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  • “I am giving you your ófò, staff of authority to go and represent us” says Igwe Simon Osisi Itodo the Grand patron of the Enugu State Traditional Rulers Council to PDP’s Guber candidate, Mr Peter Mbah

“I am giving you your ófò, staff of authority to go and represent us” says Igwe Simon Osisi Itodo the Grand patron of the Enugu State Traditional Rulers Council to PDP’s Guber candidate, Mr Peter Mbah

The Enugu North Senatorial Zone Traditional Rulers Council has declared its position on its preferred governorship candidate in Enugu State ahead of the March 2023 general elections.

Declaring this during the presentation of ófó staff, the Igbo symbol of authority and legitimacy, to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) gubernatorial candidate, Dr. Peter Ndubuishi Mbah, on Tuesday at the Adada House, Nsukka, the royal fathers numbering hundreds, said their decision to settle for him was based of his credible antecedent, adding that their decision was final.

While welcoming Mbah and his entourage to the occasion, the Enugu North Zonal Chairman of the Traditional Rulers Council, Igwe RSN Eze said he would make a better leader when he emerged governor in the forthcoming elections.

“I welcome you on behalf of all the traditional rulers in Enugu North Senatorial Zone. I welcome you on behalf of all the people of Nsukka zone and we are at home with your candidacy,” the royal father said.

Recalling how the Nsukka zone gave Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi overwhelming support in the 2015 and 2019 governorship elections in the state, the traditional ruler assured Mbah that the zone would replicate the same gesture for him during the election.

“When Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi came to us for support, we gave him our blessing and the ófó staff and he won. We are telling our people to give you maximum support because we are with you. Our people from Nsukka are ready to work with you, and we also want you to work with us.

“We are with you just like we supported (Governor) Ugwuanyi. Whenever you call on us, we shall answer you. This ófó symbolises legitimacy and authority, and by this, you’re our sole candidate in Nsukka zone,” the revered traditional rulers added.

At the presentation of the ófó staff to the PDP gubernatorial standard bearer, the Grand Patron of the Enugu State Traditional Rulers who is also from the zone, Igwe Simon Osisi Itodo said the ófó presentation was a tradition handed down to them to assert their blessings on worthy and eminently distinguished people in the state.

According to the Grand Patron, in 1999 general elections, the Nsukka zone handed over the ófó staff to former Governor Chimaroke Nnamani, and he won the governorship election. And in 2007, the traditional rulers also did the same to Barr. Sullivan Chime, a former governor in the state, and he won. He stressed that the ófó staff that would be given to Mbah would guarantee his victory in the state in 2023.

“This is our tradition. This ófó symbolises authority and acceptance. When Senator Chimaroke Nnamani ruled, we gave him ófó in Opi, and we did the same for Sullivan Chime in Igboeze North. I personally handed it over to them all, and today I am giving you your ófó staff of authority to go and represent us. We are firmly behind you and your deputy.

“The whole votes from Nsukka zone belong to you, and we are audaciously committing ourselves to this project,” the royal father assured.

Noting that the three senatorial zones in Enugu State are siblings, the traditional ruler called for continued prayer for the sustainability of peace in the state.

He further admonished the gubernatorial candidate’s running mate, Barr. Ifeanyi Ossai to work closely with his principal, saying “You should be loyal to him as both of you lead the state.”

Reiterating the positions of the earlier speakers, the Chairman of the Igboeze South Traditional Rulers, Igwe Ikechukwu Oke said all the royal fathers including their households were assuring the gubernatorial flagbearer that they identified with the project.

We the Igwes from Nsukka zone including our wives and children are telling you that we are with you. We are speaking with one voice and our decision is with finality,” he further maintained.

Reacting to the presentation of the ófó staff and his adoption as the sole governorship candidate in the state by the royal fathers, Mbah said he was overwhelmed by the tremendous support he enjoyed among the people assuring the traditional rulers that he would not let them down.

