Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has presented Certificate of Recognition and Staff of Office to Eze Barr. Uchechukwu Isaiah Elikwu, as the Eze Epara Rebisi, XII. The Governor said the presentation had to be performed by him because of the importance of the stool to the state government, and also to ensure the peace in the area.
At the brief ceremony that held at Government House, Port Harcourt on Wednesday, Governor Wike said the presentation has been done in obedience to a court judgment.
Wike, in a statement by his media aide, Kelvin Ebiri, explained that when he came on board as governor in 2015, Victor Worluchem was the occupant of the stool having been so recognised by the previous administration.
According to Governor Wike, there was therefore no need to interfere in the dispute concerning the traditional stool since the matter was already in court.
Governor Wike also said that his administration secured the understanding of the parties in the dispute to maintain the peace and status quo while they awaited court judgement.
“So as the 9th defendants in the case, the court directed we should not only recognise the plaintiff (Uchechukwu Elikwu) as the Eze Epara Rebisi, but we should go ahead and revoke the recognition of Victor Worluchem.
“As a law abiding government, we must obey court order. We don’t chose the one to obey, and the one not to obey,” he said.
It is to that effect that Governor Wike said that he signed the legal instrument to revoke the recognition that Victor Worluchem had enjoyed before signing the instrument to recognise Eze Bar. Uchechukwu Isaiah Elikwu as the Eze Epara Rebisi.
“And so, by the powers conferred on me, on the 15th of November, 2021, when the judgement came out and by legal opinion of the Attorney General, I signed the instrument withdrawing the recognition of Prince Victor Woluchem as Eze Epara Rebisi, which of course is a First Class Traditional Chieftaincy Stool.
“So that instrument of revocation and withdrawal was done on the 15th of November, 2021 while the instrument of recognition of the new Eze Epara Rebisi, who is, by the grace of God, Barr. Uchechukwu Elikwu was signed on the 16th of November, 2021.
“And today, we are here to present that certificate of recognition and staff of office,” the governor stated.
He explained that the title is a first class chieftaincy stool in Port Harcourt City Local Government Area of the state.
According to him, the court had declared that Barr. Uchechukwu Elikwu was the rightful person to occupy the position of Eze Epara Rebisi because his coronation and selection passed due process in accordance with Rebisi custom and chieftaincy protocols.