Gov. Alex Otti of Abia on Friday presented Staff of Office to Eze Eberechukwu Oji, as the ninth Eze Aro of Arochukwu Kingdom.
Speaking during the occasion at the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Otti charged the traditional ruler and the people of Arochukwu Kingdom to embrace peace.
According to reports, the selection of a new Eze Aro is an exercise carried out by the kingmakers of Arochukwu Kingdom and during the exercise a new Eze Aro is selected and crowned by the Eze Ibom Isii.
It was further reported that the emergence of the new Eze Aro had been embroiled in crisis and the occupation of the seat had become a contest between one Mr Goddy Idei who lost out during the selection bid and the new Eze Aro.
The governor, represented by the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr Uzor Nwachukwu, charged the traditional ruler to rule with the fear of God and maintain law and order in the community.
Otti said that the selection process of the new Eze Aro was done by the king makers of Arochukwu Kingdom without any interference from the government.
He said that the presentation of Staff of Office was done by the government after careful study of the selection process and discovery that the process followed the constitution with respect to the autonomous communities in Abia.
Otti said:”I want to commend the people of Aro, because they have shown resilience as it has been a long process of selecting and presenting their Eze.
“Initially there were issues and there were factions but then, a panel of Inquiry was set up by Government,and they gave their recommendations.
“The Government issued a white paper following the recommendations of the panel and based on theat they were asked to go and do the right thing which they have done and then Government has also put a seal of approval on that which the people did.”
“I want to reiterate for the umpteenth time, the government had no hands in the process of selection of Eze Aro.
“The government has always insisted that the people follow the process as documented in the constitution that we have here with us, that guides the autonomous communities, and they have done that.”
He charged the people of Arochukwu Kingdom to live in peace and harmony to enable the kingdom move forward.
In their separate speeches, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of ,Mrs Florence Chigbu and the Director of Chieftaincy Affairs Department, Mr Chuka Agomuo, said that the people of Arochukwu had followed the tradition in the selection of their traditional ruler.
They said that the selection and emergence of the traditional ruler followed due process as stipulated in the community’s constitution in selecting the new Eze Aro.
In his speech,the new Eze Aro Oji thanked the government for its tireless effort in resolving the tussle over the Arochukwu traditional stool.
Oji said that his emergence as traditional ruler marks the beginning of a new era in Arochukwu, and promised to run a peaceful , inclusive and righteous government.
“Today marks a turning point in my life personally and I believe also , a turning point in our journey as a kingdom, the Arochukwu kingdom.
“I remember with nostalgia the excellence in leadership that my grand father , Mazi Kanu Oji used to run the kingdom.
“I am trusting God to help me follow in his footstep to run a kingdom that is peaceful , a kingdom that is prosperous, a kingdom that is inclusive , a kingdom that unleashes the talent of everyone that belongs to Arochukwu kingdom both young and old.”
Oji said that he was desirous to live in unity, maintain absolute balance in everything and ensure that Arochukwu would become a model for other communities to follow.
Also, the Chairman, Board of Trustees of Nzuko Aro Worldwide, Prof. Okorie Ijioma, thanked the government for making the event a reality and assured that days of discord were over.
Ijioma said that the new traditional ruler and the people of Arochukwu Kingdom would work together “to engineer peace and concord” in the community.
In an interview with newsmen, the Eze Ibom Isii, Eze Amos Okoro said that he was glad that the right thing had been done with respect to presenting staff of office to the new Eze Aro.
Okoro said that during the process of selecting the Eze Aro, votes were cast for nominees contesting for the position, which had Oji getting five votes and Idei got two votes.
He said that it was unfortunate that his predecessor, who had already been given a suspension letter by the Ibom community went ahead to crowned Idei as Eze Aro, thereby causing chaos.
Okoro said that the suspension issued on his predecessor rendered the process used in crowning Idei, as null and void.
He described the new responsibility that has been assigned to him as Eze Ibom Isii as an opportunity to serve his community.