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By Chuka Nnabuife 

SOMETIMES, some matters don't call for adjudication because facts have defined the right and wrong sides.

In many tricky political matters, though neither the right nor the wrong eventually wins. But it is proper to establish how the wrong is deemed so and why the right is apt. 

Even as, ultimately, the most sagacious party would both win and  reap the gains there is a need to think through and understand the parties, personalities and issues that underline the developments.

In Anambra currently, two frontline topics make social and political discourses since the first week of the new year. They are the riot act the state government read to traditional rulers who randomly give out titles without required clarification from the state, and the governor's reminder of the need to obey the state's law of non-ostentation in funerals. 

The reminder was made during the occasion of the interment of the mother of popular Catholic priest, Rev. Fr. Obimma (aka Ebube Muonso) in Nkwelle Ezunanka on Wednesday. Upon observing the grand ceremony at the Obimmas, the governor, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, noted the need to uphold the law enacted in 2019 by Anambra State House of Assembly (ANHA) to one of the children of the deceased, Charles Obimma who is a serving legislator in ANHA.

The governor's reminder, obviously, was not what some people in the funeral expected to hear. Even the Catholic Archbishop of Onitsha Archdiocese, Dr. Valerian Okeke expressed his expectation of a different comment.

The truth of the matter is that, on the two issues, the governor did what he should do, as provided by the law. His ' _no gree for anybody_ ' personal traits was evident in the policy-based actions, and that is what makes him genuine and originally, him.

On the issue of clearance before conferment of chieftaincy titles, Anambra State's law stipulates that. The essence of the law is to establish order in the state's traditional institution; ensure that traditional rulers do not engage in arbitrary dispensary of titles to every Tom, Dick and Harry; and check the disgusting hustle among the royal fathers to rake in money and gifts by hurriedly issuing titles to anybody that 'brings something' irrespective of his or her quality of personality.  It is also aimed at having and effectively updating a comprehensive list, call it registry or directory, of title holders in the state.

Noteworthy here is that the law was not created by Gov. Soludo or his government. Rather, the state has had it and a chieftaincy agency, long in existence before the governor took the stead, on March 17, 2022.

The traditional rulers in error know that fact. They also know that not long ago, as recent as five years ago, some of their fellow royals ran into serious problems with the government of the former governor of Anambra, Dr. Willie Obiano, for running foul of the same failure to secure due clearance for their activities. In fact, some of the traditional rulers who slipped but failed to show remorse, lost their certificates of authorisation and instruments of office, and lost their thrones.

Some sources claim that the erring traditional rulers are being persecuted because they honoured frontline opposition party politicians. That sounds like insinuating that the chieftaincy law was created by the  current government, and after the events. The law is several-decades-old in the state. 

So, why should a royal who is aware of the law and had committed to obeying it opt to dismiss it? It is well known that nobody becomes a traditional ruler if he does not receive recommendation from the local government and certificate from the state. Why should a person who accepted the government's authorisation (against a clan of other unhappy contestants from his community) opt, blatantly to disobey it? If that is not a well-planned suicide it would be a daring hatchet, possibly backed by enough incentive.

Anyone who deems the development a perculiar Anambra State thing should note that it is accord with Nigerian laws. Recall the cases of Sultan Macido in Sokoto State; Emir Sanusi Lamido Sanusi in Kano State; Deji of Akure in Ondo State among others.

On the funeral of Fr. Ebube Muonso's mother, how could the governor of Anambra be deemed wrong for referring to a law of the state which he swore to uphold and protect? More over, recently, as recent as December 23, 2023, he and member of his family staged the funeral of his late father, Pa. Simeon Soludo, in accord with the Anambra State funeral law.

One reasons that the governor deserves commendation for speaking out for the good of our state. More so, for having the guts to speak truth in a platform where, as subsequent events have established, it is uncomfortable to speak up in such a manner.

Indeed, ndi Igbo have a maxim, "a di ano be egbe akpo ya anya mpia" (you do not speak ill of someone in his home) but any one who knows Chukwuma Soludo well was recognise his 'no gree for anybody' approach to debates and discourses. He tells it as it is, even if it requires shooting straight. So, it is difficult for anyone to say he or she does not know where he stands on critical matters.

Given that sometimes social sagacity and crave for 'political correctness' would tend towards playing blind eye or at least, speaking tongue-in-cheek on matters like that, the statement, lampooning the governor's remark at the funeral by Archbishop Okeke, is understandable. There is no need pondering or judging whether it is justifiable or appropriate given that he served it in the mould of an advice. In Igbo worldview, no reply should follow an advice but it is left for the one or those who heard it to ponder how wise or otherwise before taking further action. 

Let's pause and ponder, is it not, arguably, the currently serving-legislator-son of the deceased, Hon Obimma that should be a more active than the governor in promoting the Anambra funeral law which ANHA gave us?

The funeral law originated from the Catholic Church through the Catholic Diocese of Awka. It was a bill proposed by the Awka diocese to ANHA. Ahead the bill the Catholic Diocese of Awka organised its second synod (which this writer took part in as a delegate) in Bishop Albert Okafor Retreat Centre, Okpuno, Awka. The thrust of the bill/law was one of the resolutions of the synod. Catholic Diocese of Awka is one of the over a dozen dioceses in the South-East and South-South zones of Nigeria that are under the Onitsha Province and Metropolitan See of the universal Catholic Church which Archbishop Okeke oversees. If those who take the comments at the surface level, go away with the impression that the most eminent clergy man is against the funeral law (which cannot be true) would that not make it look like the Awka diocese or even the entire faith misled Anambra State? This last point should also be of interest to Fr. Ebube Muonso who leads one of the very popular Catholic adoration ministries in Africa.

Actually, facts establish the state government as acting within its right on the two matters. However, given the shiftiness that marks politics, a lot of people, comprising those who know the facts, would adduce other reasons to flaw governments' actions.

Emotions may sway public sentiments but they do not make improper developments, proper. One thinks the dust being raised in some quarters over the issues is not necessary but the best way out of the tension, even if surmountable with time, is political dousing of flames.

State pardon of erring traditional rulers, after their apologies can douse the situation. While a show of understanding by the organisers of the Ma Obimma funeral that they are conscious of the wrong signal such an ostentatious display can go a long way to help build a healthy society and better reputation of the church. The archbishop and the state should quickly make ndiAnambra know that they are on the same page before political interest groups who care less about the people but their cheap gains ride roughshod on the development.

• _*Sir Nnabuife* , FNGE, FSNA writes from Awka, Anambra State_

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