governor of Enugu State as the traditional ruler of Akama-Oghe.
“It was done, the village head received the letter and followed the procedure in line with their constitution to elect Chief Christian Akpata, popularly known then as Alusi-ogwugwu, as the Igwe-Elect of Akama-oghe Community. But unfortunately few people swore based on their personal interest that he will not be,” Mr. Onyema claimed.
Counsel to the defendant, Mr. Sylvester Ejiofor, argued that the procedure for the purported nomination of Chief Akpata as Igwe-elect was faulty.
“At the time of that purported selection, the Igwe was still alive and mind you the Igwe in question died sometime in October 2017. So we assume that it is an aberration for somebody to purport himself to be duly elected or nominated by any group.
“Even the nomination itself is an issue of criminal investigation before this court because the purported paper which he used in saying that he was duly nominated at that time, 2015, is a complaint before the police because the signatories there are claiming that their signatures were forged,” Mr. Ejiofor alleged.
However, a police report presented to journalists and signed in June 2019 by a former Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of State Criminal Investigation Department, Mrs. Jam Agbede, absolved Chief Akpata of the alleged forgery.
In the meantime, after listening to the pleadings by the counsels at the preliminary proceedings, the judge, Justice Enu Oluedo, directed the parties to get all their documents in proper form in readiness for accelerated handling of the matter.
Justice Oluedo therefore fixed February 11, 2021 for commencement of the pre-hearing conference, March 1, 2021 for hearing and March 8, 2021 for continuation of hearing.