Raymond Ozoji, Awka
The traditional ruler of Umueri kingdom in Anambra-East local government area of Anambra state His Royal Majesty Igwe Ben Izuchukwu Emeka has warned his counterpart Igwe Alex Edozieuno of Mkpu-Nando Aguleri Otu community of the same council area to desist from meddling in the affairs that concern Umueri community. He said Igwe Edozieuno was an emperor and a dictator who apparently was bereft of the knowledge and wisdom to run the affairs of Anambra-East Traditional Rulers’ Council. The traditional ruler of Umueri community whose warning was as a result of the purported suspension meted out on him by his fellow traditional ruler who incidentally is the chairman of Anambra East Traditional Rulers’ Council, noted further that such act of insensitivity as well as sheer display of alleged rascality was in every sense of rational judgement unbecoming and unacceptable.
Igwe Ben Emeka (Okebo II) of Umueri community who spoke with our correspondent in Awka recalled the genesis of the whole saga which he said began at Otuocha Township Stadium the day Governor Willie Obiano visited the area and the time for kola nut ceremony arose. Igwe Alex Edozieuno of Mkpunando Aguleri Otu had allegedly wanted to usurp the rightful responsibility of the host traditional ruler Igwe Emeka to perform kola nut rituals even though Otuocha Township Stadium falls within the territory of Umueri monarch who disputed it and stood firmly saying that tradition required he performed Kola nut ceremonies because the event took place in his domain. That was how he was suspended from the meeting of Anambra East Traditional Rulers’ Council because he refused to allow a foreigner break kola nut in his own land.
According to him, the purported dismissal was an exercise in futility as well as the highest level of provocation because as a fellow traditional ruler, Igwe Edozieuno has no locus standi to suspend a colleague without due consideration and delibration by Anambra East Traditional Rulers’ Council. He pointed out that it was only the Executive Governor of the state Chief Willie Obiano who issued certificate of recognition that had the constitutional powers to revoke certificates on circumstantial grounds. Igwe Umueri maintained that the kind of power his colleague arrogated to himself was unacceptable, unbelievable and an exercise in frivolity. He said it was Umueri and Aguleri-Uno that jointly gave the land upon which the Otuocha Township Stadium was built to the Anambra State Government adding that in the Igbo culture and tradition, no one trespasses into another person’s territory and wants to break kola nut or appoint somebody to perform kola nut rituals just because he is the chairman of Anambra East Traditional Rulers’ Council.
Igwe Emeka said, “You have always been witnessing our Anambra State Traditional Rulers’ Council of which the traditional ruler of Onitsha Igwe Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe Agbogidi is the chairman. Whenever we are meeting and they bring kola nut, he will always receive the kola nut and give it to the traditional ruler of Awka in whose domain the meeting is being held to break the kola nut. And that is how it is done everywhere. But this man, the traditional ruler of Mkpunando is actually prepared for trouble and that is why something that happened on the 29th day of January, 2019; by 30th or 31th, he has already issued his so-called suspension letter to me which I said is laughable because his behaviour, character are like that of an emperor or a lord which is not done in this present democracy. So the only way I can describe him is that he is like an emperor!
“I have also gone ahead to suspend him for two years. He suspended me for one year and I have suspended him for two years to let him know actually that that is not how things are done. If the issue of suspension should arise, it should be in a meeting of Anambra East Traditional Rulers’ Council where we will meet and discuss it before the issue of suspension can come in. But for an individual to ask his son or palace secretary to write him a letter is actually the highest level of irresponsibility and mediocrity which I have ever seen in my entire life.”
The traditional ruler of Umueri maintained that his reaction to the said suspension notice as issued by Igwe Alex Edozieuno was null and void and to that extent should be thrown into the dustbin of history. His counter letter of dismissal also issued to the traditional ruler of Mkpunando Aguleri Otu reads, “With particular reference to the above subject matter, I am obliged to respond to this malicious and unguarded news making round both the conventional and social media news platforms suggesting that HRM Igwe Sir Benneth Izuchukwu Emeka JP (Oke-ebo II of Umueri) was suspended from Anambra East Council of Traditional Rulers for a period of one year, by the Traditional Ruler of Mkpu Nando Aguleri-Otu, Igwe Alex Edozieuno.
