Anambra 2025: Soludo, Ubah begin early rivalry, fight over chieftaincy title

There are indications that the struggle for the 2025 governorship contest in Anambra State may have started already.

This is following a recent tussle between the Anambra State government and the senator representing Anambra South senatorial zone, Senator Ifeanyi Ubah, who has been touted as the chosen one to fly the flag of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in next year’s election.

Ubah had in October 2023 decamped from Young Progressives Party, YPP, to the APC.

He was later received by the party in Anambra in December, alongside Senator Uche Ekwunife.

Both politicians were rumoured to have gone into an alliance to run on the APC platform as governor and deputy governorship candidates, respectively.

The move was said to have sparked fear in the minds of other parties, especially the ruling party, APGA.

DAILY POST reports that the recent conferment of a chieftaincy title on Ubah has opened up a room for crisis.

Ubah was during the yuletide bestowed with the title of Odenjinji of Neni by Igwe Damian Ezeani, a title which Soludo is also known to hold from his Isuofia community.

Apparently unhappy about Ubah’s growing influence, the Anambra State government issued a letter suspending the monarch.

The letter by the Anambra State commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Hon Tony Collins Nwabunwanne, suspending the monarch, accused him of not seeking clearance from the state government before bestowing titles on people, including ‘persons with questionable character’.

The commissioner said: “The Code of Conduct for Traditional Rulers in Anambra provides that no traditional ruler can confer chieftaincy title on anyone from outside his domain without obtaining the permission of the traditional ruler of the recipient’s community.

“This is to curtail observed abuses including a growing trend whereby a minority of traditional rulers have demonstrated a penchant for trading chieftaincy titles for money thereby bringing the traditional institution to ridicule and disrepute.

“This brazen disregard for law and order as well as directives by lawful authorities cannot be tolerated in the new Anambra of today.

“We have received confirmed reports that you conferred such a phantom chieftaincy title on one Senator Ifeanyi Ubah in violation of the code of conduct and without clearance from the Ministry. Your action is an affront to order and good governance.

“In the light of the above, I am directed to inform you that Mr. Governor has in the exercise of his powers suspended your recognition as traditional ruler of Neni untill further notice.”

The development sparked an argument over the rationale behind the directive of the state governor, Prof Chukwuma Soludo, with many believing that it is political witch-hunt, targeted at whittling the influence of the senator.

The APC while reacting to the development, called for the reinstatement of the monarch.

In a statement signed by the Zonal Publicity Secretary of the APC in Anambra Central, Mr Igboeli Arinze, the party said hiding under the Anambra State Traditional Law to suspend Igwe Ezeani was akin to disrespecting the state’s revered traditional institution and that it would not augur well for the peace and development of the state.

It said: “We had the misfortune of witnessing yet again attempts by the Anambra State Government to unnecessarily dabble into the affairs of our revered traditional institution.

“This is following the suspension of the paramount ruler of Neni, HRH Damian Onwuamaeze Ezeani owing to the fact that he conferred a chieftaincy title on one of our own, Senator Ifeanyi Ubah.

“Hiding under the Anambra State Traditional Rulers Law, Section 2 C by the Soludo administration to suspend the cultural custodian of Neni smacks of an attempt to witch-hunt Igwe Ezeani.

“Let us ask- is Igwe Ezeani the first to have conferred a title on someone who isn’t from his community without the opprobrious demand for clearance by the Ministry of Local Government, Chieftaincy and Community Affairs? Or has the government woken up from its deep slumber because this time around the title was conferred on Senator Ubah?

“The APC Anambra Central is thus calling on Governor Soludo to stop this assault on our traditional institutions by repudiating the suspension of Igwe Neni as well as reinstating him to the throne of his fathers.“

The party added that Senator Ubah’s influence was becoming intimidating to the amazement of the Soludo administration, which it described as “a non performing administration”.

Meanwhile, the man in the centre of the storm, Senator Ifeanyi Ubah has reacted.

Ubah, who spoke to DAILY POST in a phone interview, said the governor was simply playing politics, adding that he (Soludo) was frustrated about his growing political profile.

He said: “The entire game is all about politics. Soludo is being frustrated by my rising popularity.

“I’m not the only person to receive chieftaincy title. The former chief of Army Staff, Buratai was honored within the same period; Vice President Kashim Shettima was also honored; Mr President was honored in absentia. Why is my own different?”

“The governor is frustrated by my acceptance and popularity. He is jittery about the next governorship election, but I leave him to his conscience,” Ubah stated.

Meanwhile, DAILY POST learnt that eight other traditional rulers who conferred chieftaincy titles within the period may also be suspended.

Already, many of the monarchs involved have started begging the governor for forgiveness to save their position.

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