Let me begin by saying that your decision to hand to me the ófó staff is something that I am overwhelmed by.

“The significance and implication of ófó in Igboland is not lost on us. It is symbolic in all its manifestations. The physical insignia is that our royal fathers are sending me to the Lion Building to be their anchor and representative.

“I want to salute your ageless wisdom and revered positions as custodians of our traditional institution. For those who may not know, I want to make it clear that we retain a very strong spiritual bond with our ancestors; the people here in their traditional and royal regalia are representatives of our ancestors.

The traditional rulers have come here to say in one strong voice that they are sending us to the Lion Building. I want to assure you I will not let you down. The position you have taken today is consistent with the position of the people of Enugu North Senatorial Zone, and I will not disappoint you,” the governorship candidate said.

Describing himself as a product of equity, justice and fairness, Mbah promised to imbibe the same principles of equity, justice and fairness in the course of his leadership, adding that he would partner with the traditional rulers to shove up development in the zone.

He further maintained that history would reserve a noble seat for the royal fathers based on the decision they had taken.

The decision you have made is one that will reserve you a noble seat, and you have demonstrated that you’re fair-minded, just and equitable traditional rulers. I want to assure you that in the next four years, we are going to witness a monumental development in the state.

“Enugu North zone is going to be the tourist destination in the Southeast with its beautiful, scenic topography. We will focus on integrated rural development that will tackle poverty and unemployment. This will include agro-allied industrialisation programme that will get our people engaged,” Mbah added.

The event attracted the presence of dignitaries which included Igwe Ochike A.O Chinyelugi, Igwe Patrick Okolo Chukwuwuseze, Igwe A.O Ezeugwu, Igwe Asogwa C.U Edeh, Igwe Dr. C.C Nnamani, Igwe S.A Aruma, Igwe Herbert N. Ukuta, Igwe Romanus O. Eze, Igwe Oguche Clement, Igwe Okenyi Patrick, Igwe Edwin Ezeugwu, Igwe Simon C. Omapa, Igwe S.C. Ugwuanyi, Igwe Ezea Ejuona, Igwe Jerome Ugwu, Igwe Daniel Ugwuanyi, Igwe F. A. Ogbuabor, Igwe Ogwudile Martin, Igwe J. U. Ezea, Igwe Linus Obayi, Igwe Eze Hyacinth, Igwe C. Okwor, Igwe D. Eneja, Igwe Christopher Arua, Igwe Arica Joseph, Igwe Asadu George, Igwe Michael C. Odo, Igwe Fidelis Omeje, Igwe B.I Asogwa, Igwe Ambrose Eke, Igwe Onuh Igala, Igwe Clement Odugu, Igwe Fabian Eke, Igwe Dr. Virgo, Igwe A., Igwe Daniel Ogbobe, Igwe Agada David, Igwe S.C Ugwuanyi, Igwe John Akor, Igwe Ugwuada Emma, Igwe Hyacinth Ugwuogbuke, Igwe Emmanuel Odo, Igwe Solomon Obinna Odoh, Igwe Gabriel Ezugwu.

Others included Igwe Emma Ugwu, Igwe Godwin Arum, Igwe Hyacinth Edeani, Nkanu East local government chairman, Hon. Okechukwu Sydney Edeh, Nkanu West local government chairman, Hon. Uchenna Ejim, Rt. Hon. USA Igwesi, Rt. Hon. Anayo Edeh, Special Adviser to the Governor on Information, Barr. Steve Oruruo, Hon. John Ogbodo, House of Assembly member representing Aninri State constituency, Hon. Chinedu Otaka, PDP Enugu East Senatorial Zonal Chairman, Hon. Nnamdi Nwafor, Hon. Chinedu Mbah, chairman Nsukka local government, Hon. Walter Ozioko, chairman Uzo Uwani, Hon. Nnaedozie, Hon. Simeon Atigwe, chairman, Igboetiti local government, Hon. Okwesilieze Ikenna, among others.

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