A Port-Harcourt High Court has upheld the nomination, screening, selection, presentation and installation and coronation of Barr. Uche Elikwu as the Eze Epara Rebisi XII saying that it was in line with custom and tradition of Rebisi Kingdom.
Presiding judge of the court, Hon. Justice M.W. Danagogo, who made the declaration had also asked the ninth defendant – the Rivers State government – to “withdraw, revoke and/or cancel the recognition and/or letter of recognition purportedly given to the 1st defendant as Eze Epara Rebisi and to without delay recognize and formally hand over the staff of office and certificate of recognition to HRM, Eze (Barr.) Uche Elikwu as the Eze Epara Rebisi XII of Rebisi Kingdom”.
The first defendant in the case was Chief Emeka Anyabelem.
The court declared that the certificate of recognition issued by Rivers State government to the first defendant was null and void.
It ordered a perpetual injunction restraining the first claimant and first defendant from further parading themselves as Eze Epara Rebisi XII of Rebisi Kingdom.
The case was between the claimants Chief Emeka Anyabelem, Elder Ogonda Echeonwu and Mr Rogers Asonye Ihunwo and the defendants Prince Victor Woluchem, Chief Adolphus Ezebunwo Amadi, Chief Sir Emmanuel Onyeche Chike (JP) and Sir Cyril Wobo Boms.
Other defendants were Elder Godpower Nna Elikwu, Mr Chikere Elikwu (for himself and on behalf of other members of Oro-Olozu Community except the second defendant) and Chief Anthony Worlu Akarolo (JP) (for himself as the Amangada XI of Rebisi and Paramount Ruler of Elekahia Community).
Other defendants also include HRH Eze Christopher N. Wonodi (JP) (for himself and on behalf of Port-Harcourt City Council of Chiefs), the Rivers State government, Barr. Uche Elikwu, Chief Allan O. Ogbondamati (Paramount Ruler of Oroworukwo Community in Rebisi Kingdom, not represented by the claimants) and Elder Godfrey O.C. Wami and Elder (Hon.) Godfrey Okwu Thomas.
The court also made the following declarations: “A declaration that the correct and official appellation of the stool of the Paramount Ruler of Rebisi Kingdom is Eze Epara Rebisi Stool. A declaration that only male descendants of Woluchem and Elikwu Units of Oro-Odunyeoma in Oro-Olozu can aspire to and ascend the throne of Eze Epara Rebisi. A declaration that only members of Odunyeoma family can nominate a qualified member or members of the Odunyeoma for presentation to Oro-Olozu for consideration and selection as Eze Epara Rebisi”.
Other declarations were that “only the Oro-Olozu Community can select and present to Rebisi Kingdom a person to be installed and coronated as Eze Epara Rebisi” and the “installation and coronation of Eze Epara Rebisi can only be performed by the Owhor holders representing the seven ancestral communities of Rebisi together with all the Chiefs of Rebisi” and a declaration that “the nomination, screening, selection, presentation, installation and coronation of Barr. Uche Elikwu as Eze Epara Rebisi XII is in accordance with the custom and tradition of Rebisi Kingdom and that it is valid and proper”.