Thursday, 4 February 2016

Nigerian Women Are Dishonest---Anambra Traditional Ruler Without a Wife, Queen Insists

(unedited copy)

Among the most vocal and fearless traditional rulers in Nigeria, HRH Igwe Chijioke Nwankwo (Osuofia 2), Eze Nawfia (Igwe Umunri), Njikoka Local Governnment Area of Anambra State stands tall. His thoughts, opinions and advice had been sort for by people that matters in the society whenever the need arises. media crew recently had a chat with him at his palace.
The excerpt.

Where have you lived before you became the Igwe of Nawfia?

I lived at United State of America, Southeastern part of the country to be specific. I was the only person holding a supervisors contractors license at one particular time. I bagged Associate Degree in Business Administration, Bachelor Degree in Business Administration, and Masters Degree in Business Administration. I owned a construction firm… and was transacting my business successfully. As of 1998, the US government gave me payment and performance bond of one million to be doing work. So, if not for my father’s death I would have been somewhere else today. I left all that to return to Nigeria when my father was brutally assassinated on February 15, 2000.

What are some of challenges you are facing in Nawfia Since you become their Traditional Ruler?

I think in life if you don’t have challenges, you are dead. People often have this misconception about life and challenges. Odera said it that you can only have peace when you are dead. You must have challenges either within or outside your family. So there are challenges. First, you have to remember that I accused some persons from a particular village of been accomplice to my father’s assassination and they ganged-up and said I accused the entire village. There is a saying in Igbo that ofu aka ruta manu, ozue ora onu. But I said no; if you do something, you must pay for it, and if I do something I must pay for it. Americans say, if you do the crime, you do the time. That is if you go to jail, nobody will back you. That is why I am telling Nigeria to stop complaining that so so person is trying to kill them when they know the crime they have committed to avoid a family feud instead of individual.

Do you think there are best ways of checkmating security challenges in your community, Anambra or Nigeria?

I have repeatedly told people that security requires honesty. The level of corruption or rather dishonesty in Nigeria is what is pulling the country down.  If you go to the traditional rulers, if any traditional ruler who had been on throne for over 5 years does not know about his stand somebody could come up and take him away with the police. The armed robbers are organised; somebody sponsors them, somebody bails them. These things start as thuggery during political campaign but later developed into full flag gangsters. You can never eliminate crimes but you can minimize it. You can checkmate it. The problem we have in this country is that they made security political. Remember that if you handle little position been given to you, some years later someone may recommend you for a bigger position. Our people believe on something that is instant. So the monarchs can checkmate insecurity but you know that some of them are not educated. So what do you do? You call for a special training or seminar of traditional rulers. I have said it time without number but most times because somebody on top wishes to control everything they gather other persons, talk to people the same way. Some may and may not be allowed to ask questions. They select people to do all these. Yet they know that everyone is a traditional ruler. All I want is that they should ensuring that everyone is trained even if it entails visiting to train them from town to local government level. Ask them relevant questions, etc. so that they will know their responsibility on reducing crime, and you will see how crime would be reduced.

In Nigeria, don’t you think there are specific roles to be given to traditional rulers to create harmony in the society?

But that’s the way Nigeria till 1999 constitution… Prof. Ike is writing on 4th tier of the government which I refused to be part of. I was chosen to be part of the project but I opted out of it because I am learned. I knew that the first thing to have been done in this regard is to do feasibility studies. The second is strategy. The third one is implementation, and finally, feedback. They did not do any of this. He is writing and compiling the thing as if he is uneducated. I don’t care. I live my life the way I want it. This town is my full responsibility. May be this is why people said that I am stubborn and so on.
I believe that the traditional rulers must be given an important role to play at every level. They should be the one feeding the federal government on ways of handling so many issues. Unfortunately, such things are not in existence especially in the Southeast. However, the northerners have a culture which automatically confers on their Emirs head of religion and head of the town. But out of politics, more states and autonomous community were created; Abia state has 850 traditional rulers, Imo state has about 630, Enugu over 400, Anambra is the least with 177. This is making a caricature of traditional institution. How do you expect orderliness when Abia alone has more traditional rulers in the whole Nigeria? This was so because someone wanted to use gang and rule to win every election. So he ended up creating more towns to rule for only four years. He created perpetual trouble. Can government actually pay them? No! If you put 5% in Abia, for instance it may be hard for them to earn up to N50, 000. If it is in Anambra, we may get up to 1million naira. Give them a role with stature and wall. The only thing holding America together till date is your law and hard-dog. That is because no American who does not eat hard-dog. Another thing is law. That is why they will tell you that this thing is in the law or not in the law.
We need prominent role and not to dominate. I always say to Anambra state governors use the President Generals, I don’t care. This is because their tenure is transient; I may be fighting with this for not being tolerant later another person that is tolerant will come. Just give us the role we are to play in writing. But politicians always wait till the day they will win election. Instead of going to people to get their votes, they use people to subdue people. They can use PG’s to get people to boot away with ballot boxes. I know what they do.

