Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State has stopped traditional rulers in the state from speaking English language at functions.
He directed monarchs who could not speak Igbo language to engage the services of interpreters, adding that traditional rulers as custodians of Igbo culture must promote the language.
A statement issued on Tuesday by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Sam Onwuemeodo, said Okorocha gave the directive on Monday while handing over letters of recognition to 19 traditional rulers in the state.
The statement read in part, “Today, the truth has surfaced and the right people have finally become the custodian of the traditional rights of their people. You are not permitted to speak English at functions. This will help to keep our culture and Igbo language alive.
“For many years now, most of you have been looking for a day like this. Some of you were victims of injustice and never believed that this could be possible and most of you have been waiting without knowing your fate. But today, it is a manifest of truth that your people have chosen you, and the government of Imo State has approved.
“I took the bold step of reconciling people, took the step to ensure that truth came to be and voided the rancour that has existed in our various communities over ezeship title. This has equally affected the Community Government Council negatively because every community requires an eze to function effectively as the head of the Community Government Council. Today, that responsibility has fallen on you, I urge you not to fail as failure is not an option. I encourage you to help the government in developing the resources of our land as posterity will only remember you for your positive contributions in the development of your community and not in how much wealth you amassed as an eze.
“Today, you are an Eze and you must be the eze for everyone both those against you and those who were for you. I advise you to take all of them along and embrace peace. Your first assignment should be to invite those who were against you to make peace in your land as no eze can function effectively if there is no peace in your land.”