Senator Rochas Okorocha and the traditional ruler of Obinugwu autonomous community in Orlu, Imo State, Eze Cletus Illomuanya, reportedly clashed aboard an Abuja-bound Air Peace flight in Owerri yesterday.
According to an eyewitness account, the monarch allegedly prevented the ex-governor from sitting close to him.
There has been no love lost between the duo since the controversial dethronement and removal of the king as chairman of Imo Council of Traditional Rulers and his replacement with Eze Sam Ohiri of Orodo autonomous community by Okorocha when he held sway as governor.
Ilomuanya, who has since returned as monarch, the witness added, wielded his royal stick, warning the representative of Imo West Senatorial District in the National Assembly to steer clear of him.
Consequently, he said the airline’s captain intervened by relocating the senator.
Reacting to the alleged viral fracas, Okorocha insisted he played mature by not retaliating.
He spoke in a statement issued by his media aide, Sam Onwuemeodo, saying: “There has been trending trash with the referenced title or caption. Unfortunately, everything has become breaking news with the advent of social media.
“While others were in church worshipping the Almighty God, one of the ‘Sadducees’ was busy posting or circulating what he felt was breaking news. And his target was Okorocha.
“But in trying to malign Okorocha, he succeeded or ended up in ‘crucifying’ Cletus llomuanya.
“Again, (emphasis), in their sleepless or relentless attempts to get at Senator Rochas Okorocha, they succeeded in inflicting deep cuts on Cletus llomuanya.”
It continued: “We would not have reacted if llomuanya or any of his aides had swiftly reacted to say whether the reported incident happened or not. And if it happened, what really transpired?”
“The little-minded element behind the story wrote: ‘Eze Cletus llomuanya, aboard Air Peace flight to Abuja this morning, accosted Sen. Rochas Okorocha sitting next to him and exploded with so much rage against Okorocha.
“If Senator Okorocha had seen his brother, llomuanya, and chose to sit close to him, that action should be highly commended and applauded.
“It showed that Okorocha had behaved not only as a Christian but as a statesman. It showed that he had nothing personal against llomuanya.”
The Senate Committee on Culture and Tourism chairman described the monarch’s action as “disgraceful, unfortunate, condemnable, embarrassing and ungodly, indecent and unexpected from someone who had led the lmo State Council of Traditional Rulers.”
“ln other words, he (llomuanya) had shown he was not a good ambassador of the state,” the statement added.