What is your view on the agitations of IPOB, MASSOB, and other pro-Biafra groups?      

My view is let the LNC, LOWER NIGER CONGRESS continue. It has actually served their papers so no need to be violence. I said it even before they started demonstrations. I think the way it is going now, Nigeria is beginning to reset. If there is enough agitation, there may be an Igbo President in 2019. We are not only been marginalized but… Section 14 of the 1999 constitution says there must be diversity. If you have key positions, you must divide it accordingly. Not because you like. We are lawless people, anarchy. This is why I can prove to the world that my father was assassinated. There is nothing visible I don’t know ten times more than them. I grew up in United States. Give them the positions that belong to them regardless of who voted for you or not. As a leader you cannot always get what you want. There is always a compromise. Leadership is like a marriage. It is a-two way traffic.

You said you are not married, you don’t have children and you don’t care why?  
I did not say that. I married a white lady and have children. She divorced me as soon as I became Igwe. This is because I now live in Nigeria.

And you are not thinking of remarrying?

Let me see how the Nigeria women behave. It is not easy. Marriage is not something you can get into anyhow.

Can you talk more of Nigerian women because you said you are studying them?

They are not honest. They are game players. You see marriage is an institution that is why you see Nigerian women having a lot of divorces. They cannot tell you their minds. They think I am crazy. If you tell a white woman that you want to make love with her straight forward she will give you her consent without biting a tongue. But if is a Nigerian woman, she will say no but when you start doing another thing she will succumb. But you know that in order to treat a disease you must have known about its existence. If you don’t tell me the truth I will not know how to move with you. So projecting another image is bad because my background and there background are not the same.
Let me give you an example. My wife came back to me as I returned because I stayed too long in Nigeria, and told me pointblank that she is no longer with me because she has gotten another boyfriend. Nobody will do that in Nigeria. They will call you Oga this or that while their mind is no longer with you. I kept quiet, and we kept on until I came back to Nigeria, she divorced me for abandonment. I preferred it because I know that that marriage will end since I stay in Nigeria as a traditional ruler. But till today I can pick-up a phone and call her and we still discuss as it was when we were married.  
I want our people to be civilized, and stop vindictiveness and grudges. Our people hardly forgive or forget. In contrast, Americans say they can forgive you but they can’t forget. They said they will never forget just to be conscious of who you are so that you don’t repeat the act.

Anambra State Vigilante law was recently passed into law by the state legislators and it seemed to be causing problem between the President Generals and the Traditional Rulers; do you have similar challenges here with your PG?

I was instrumental to Anambra state traditional rulers law, 2007 passed during Governor Andy Uba’s tenure through the house of assembly led by Honourable Anayo Nnebe. Till date it hasn’t been enforced. Leadership says you must be considerate for once. Now, the Obi of Onitsha called some people… You have to lobby the house. In United State of America there is what is called PAG-Political Action Group. There job is lobbying. That is why the Jewish people rule the world.
Why do you make the PGs secretary to the security force in the law? That means you cannot remove him.
You ask me another thing, do have a challenge in Nawfia? The challenge in Nawfia is bigger than them. There towns in the state with big trouble, Nawfia is number one. Three years ago, we hard serious trouble and Dubem Obaze called for a caretaker because I was criticizing obi’s government. Even though I would have won in the court, I chose to be calm. They inaugurated a caretaker committee. Caretaker committee does nothing because it is a mere Ad-hoc committee. What it means is start working for dark purpose. They were to work for 90 days/three month. But they were there for two years. I sued them immediately for them to vacate. The then SA on Town Union Matters to Governor Peter Obi, Sir Godferry Moutolu called us to habituate.  I went there and they said we are going to conduct an election. They had other motives which I later realised. The day of election, they went to court and bribed my own lawyer, and he agreed for an election without constitution, without anything. I did not know. I was sitting down in my father’s compound and a police came and told me there was a trouble in the town. I went there and they denied opportunity to address them. I said these people go no be seriously crazy. I snatched the microphone and said that nobody will speak here again. And they brought illegal soldiers to stop me. Whatever I am telling you now is on video tape. They did not know I was recording them. I told the illegal army that if anyone of you shoot me, I will put all of you behind bar. So, they left. The trouble continued. The government cancelled the election. They went and bribed the government because I was not following along. The judge is also corrupt, quote me anywhere. We had a case pending but without hearing it, they gave a judgment. So what I did was tactical withdrawal. We said we do not have the case anymore. We retired the case and file it again. As far as I am concerned they did not use constitution, a caretaker wrote constitution. It is not done anywhere in the world. Why we are having problem with 1999 is that people did not write it. They said ‘we the people’. Who is the people, did you do any referendum? Did you tell people to select people. Let me tell you simple truth, the simple definition of constitution is the ‘will of the people’. Where did it participate? You can’t go to kwarter and tell them how to cut and sell their meat, and call it law because they know what they need. So, there is no town union in Nawfia until they write constitution. The one they wrote was written at TRIG-POINT Hotel. I have the pictures and videos of everything about it. That is why they don’t like me because I keep record. They can’t challenge me in the court because I will floor them no matter how much they may give the judge. Anything they will do rather than my favour will send the judge into prison. They would have brought passed the constitution whereby the town unions will be responsible in safeguarding the community with their Igwe’s consent.  You know they come and go but the Traditional Ruler remains there to checkmate their activities, and tell the incoming where they stopped. Obi of Onitsha is not doing anything. If I am the Chairman of Traditional Rulers Council, I will wipe out everything to show the governor we can elect. I think the Igwes should maximize their power and get the town to be in their favour. They said I am not popular in Nawfia, but listen very well. I ran the election in Nawfia without rigging yet the town got the highest votes cast in 2015 poll. My polling booth, has the highest votes casted in the whole 002.  Go and check. It is not hidden. Go ahead and crosscheck, then write your news. Do not write to favour me either, criticize me so that I can sit-up. But let it be a constructive criticism. We are drowned. Nigeria is still in a pathetic stage. I leaved in America for 30 years. I have leaved there more than I have lived in Nigeria. I know what is obtainable. I went when I was very young. There is nothing about them, call it gangs, etc that I don’t know.        

