Tue. Oct 4th, 2022

By Chris O.O. Biose (The Ode-Uri),
chrisoobiose@gmail.com
www.boldtimes.com.ng
February 19, 2021.

HRM, Obi Francis Ijei ll, KSJ, KSS, JP.,
The Obi of Issele-Azagba,
Chairman,
Aniocha North Traditional Rulers Committee,
C/o Aniocha North Local Government Council,
Issele-Uku.

TRACING IDUMUJE-UGBOKO ROYAL GENEALOGY

I greet our respected kings of Aniocha North Local Government Area. Ndi Obi Aniocha North, Agwu.

I wish to present this humble appeal to Your Majesties as a follow-up to my OPEN LETTER TO NWOKO ROYAL FAMILY OF IDUMUJE-UGBOKO, CHIEFS AND ELDERS OF IDUMUJE CLAN dated July 30, 2020, a copy of which is attached for your information and ease of reference. Like the attached letter, this presentation is borne out of my keen desire for peace and concord in Idumuje-Ugboko and Aniocha North Local Government Area (LGA) in general, based on enlightened discourse and justice, in accordance with the age-long culture and traditions of our people.

On January 29, 2021, 8:00 AM/IN NEWS, I saw a news story in Vanguard newspaper ONLINE entitled “Idumuje-Ugboko gets its King at last!” The publication did not indicate the name of the writer of the story.

I later found that at its meeting held barely 24 hours prior to the Vanguard ONLINE publication, January 28, 2021, the Aniocha North Traditional Rulers Committee (ANTRC) resolved to approve the application of Prince Solomon Eziokwubundu Nwabuokei Nwoko to be recognized as the Obi of Idumuje-Ugboko. It all seemed so perfectly choreographed.

On the strength of that resolution, the Chairman of ANTRC, HRM, Obi Francis Ijei ll, KSJ, KSS, JP, the Obi of Issele-Azagba, by a letter dated January 28, 2021, requested the Government of Delta State to recognize the said Prince Solomon as Obi of Idumuje-Ugboko and present him with Staff of Office.

With all due respect to the venerable position of Traditional Rulers, I wish to submit that the resolution of Your Majesties is subject to discussion, analysis and review because the ANTRC is not a military dictatorship whose decisions, right or wrong, are not subject to question by reason of exercise of overwhelming military might. I am also sure that Your Majesty and some of your colleagues are aware of the long and special relationship between your erstwhile colleague, HRM Obi (Dr.) James Ikechukwu Anyasi ll, JP, the Obi of Idumuje-Unor, of blessed memory, and my humble self, which made the highly revered Monarch to bestow on me, on July 17, 2004, the Honourary Chieftaincy Title of Ode-Uri of Idumuje-Unor (Recorder of Indelible Truth). It is therefore with utmost good faith that I place the facts available to me on this matter at your disposal and I believe that this will aid Your Majesties in taking a more informed position in the interest of justice and peace in Idumuje-Ugboko and Aniocha North LGA as a whole.

Reconstruction of Historical Events
The sequence of events that informed the resolution of ANTRC dates back to foreign incursion into Idumuje-Ugboko in 1902, which is nearly 120 years ago. These events may be summarised as follows:

(i) Prince Solomon Eziokwubundu Nwabuokei Nwoko is the eldest son of Prince Nkanya, who is the eldest son of Prince Nwabuokei, who is said to be the eldest son and heir apparent of Obi Nwoko. However, Prince Nwabuokei was arrested in 1904 and deported to Calabar prison for his alleged role during the Ekwumekwu Resistance against British incursion into the town. The said Prince Nwabuokei was later released from prison but was never crowned or recognized as Obi of Idumuje-Ugboko.
(ii) It is claimed that during the travails of Prince Nwabuokei, the colonialists conspired to divert the royal lineage from Prince Nwabuokei Nwoko to Omorhusi 1 who was on the throne in Idumuje-Ugboko at the time of the British invasion in 1902.
(iii) Unlike some indigenes that resisted the foreigners and supported Prince Nwabuokei, Omorhusi 1 was said to have welcomed the foreigners with open arms and gladly given his son, Nkeze, to be trained as a teacher by the colonial missionaries that worked in conjunction with colonial security forces at that time.
(iv) Omorhusi 1 joined his ancestors on January 23, 1928 and his eldest son, Nkeze succeeded him immediately as Omorhusi ll. He was formally installed on February 15, 1928, according to records at the Idumuje-Ugbo Royal Palace.
(v) Obi Nkeze Nwoko ll was succeeded by his eldest son, Obi Albert Nwoko lll in 1955. However, the installation ceremony was delayed because he was a civil servant and the Nigeria-Biafra war also occurred to further delay his official installation which was eventually performed 26 years later in 1981. He reigned until he joined his ancestors on February 6, 2017.
(vi) The eldest son and Heir Apparent of Obi Albert Nwoko lll is Obi Chukwuonso Nwoko lV, who immediately succeeded his father in the traditional manner.
(vii) Presentation of Staff of Office to Obi Chukwunonso Nwoko lV is opposed by Prince Solomon and some indigenes of Idumuje-Ugboko who presented Prince Solomon Eziokwubundu Nwabuokei Nwoko, a grandson of Prince Nwabuokei Nwoko, to be recognised as the rightful successor to Obi Albert Nwoko lll.
Let me state from the outset that I have the greatest respect for all activists and heroes of Ekwemukwu Resistance Movement. These precursors of Anioma nationalism deserve abiding reverence from all generations of Anioma patriots and this special honour must be extended to their descendants.
Grounds of Recommendation by ANTRC
The principal ground for objecting to presentation of staff of office to Obi Chukwunonso Nwoko lV and presenting same to Prince Solomon Eziokwubundu Nwabuokei Nwoko is that the great grandfather of Obi Chukwunonso Nwoko lV, Obi Omorhusi 1, was not the proper person to occupy the throne at the time he did so in the opening decade of the 20th century.

