ODAHIEKWU OGUNDE, Yenagoa
Indigenes and residents of Aghoro II community of Iduwini Kingdom, Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, have gone on the rampage over alleged plot by the government to impose a king on them.
They reminded the state government through the Deputy Governor, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, that the person they have chosen to be their king, Afro Biukeme, is non-negotiable.
They said Biukeme is the person they have unanimously chosen as the new Amananaowei (King) of Aghoro II community.
The residents warned that any attempt to tamper with their choice would be vehemently resisted and would definitely lead to another round of crises in the community.
The protesters said that their action stemmed from the information reaching them that the government had allegedly concluded plans to bring back the former king, Ojunkonsin Ibamughan, whom they had rejected.
They claimed they rejected King Ibamughan due to his alleged corrupt system and his failure to account for over N90 million belonging to the community.
They said instead of the former monarch to show remorse for what he did and tell the community on how he would refund the money, he was boasting that he was untouchable and that he had people in government to protect him.
During the demonstration, the protesters chanted solidarity songs and brandished placards with inscriptions such as ‘Deputy Governor, leave Us Alone, We Can Settle Our Problem’, ‘We Have Chosen HRH Afro Biukeme as our King’, ‘No Going Back On HRH Afro Biukeme’, ‘The People of Aghoro II Community Have Spoken Loud And Clear’, ‘Bayelsa State Government, Respect Our Choice’, among others.
Speaking during the protest, Chief O. Bousine, who led the protest, said they began to smell rat the very day they were invited by the government through the Deputy Governor, Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, to Government House in Yenagoa.
Bousine said: “I commend Senator Lawrence Egwhrujakpor for the way he started the process. But what we are hearing right now is very bitter. We are not going to allow him or anybody to impose the former King on us. Never! Somebody who could not give an account of about N90m belonging to the community whom we have rejected, you want to bring him back? On what basis? Which law? The same law that gives us power to make our King also empowers us to chase him out when he goes astray.We have chosen our new King and he is HRH Afro Biukeme. We are not going back on that.”
But the Bayelsa State government had directed the people of Aghoro II to maintain the status quo over the chieftaincy stool crisis.
It cautioned individuals and communities to resist the temptation of engaging in subversive activities aimed at dethroning traditional rulers whose chieftaincy stools have been recognized by law.
He therefore directed all the parties involved in the Aghoro 2 community leadership conflict to observe the status quo with His Royal Highness Ojunkonsin Ibamughan still serving as Amananaowei pending the final determination of the issues raised at the meeting.
He also warned traditional rulers not to see their recognition as a licence to oppress and shortchange their people, as the law also provides a window for their removal.