Ongoing legal war between the Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha and a set of traditional rulers in in the state, has taken a new turn with no fewer than seven Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) indicating interest to offer free legal services to the monarchs, sources said.
Hearing in the case commences on Tuesday, June, 23, 2015, at Owerri High Court 4, where the royal fathers dragged Okorocha last week.
The traditional rulers, about 40 in number, had taken the state governor to court over his attempt to unlawfully invoke punitive actions against the monarchs for associating with a court reinstated Chairman of the State Council of Traditional Rulers, HRH Eze (Dr.) Cletus Ilomuanya.
It is expected that the traditional rulers would storm the court with many of their subjects, even as it was learnt that the royal fathers were determined to pursue the matter to a logical conclusion.
The action of the governor, who was elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have received wide condemnation from notable Igbo leaders.
“Those who should thread on the path of justice and democracy are only inspired by vengeance and revenge in their actions. These punitive actions against the revered Igbo traditional institution have continued to outrage Ndigbo and many Nigerians”, a senior civil servant, who pleaded anonymity, told Vanguard.
The man urged the Governor to have a re-think, stressing that one of tenets of democracy is freedom of association which the 1999 Constitution guarantees.
He stressed that the royal fathers are the custodians of the people’s culture and tradition, averring that the position they occupy is traditionally sacred and should be respected.
“Our royal fathers should be accorded due respect because whoever disrespects or humiliates them does so to their community.
“Bullying them and thereby eroding their authority translates to fanning embers of disunity and encouraging a breakdown of law and order at the grassroots”, the man fumed.