The only document presented to the ANTRC that attempts to create historical grounds for the claim that Prince Solomon is the rightful heir to Nwoko is that entitled THE FACTS OF HISTORY IN IDUMUJE-UGBOKO KINGSHIP TUSSLE written by Prince Walters Onyeisi Ugochukwu Eziashi, which is also online. The veracity of claims contained in that document is however questionable.

First, I wish to observe that reconstruction of events that took place over 100 years ago, at a time when records of those events were not taken as they occurred, must be approached with a dose of intellectual humility. However, the so-called FACTS OF HISTORY presented by Prince Eziashi is replete with factual errors, wild assumptions, unwarranted interpretations, unsubstantiated claims and a general tone of arrogant certainty.

Prince Eziashi ingeniously combines a few historical facts from Mr. Kerr’s 1937 Intelligence Report with heaps of untruths and tales that are fancifully woven. The stories are clearly designed to achieve a specific political objective in relation to the obi-ship dispute at Idumuje-Ugboko. Indisputably, every one is prone to sentiments and personal interests but no one is entitled to invent history or present his imagination as historical facts.
.
Garbled Historiography
In view of undue weight which the ANTRC placed on the document presented by Prince Eziashi, it is absolutely necessary to place it in paper in proper perspective.

The document opens with a patent untruth that “Onaifo-Odogwu and grandfather of Obi Nwoko l hailed from Uzebu Quarters in ancient Bini kingdom”. This claim is substantially at variance with records at the Idumuje-Unor which is indisputably the parent of Idumuje-Ugboko as clearly recognized by Mr. R. B. Kerr at page 4 of his Intelligence Report, 1937, cited by Eziashi.

This story is not at the core of the current dispute in Idumuje-Ugboko but it is necessary to tell it to debunk the false premise and imaginary tale with which Prince Eziashi laced his presentation.

The correct story of the origin of Idumuje-Ugboko is that two close relatives, from Idumu-Erhabor in Imeogbe-Isagbeme Village, namely, Nwoko and Igbenabor, vied for the Odogwu chieftaincy title in what was then Idumuje towards the close of the 18th century, according to Idumuje sources. Nwoko was the elder and wealthier but he lost to the quiet diplomacy of the younger man, Igbenabor.

Nwoko could not entertain the prospect of living in subservience to his younger relative. In protest, he took his bag and cutlass, retreated far into the forest, made a hut and remained there. As I wrote at page 7 of the 2nd Edition of my book entitled DAWN OF A NEW ERA: Biography of Obi James Ikechukwu
Anyasi ll, JP, the Obi of Idumuje-Unor, published in 2004 (1st edition, 1991), available online at www.boldtimescom.ng:
“Nwoko was not only proud; he was also a brave man. Wild beasts occupied those hitherto impenetrable jungles. Moreover, inter-tribal conflicts were frequent. But Nwoko brave them all.”

It must also be noted that one of the distinguishing cultural characteristics of descendants of Isagbeme, of which Nwoko was one, is that they abhor injustice and insolence. “Isagbeme aso uya.”

Nwoko’s popularity in Idumuje was such that some of his relatives in Isagbeme and a large number of his loyalists from virtually all villages in Idumuje, mainly young men and their families, traced him and joined him in his farm, famously known as Ugbo-Nwoko (Nwoko’s farm). This farm became the cradle of the prosperous town of Idumuje-Ugboko. It was an Exodus. These migrants from Idumuje formed the cradle of Idumuje-Ugboko and that is why most of the villages and kindred in Idumuje-Ugboko are named after similar villages and kindred in present-day Idumuje-Unor. This can be confirmed from the list of villages (ogbe) and kindred (idumu) in Idumuje-Ugboko contained in a publication entitled A BRIEF HISTORY OF IDUMUJE-UGBOKO written by HRM Obi Chukwunonso Nwoko lV, the Obi of Idumuje-Ugboko, available online. The fact that migrants from other parts of the country later joined Ugbo-Nwoko does not detract from the true story of the origin of the town.