“Ordinarily, we wouldn’t have responded to this news if not for the numerous calls by well-meaning and respected individuals in Anambra State, both home and abroad.
“In the light of the above, the Anambra East Council of Traditional Rulers hereby suspends the Traditional Ruler of Mkpu Nando Aguleri-Otu, Igwe Alex Edozieuno for a period of two years, for trespassing into another traditional rulers territory.
“The purported suspension of HRM Igwe Sir Benneth Emeka JP (Okebo II of Umueri) by the Traditional Ruler of Mkpu Nando Aguleri-Otu, Igwe Alex Edozieuno is laughable and should be confined to the dustbin of history where it belongs to.
“For the records, I wish to Inform the general public that the Anambra East Council of Traditional Rulers has never met since the incident of 29th January 2019 so it is quite shocking that by 31st of January 2019 (merely 48hours), the chairman Igwe Alex Edozieuno had already written a suspension letter.
“The truth is, Igwe Alex Edozieuno acted like an emperor and his actions are of no consequence whatsoever. Igwe Alex Edozieuno cannot suspend HRM Igwe Sir Benneth Emeka JP (Okebo II of Umueri) because he has no such powers. He acted for himself and himself alone in a failed bid to massage his none-existent ego.
“I challenge Igwe Alex Edozieuno to tell the general public where he derived such powers to suspend a Traditional Ruler in Anambra State let alone HRM Igwe Sir Benneth Emeka JP (Okebo II of Umueri), if not the typical case of a *”butterfly that thinks itself bird”*?. I challenge Igwe Alex Edozieuno to provide the general public evidence of when and where the meeting of Anambra East Council of Traditional Rulers took place and decision was made to suspend Igwe Umueri.
“The fact is; Igwe Alex Edozieuno as Chairman of Anambra East Council of Traditional Rulers has never called any meeting since the incident took place so his latest behavior can be likened to the behavior of an emperor or a Lord which is not acceptable in this modern time.
“For the benefit of hindsight, I wish to Inform the general public of what happened on Tuesday, 29th January, 2019 during the visit of His Excellency the Executive Governor of Anambra State. Igwe Alex Edozieuno in his conscious effort to challenge history decided to deny HRM Igwe Sir Benneth Emeka his traditional right of performing the traditional breaking of cola-nut, an action that was rightfully resisted by HRM Igwe Sir Benneth Emeka (Oke-ebo II of Umueri). Ordinarily, when you come into another person’s domain, it is the right of the Traditional Ruler whose domain you visited to break the cola-nut according to Igbo custom and tradition.
“At this juncture, may I also further remind Igwe Alex Edozieuno that even our elementary history unambiguously taught us that the traditional breaking of the kola-nut is usually performed by the host Traditional Ruler and so I ask, can Igwe Alex Edozieuno allow HRM Igwe Sir Benneth Emeka to perform the traditional breaking of kola-nut while in Mkpu Nando Aguleri-Otu soil? The answer obviously would be NO!
“In conclusion, there is no doubt that the action of Igwe Alex Edozieuno is self serving and very provocative to say the least. We implore him to toe the line of nobility and desist from further insulting Igbo culture and our collective sensibility. We hereby urge Mkpu Nando Aguleri-Otu to send another representative that will be representing them at the council till the two years suspension order on Igwe Alex Edozieuno elapses.”
Although Igwe Emeka is barely two years in office as traditional ruler of Umueri kingdom, he stated that ever since he had been attending the meetings of Anambra East Traditional Rulers’ Council in the last two years, his assessment was that the way and manner the chairman presided over the meetings showed that he was not worthy to be chairman of Anambra East Traditional Rulers’ Council. He however admonished Igwe Alex Edozieuno to call himself to order and leave Umueri alone and face his community Mkpunando Aguleri Otu in the interest of communal peace while calling on the Anambra-North Council of Traditional Rulers, Anambra State Council of Traditional Rulers, the Commissioner for Chieftaincy and Local Government Matters as well as the Disciplinary Council of Anambra State Traditional Rulers’ Council to look into the matter and call a spade a spade so that such encroachments won’t repeat itself again.