You have been making references to American culture, please, have you tried in anywhere to bring it back to Nigeria or Nawfia community in terms of security and others because the school of thought believed that making our traditional rulers solely take charge of security and others may discredit their institution. Do you also see it in that direction?

Absolutely no! it is the same thing everywhere. Let me tell you about Igbo culture…you cannot be ozo nkpu if your father is still alive. You can’t make any decision if your father is alive. If you come back, your father will tell you another. If a northerner Emir gives order is obeyed by both the rich and poor. But reverse is the case here. Our adage says that nwata na-ata akara na ata ego ya. You just train the people to make do something. What is the job of a traditional ruler? They said he is the Chief custodian of tradition and culture.  Where are you a custodian whereby if your celebrating, your PG will publish on newspaper that they do not agree. This is absolutely crazy. So tell me is that crazy?
Government can tell the towns to revisit how they select their Igwe. This is because no town want to elect what is not young. That is the trend now so that they can have full representation at all level. Is not a disgrace what they are doing? A situation whereby the Igwe will say something, and the PG will say otherwise; where the PG tell igwe to sit down because he doesn’t have anything. And within few minutes, police will be everywhere. I only won because I am educated, and I know the law. The police is only empowered to deal with criminal issues but they now go on arresting and detaining without conducting investigation to unravel the issue, especially the probable cause. That is crazy because probable cause is what is likelyhood. It requires adequate investigation that will succeed in the court. But in reverse the police will go ahead and lock you up once they get a petition about you.
I brought many good things in Nawfia. Before I became their traditional ruler, there was killings everywhere. I have stopped it and entrenched formidable security. A gang were terrorizing this town then, but as I came in, I set one as an example, and they all left and give peace chance to reign. 

There is this popular saying that Igbo enwero eze in respect to what they are been called in the north and west?

I don’t believe on that. The way things will work in this state and Igbo land generally is for the whole Igbos to come together and give Pete Edochie a title. I have gone to so many places. I don’t give titles any how, I have only given five people titles because you have to show me. I will tell you why Pete deserves a title. Without those his African magic people would not have started respecting Igwes. For one reason they respect Igwe now is fear of juju. He has done a good job. It is not left for the government to galvanize them to do that. This is a permanent position. I have gone to meetings where you hardly see an Emir contribute to a meeting. It is only Abubakar. He is eloquent speaker. Some of the Igwes do not respect themselves.

Do you support installation of Eze Igbo outside the ones we have in the Eastland?

I don’t support that at all. We have meetings upon meetings on this and we stated that nobody can answer that name, and all traditional rulers even the yorubas and Hausas accepted our stand. We gave them another name they can answer. That is ‘Onyendu ndi Igbo’. They have began to make caricature of our sacred traditional institution. Now they are having trouble at Ibadan. I was invited to go there but I refused and told them to go through the southeast channel. We don’t support it at all. It is against the section 19 of Anambra traditional rulers law 2007 states that anyone caught pretending or parading himself as Igwe will go for more 1 year imprisonment without a fine. All states in the federation have similar law. There is nothing long in the name we gave them. It is not right for them to do that in another person’s land. You must respect others culture so that they will respect ours. We sent letters to them and it is has been enforced. The issue is that people use it for political reason.     

Why is it that ohanaeze ndi igbo remains the organ issuing statement on behalf of Igbos till date where there are Igwes?

It is agreed that the apex igbo group remains the apex body to comment on behalf of Igbos because it is assumed that there leader has consulted with both the Traditional Rulers and people, the led.



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