By Akadiri Ademola.
The Kogi State Government has approved the appointment of Alhaji. Akwu Obaje as the new Ejeh of Ofu, and Chairman, Ofu Traditional Council.
The announcement of the state Government approval which was to take effect from Wednesday 2nd of September was contained in the letter of appointment signed by the Honourable Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affair, Bar. Momodu Salami Ozigi.
The Commissioner pointed out that such move was in compliance with an High Court ruling on the 23rd of April in line with the exercising of the power conferred on the State Governor by section 29 of Kogi State Chiefs (Appointment, Deposition and Establishment of traditional councils) law no. 23 of 2006
He added that his appointment was premised on Government’s conviction that the newly appointed Ejeh possessed the required character that would enable him shoulder the responsibilities of his new role.
Bar. Ozigi urged the traditional ruler to ensure Unity Peace and tranquility in his domain adding that he was also expected rule inclusively as a good leader.
Recall that the former Eje of Ofu, Chief James Abalaka, was earlier removed by a Kogi State High Court in Anyigba, in a court ruling dated 23rd April, 2020.
It was held that the appointment of Chief Abalaka as Eje of Ofu was in total disregard of the provisions of Sections 3 and 4 of Kogi State Chieftaincy Law No. 23 of 2006.
The court ruled that Akwu Obaje was the proper person to be appointed Eje of Ofu Local Government Area having been nominated and recommended by the four ruling houses.
The court gave an order setting aside the recommendation by the Attah Igala and the state Ministry for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs and the subsequent appointment of Chief James Abalaka by Kogi State Government; and gave an order of perpetual injunction restraining Chief James Abalaka from parading himself as Eje of Ofu Local Government Area.
The court also gave an order of perpetual injunction restraining the Ministry for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs from appointing any other person than Chief Akwu Obaje as Eje of Ofu as the court also set aside the appointment of Chief James Abalaka by the state government through the ministry.
The court eventually directed the Ata Igala and Kogi State Government to appoint Chief Akwu Obaje as Eje of Ofu Local Government Area. The Eje and his co-defendants in the case did not appeal until 90 days elapsed, as they relied on a sue for a stay of execution.
Chief Abalaka eventually lost the Eje of Ofu stool as his Stay of Execution Suit No. AYHC/31m/2020 was dismissed in a court ruling dated 21st July 2020 at Kogi State High Court presided over by Justice Mrs. R.O. Ayoola.