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Enugu State’s Commissioner for Chieftaincy, Okey Ogbodo has been accused of issuing a certificate of return to a contender for the traditional rulership of Obuno Autonomous Community Akpugo in Nkanu West Local Government area, disregarding both the ongoing court litigations and the absence of a legitimate election process.

Prince Okwy Agbo, a rival contestant, voiced his concerns in an interview with newsmen, asserting that Commissioner Ogbodo could not have been unaware of the pending court case while granting a certificate of return to his competitor, Mr. Jack Nwatu.


Agbo shed light on the origins of the dispute over who should assume the role of the traditional ruler in Obuno-Akpugo Community.

“The conflict arose when 12 out of 30 kindreds within the autonomous community enacted a divisive constitution that labeled some individuals as strangers, Osu, or unfit to rule the community. This contentious constitution led to a legal battle, challenging the community’s constitution in court and calling for the establishment of a more inclusive constitution.”


Agbo questioned, “How can Commissioner for Chieftaincy, Hon. Okey Ogbodo, issue a certificate of return without conducting an election or conducting a proper review of the process that designates the two main contenders as Igwe Elect?”

He explained that they began adopting the title ‘Igwe Elect’ because various kindreds conducted separate elections and presented them as candidates for the general election.

However, the general election has yet to occur since 2016, and Mr. Nwatu has been seeking recognition as the traditional ruler without a proper election process.

Agbo also recounted that during Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s tenure, Mr. Nwatu requested a certificate of return, but they protested, emphasizing the pending court case. The Governor wisely halted the issuance of any certificate and urged both parties to resolve their differences concerning the community’s constitution. Unfortunately, no progress has been made since then.

Agbo questioned the Commissioner’s authority to issue a certificate of return based on a community constitution that had led to divisions, even when part of the community had been designated as a separate autonomous entity.

He wondered, “Upon which community constitution is the Commissioner for Chieftaincy Matters issuing a certificate of return? Is he endorsing the divisive constitution that marginalized a part of the community as outcasts?”

Prince Okwy Agbo urged his fellow community members to remain calm while seeking legal remedies and peaceful resolutions.

He also called on Governor Peter Ndubuisi Mba to intervene and prevent any attempts to impose a traditional ruler in any part of Enugu State without adhering to the rule of law or potentially alienating individuals or communities.

Chief Agbo said he had contacted Commissioner Okey Ogbodo on Wednesday morning telling him of the implication of giving out a certificate of office when there are pending court cases. 

When Daily Gazette contacted Commissioner Okey Ogbodo, he confirmed certificate of office was issued to Mr. Jack Nwatu but denied knowledge of any pending litigation in court.

He said “To the best of my knowledge, there is no pending litigation anywhere. An election was conducted and Mr. Jack Nwatu won. Someone went to court and Nwatu still won. There is no record in the ministry of Chieftaincy Affairs showing there is pending litigation on the matter. We are committed to due process” he concluded.

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