The decision by the Bayelsa State Government to suspend the traditional ruler of Oluasiri Community in Nembe Local Area of the state, the Ibeyanaowei of Oluasiri, His Royal Highness, King Iyerite C. Awululu, has triggered controversy.
The Ibeyanaowei of Oluasiri, who was crowned about 10 years ago, was accused of flagrant abuse of the state government directive and threatening the peace and security of the area.
The suspension of the traditional ruler, which was made known through the Permanent Secretary of the state Ministry of Community Development and Chieftaincy Affairs, Gibson Egbert, was followed with the dissolution of the Oluasiri Development Union and Oluasiri Youth Federation.
A socio-political group known as the Elites of Oluasiri Clan, however, faulted the suspension of the monarch as "unreasonable, unjustifiable and disrespectful to the people of Oluasiri".
The group also condemned the purported dissolution of the Oluasiri Development Union and Oluasiri Youth Executive led by Gamage Difurotogu and Kienworio Tanga, respectively.
A statement by the spokesman of the Elites of Oluasiri Kingdom, James N. Irigha described Awululu as a peace-loving monarch, who respects constituted authorities, noting that the claim by the state government is "baseless".
"As a group determined to engender unity and sustainable development in Oluasiri Clan, we strongly condemn the purported suspension of King Awululu and the leadership of ODU and the youth body.
"We wish to state unequivocally that we only recognise the Gamage Difurotogu-led Oluasiri Development Union and Kienworio Tanga-led Oluasiri Youth Federation, therefore the so-called interim executives that were announced on radio remain null and void.
"Furthermore, we will not fold our hands and allow some egoistic individuals using state power to illegally and contemptuously remove the leadership of our clan," the statement read in part.
The group stressed that Oluasiri, under King Awululu, has experienced relative peace and progress, adding that only "retrogressive and unpatriotic elements would want to dethrone an innocent king who is immeasurably loved by his people".