Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo has banned traditional rulers in the State from speaking in English at official functions and while conducting affairs at their palaces.
Mr. Okorocha gave the directive while handing over letters of recognition and staffs of office to 19 newly recognised traditional rulers in the State in Owerri on Tuesday.
He directed that every monarch must only speak in Igbo at functions and in their palaces, adding that interpreters could be employed if the need arises.
The governor said this was in a bid to ensure that the Igbo language did not die as predicted in some quarters.
He also told traditional rulers in the state to be agents of peace, progress and prosperity in their respective domains instead of being tools of disunity and destabilisation.
He warned that any traditional ruler who could not show genuine leadership in his autonomous community would have his Certificate of Recognition and Staff of Office withdrawn.
The governor further encouraged the new traditional rulers to help the government to develop the resources of the state while urging them to rule equitably.
“Every community requires an Eze to function effectively as the head of the Community 2Government Council. Today, that responsibility has fallen on you.
I urge you not to fail as failure is not an option and I encourage you to help the government in developing the resources of our land.
“Remember that to whom much is given much is expected. This whole exercise you must understand is not an election or appointment to enable you distinguish between those who love you and those who hate you.
“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,” he said.
Delivering a vote of thanks, Lucky Ajoku of Ihiagwa Autonomous Community, promised that they will embrace peace.
Mr. Ajoku also pledged the support of the monarchs in helping the government attain the lofty ideals of the Community Government Councils in their various communities.