Court confirms Nye Udu Upata 3 as Ekpeye Regent


A Rivers State High Court sitting in Ahoada has ruled in favour of the claimant, Nye Udu Upata 3, His Royal Majesty Eze Felix Otuwarikpo, over the traditional Regency of the Ekpeye land.Justice T.S Oji in his ruling confirmed Eze Otuwarikpo as Ekpeye Regent, following the provision of the Ekpeye bye-law, which states that the Regent position will be occupied by anyone sitting as the Deputy position.

The Judge ruled that the Defendants in the matter did not give sufficient reason why the Claimant who currently occupies the Deputy Position should not be crowned as the Regent of Ekpeye.

Justice Oji, further held that the Claimant was duly elected to the Deputy Position by the late Eze Robinson Robinson, on 12th June 2018 which was never contested by the Ekpeye traditional Council till the time of filing the suit.

Recall that after the demise of the Ekpeye Regent late Eze Robinson Robinson, some aggrieved Chiefs, Okpara Romans and Okpara Fynface approached the court praying that Eze Felix Otuwarikpo should not be installed as the Ekpeye Regent, as the Regent position has to be by an election.

Nye Udu Otuwarikpo and the traditional rulers were locked in a legal tussle and majority of the traditional heads recognised him as the rightful person to occupy the office of Regent in view of his position as the Deputy President of the Eze Ekpeye Logbo In-Council.

Members of the Eze Ekpeye Logbo In-Council had some time last year, elected and installed Nye Udu Otuwarikpo as Regent which attracted condemnation from some quarters and those aggrieved resorted to refute it through a newspaper publication.

The Eze Ekpeye Logbo stool became vacant since the death of Eze Robinson O.Robinson, who joined his ancestors in late 2018. The late monarch formally introduced Nye Udu Otuwarikpo at the Eze Ekpeye Logbo In-Council meeting on 6th February 2018 and went further to proclaimed him as the Deputy President of the Eze Ekpeye Logbo In-Council through a letter dated 12th June 2018 without challenge from Council members.

This was the letter Justice Oji relied on to give judgement to the effect that Nye Udu Otuwarikpo is the Regent to the stool of Eze Ekpeye Logbo, noting that during the lifetime of Eze Robinson, nobody objected to the proclamation. Nobody faulted the letter even when all Eze Igbu were copied.

Speaking to our correspondent, Tina Amanda, Irashi Emeyi, Counsel to the Claimant, Nye Udu Otuwarikpo, said the judgement has reflected the integrity of the court while urging the people to join hands to support the Ekpeye Regent Nye Udu Otuwarikpo.

On his part, the Claimant, Nye Udu Felix Otuwarikpo, described the ruling as an opportunity for the people of Ekpeye to have a positive rethink for greatness, stressing that appealing the ruling will be an exercise in futility as the judgement was very clear and concise.

He, however, called on the people of Ekpeye, to come together as one, speak in one voice and move in one direction to move Ekpeye nation forward, while urging them to join him and the traditional in Council to rebrand and rebuild Ekpeye.

Credit: The Port City News