Monday, 19 June 2017

Awka-Etiti monarch is not contesting for Governor

By Okechukwu Onuegbu

The people of Awka-Etiti community, Idemili South Local Government Area of Anambra have debunked the rumours making rounds that their monarch has joined Anambra 2017 gubernatorial race, saying that it was handiwork of an impostor who lacks respect to a traditional institution.

They also enjoined the general public to shun any individual parading himself as their traditional ruler, because according to them, HRH Igwe Engr. Michael Ibezie Ezeudenna (Obi III), who was duly crowned and certified last year by Anambra State Government as enshrined by “The constitution of the people of Awka Etiti (2004)” which incidentally, produced his predecessor, late Igwe J.O. Ojukwu (Akum 1) coronated on the April 26, 2008.

Late Igwe Ojukwu was the father of Prince Chuma Ojukwu, who recently declared to run for Anambra November 18, 2017 governorship poll under the platform of Mega Progressive Peoples Party (MPPP). recalled that Prince Ojukwu, who is claimed to be an immediate past Assistant National Secretary of APGA, while making his ambition known to the press claimed that he is the authentic Igwe of Awka Etiti but was denied ticket by Governor Willie Obiano.

Reacting to the claims in interview with, the Secretary of Awka Etiti Obi-in-Council, Ichie Ebele Enemuo (Ichie Ohamadike), explained that Prince Ojukwu never participated on the election that produced Igwe Ezeudenna, but is mainly using his late father’s regalia and paraphernalia to confuse non-indigenous people of Awka Etiti.

“Awka Etiti has no royal lineage and the Igwe-ship is not hereditary. Nkolofia village is the first village in Awka Etiti and therefore had the chance to produce the first Igwe on rotational arrangement as enshrined in the constitution of people of Awka Etiti (2004). Late Igwe Ojukwu was from Umuedeke kindred in Nkolofia and contested an election with one other candidate and won, before he was coroneted. He took his oath of office on the 26th April, 2008 as enshrined in our constitution and the end of his reign meant the end of Nkolofia village’s slot and the next village to produce the Igwe is Umunocha where our present monarch hails form” he added.

He further disclosed that post colonial Awka Etiti operated an Elders led system of government whereby Elders selected from the seven villages met regularly at the azu-oji (part of the Eke Market) to discuss and take decisions concerning the affairs of the community.

He said that “The arrival of colonial master and the introduction of the District commissioners and warrant chiefs gave birth to two prominent warrant chiefs in Awka Etiti, namely Chief Ezenwaosu and Chief Oyinatuigbo. Then in the mid 1950s, the government of Eastern Nigeria encouraged communities to have traditional rulers. Awka Etiti was one of the towns that decided to select and have one. Three candidates contested for the position because Awka Etiti has no royal lineage. But Igwe Silas Okaa-Omee Ezenwa won the election and was coroneted and reigned from 1957 to 2003 when he joined his ancestors.

“His last Ofala took place on the 23rd December, 2005. During the last years of Igwe S.O. Ezenwa, Awka Etiti was drafting a constitution which was finished before he travelled beyond. The constitution however came into effect in 2004 under the name “The constitution of the people of Awka Etiti (2004)”. The Chapter One, section 7 (i) of the constitution states that ‘the office of the Obi shall be filled by rotation amongst the indigenes of the seven villages of Awka Etiti in accordance with the following order of succession; Nkolofia (1st ), Umunocha (2nd), Ejighinandu (3rd), Iruowelle (4th), Umudunu (5th), Nnaba (6th) and Ogunzelle (7th).”

As a result, the scribe maintained that, “After the traditional one year period of mourning, the Awka Etiti Improvement Union approached the Nkolofia village to start the process of selecting the next Obi or Igwe. Two candidates contested but Chief Joachim O. Ojukwu won the contest on the 2nd June, 2007 and was coroneted on the April 26, 2008 as HRH Igwe J.O. Ojukwu (Akum 1, Igwe Ezeudo, the Obi of Awka Etiti). He held his first Ofala festival on 23rd December, 2009 and joined his ancestors on October, 2013. We held his final Ofala festival on 23rd December, 2013.

“At the end of one year mourning period, the Awka Etiti Improvement Union invited the next village (Umunocha village) to start the process of selecting the next Obi/Igwe. Four candidates contested the election conducted on March 28, 2016 which Chief Engr. Michael C. Ezeudenna won with over 60% of the total votes casted. He performed all pre-coronation traditional rites as enshrined in the constitution of the people of Awka Etiti (2004), and on 2nd November, 2016, he was coronated as Igwe Engr. Michael O. Ezeudenna (Igwe-Okagbado/Obi of Awka-Etiti). On the 3rdNovember, 2016, he received his certificate of recognition from the governor of Anambra State, Chief Dr. Willie Obiano at the government lodge, Awka. Also, Igwe Ezeudenna celebrated his first ofala festival on the 23rd December, 2016.”

He therefore warned Prince Chuma Ojukwu to stop parading himself as Traditional Ruler of Awka or risk been sued as impersonator.

It would also be recalled that the Anambra State High Court sitting in Ogidi, Idemili North Local Government Area recently struck out the suit No. HID/297/2016 he filed against the state governor, Willie Obiano, and three others namely, Attorney general and Commissioner for justice of Anambra State, and the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy matters, and Igwe Michael Ezeudenna, requesting among other things, an order of court to direct the 1st defendant to withdraw the certificate of recognition issued to 4th defendant on November 3, 2016 as the Obi of Awka-Etiti community; and issue it to him.

The Anambra State Chief Judge, Justice Peter Umeadi, who delivered the judgment, ruled that the case was stroke out because the fundamental law governing its proceeding was not properly constituted, even as he pointed out that there were irregularities in signing the petition by the applicant.

The Chief Judge added that the lawyer, who represented the applicant, was alien to the case, (showing that he was not mentioned in the initial submission of the case file), and his firm was not registered in Nigeria, among other things.



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