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Asagba of Asaba, Oshimili South council authority on a warpath over 2 years unpaid stipends

… Moves to take over Modern Market, Oshimili Arcade, Ogbeolie Market, others
By Ovasa Ogaga
In what could best be described as supremacy battle, the traditional ruler of Asaba Kingdom, Asagba of Asaba, Obi Chike Edozien, has announced the immediate suspension of all economic and social dealings between the people of Asaba traditional kingdom and the authorities of Oshimili South Local Government Area, which jurisdiction falls within Asaba, the Delta State capital.

The monarch’s directive is coming on the heels of the failure of the Council to remit the 5% stipends accrued to the Traditional Rulers Council for over two years.

Asaba monarch also announced the immediate repossession of all property, including commercial facilities and buildings, belonging collectively to the Asaba community but which are currently being managed or held in trust by the Oshimili South local government council mainly as valuable internal revenue sources as well as administrative process enhancers.

HRM, the Asagba of Asaba, Obi (Prof.) Chike Edozien

Addressing newsmen in Asaba, Secretary to the Palace of Asagba of Asaba, Chief Patrick Ndili, stated that the decision to put in hold existing social and economic relations with the local government council was a last-resort action prompted by the refusal of the council to release to the traditional rulers’ council (headed by the Asagba of Asaba) of the 5% (five percent) monthly allocation from the Federation Account for more than two years.

This was part of the resolution reached at the extraordinary meeting of the Asagba-in-Council on Sunday, July 25, 2021, “Consequent upon the refusal of Oshimili South Local Government Council to remit the 5% stipends accrued to the Traditional Rulers Council for over two years now”, he said.

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Ndili, who was flanked by other high-ranking Asagba royal palace chiefs, explained how the Asagba had, on July 15, 2021, written to the local government demanding the release of the said monthly stipends, which the Oshimili South Council had not paid since June 2019.

As part of the Asagba palace’s drastic measures being taken against Oshimili South Council, Ihonor of Asaba (Ndili) said that the “Asaba community shall henceforth repossess the popular Ogbeogonogo Modern Market, Oshimili Arcade, Ogbeolie Market, the Council Quarters, Asagba Market” and a host of other economically viable platforms from the local government council.

According to the secretary to the Palace of the Asagba of Asaba, “That the Asaba Community shall henceforth take over the performance of all duties assigned to the local government council which is refuse disposal, clearing of drainages, etc within the Asaba town.

“That no business or property owned or operating within Asaba shall pay any form of revenue levied by the Oshimili South Local Government Council.”

Ndili, who read out the resolutions, further announced “the immediate suspension of all collaborations whether customary, political, administrative or social between local government council and Asaba community.

“To this end, all bonafide Asaba sons and daughters shall cease forthwith from attending any meeting, ceremony, function, and events organized by the Oshimili South Local Government Council.”

Although sources close to the chairman of the Oshimili South council, Kelvin Ezenyili, pointed out that the issue of non-remittance of 5% allocation to the traditional rulers predated his assumption of office in March 2021, and has become a pending court matter, it was learned that the royal father felt insulted by the failure of council chairman to even pen a reply to his letter at the expiration of seven-day ultimatum to respond either in writing or verbally.

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Nevertheless, a member of the council of chiefs, Prof Epiphany Azinge (SAN) insisted that the issue before the court was about the staff of office and due recognition given by the state government to another traditional ruler in the locality, saying that the issue of non-remittance of the said stipends had absolutely no litigation strings attached.

Moreover, Azinge said, “When the Azagba-in-Council speaks, it is the whole Asaba. That is why we are all here to stamp all authority that all Asaba people are behind this proclamation and the resolutions. And, to that extent, it is not something that anybody can take for granted. It is something we are very serious about; it is something we are very committed to.”

Meanwhile, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has promised to name N13 billion Delta State Secretariat Complex Asaba after the Obi (Prof) Edozien.

Dr. Okowa gave the assurance when he visited the palace of the Asagba of Asaba to felicitate with the first-class monarch on the occasion of both his 97th birthday and 30th coronation anniversary on Saturday. (ThisDay)

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