Obi of Onitsha: I Didn’t Approve APC Rally- Ime Obi Onitsha

Ime Obi Onitsha, the Kingdom’s traditional council, has said contrary to some reports, the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Alfred Achebe, did not approve the rally by the gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Chris Ngige, which was held in Onitsha on October 8, the same day as the annual Ofala festival.
The council therefore dismissed the claims made by Ngige and one of his aides, Hon Uche Okonkwo-Okom, as false.
A statement by the traditional council observed   that “the Traditional Council and the Monarch of Onitsha, as a policy, always studiously steer clear of any involvement in partisan politics. "That notwithstanding, after due reflection, the council considers it necessary to correct the persistent misrepresentation of our highly principled and respected monarch, resulting from the privileged access that he granted Okonkwo-Okom, as a deliberate effort to portray our monarch as unreliable,” the statement stated.
The council also bemoaned the manipulation of the APC stalwarts in the state as a result of their privileged access to the traditional council of Onitsha.
The statement signed by notable chiefs led by Chief Chike Ofodile (SAN), the Onowu Iyasele of Onitsha, clarified the sequence of events leading up to the purported approval by Ngige. It said Ngige had through Okonkwo-Okom, informed His Majesty via a text message of his intention to attend the Ofala festival in company of some serving governors and requested for His Majesty’s prior consent and protocol accommodation in the programme of the day.
The council explained that His Majesty responded through another text message saying: “He,  Ngige, and the governors are very welcome. To ensure proper protocol, advised the number of them coming and names, if possible. I’ll emerge at 2 p.m. and all should be seated by then. Ofala Onitsha is a cultural event and not for politics. I look to seeing you there personally."

“In all the SMS exchanges, there was never any mention of a political rally. Thus, the claim by the party that approval for it was granted by our monarch or the palace is a mere ruse. No approval for political rally was sought and none was granted.”

“Their intention was very manipulative and irreverent of the culture and tradition of his people and therefore unacceptable. Our monarch further told Hon Okonkwo-Okom that it would be best, in the circumstance, for the APC chieftains not to appear at the festival to avoid an explosion of the anger of his people.”
“Our people believe strongly in the plural democratic traditions of the country. Thus, we respect the constitutional rights of every political party to pursue its objectives. Indeed, our indigenes enjoy diverse political affiliations, including membership of the APC,” the statement stated.

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