This writer hails from Imeogbe-Isagbeme Village in Idumuje-Unor, the same village where Nwoko took off to his farm after losing the Odogwu tussle. Till this day, his blood relatives in Imeogbe-Isagbeme and Idumuje-Unor in general fondly regard him as one of their own. Indeed, Idumu-Isagbeme in Ogbe-Obi of Idumuje-Ugboko is made up of immediate relatives of Nwoko who left Idumuje and followed him to his farm in protest against the decision of the king in Idumuje at that time. Only a few years ago, late Diokpa Anene of Idumu-Isagbeme in Idumuje-Ugboko was the traditional head of Ebo-Isagbeme (Diokpa Ebo Isagbeme) in both Idumuje-Ugboko and Idumuje-Unor.

Although Idumuje-Ugboko became administratively independent of Idumuje-Unor, Nwoko had made sure that traditional practices established in Idumuje were strictly maintained in Idumuje-Ugboko. He was fully conversant with culture and tradition of Idumuje and was poised to become the Odogwu (third in command to the king) of Idumuje until the decision on the chieftaincy title went against him. He maintained historic links with Idumuje-Unor in three significant respects.

First, Nwoko built his throne in the pattern of the throne at Idumuje-Unor. He was not only a noble man, but being from Imeogbe-Isagbeme, he was fully conscious of the special historical relationship between what was then Imeogbe and the Idumuje monarchy institution. In particular, the throne of Idumuje-Ugboko bore striking resemblance with that of Obi-Idumuje as he was then known. Like the throne at Idumuje-Unor, that at Idumuje-Ugboko has three steps (which has special meaning in Idumuje history). history Very significantly too, as with that of Idumuje-Unor, the mud seat was wider than was meant for one individual. This was not a mere artistic design; it had specific meaning and purpose.

Nwoko knew all the shrines in Imeogbe-Ihunmor and Okwunye villages and their significance in Idumuje history. As a noble man in ancient Idumuje (now Idumuje-Unor), he had performed all necessary traditional ceremonies requisite for transition to manhood and a position of nobility. These include ime-ohai, icha-aka-dibie, ichi-nmor and he was primed for Odogwu title before his famous migration. He was quite knowledgeable about the culture of his root. It was therefore quite easy for him to and his followers from the parent kingdom, to construct the throne (ukpo-eze) of his new domain in exactly the same pattern with that of the parent kingdom.

Second, Nwoko replicated the major shrines in the parent kingdom in his new kingdom. The major shrines are:
Ani-Ozuzu – (sacred meeting place of the king and nobles of the kingdom)
Ohai – (patron deity of Idumuje)
Ndi-Ichie – dedicated to elders
Osonobua – dedicated to Almighty God
Ihu-Nze-Obi – dedicated to instruments used for chiefs
Okedo – the Idumuje-Ugboko version of Obinabu in Idumuje-Unor

Third, Nwoko maintained the same calendar of annual traditional festivals with the parent kingdom. These included Ilo-Nze-Obi, Iba-Nzu, Iwaji, Ogbanigbe and Ine festivals. In particular, when the Ohai Priest in Idumuje-Unor was observing the period of scred seclusion (iba-nzu-Ohai), the same taboos were observed in both kingdoms.

As recently as 1937, Mr. R. B. Kerr, at Paragraph 13 of his Intelligence Report to the British Government, noted as follows:
“A complete administrative split was made and Idumuje-Ugboko has its own independently appointed Council which managed all matters concerning the village without any reference to the parent village. But in other spheres, some links remained, the Priest of Idumuje-Unor, for instance, fixed the date of the festival of Ifejokwu (farm juju) for both villages, sending messengers to the Obi of Idumuje-Ugboko.”
Evidently, British administrators used derogatory terminologies to describe indigenous cultural practices and portrayed most traditional sacramental as ‘juju’.
These important historic linkages between the two kingdoms were maintained for over 100 years. These linkages were however severed sometime in the 1980s during the reign of HRM Obi (Dr.) James Ikechukwu Anyasi ll, JP, the Obi of Idumuje-Unor, when a dispute arose within Idumuje-Unor resulting in delays in fixing dates of traditional festivals. The inability of Idumuje-Unor to resolve its internal differences regarding fixing of dates for traditional festivals, was not pleasing to Idumuj-Ugboko elders. Frustrated at having to wait indefinitely for Idumuje-Unor to fix dates for traditional festivals, which were time-bound, Idumuje-Ugboko started fixing dates for its own traditional festivals without having to wait for Idumuje-Unor to fix dates for both kingdoms.
Foreign Incursion into Idumuje-Ugboko
In order to further refute the misleading story of dynastic diversion by colonial administrators, it is necessary to provide an authentic summary of British incursion into Idumuje-Ugboko, particularly as it affects the king of the town.

It is incontestable that the advent of British influence in this part of the world was a chronicle of atrocities and dynastic change was part of their tactic to consolidate their authority over conquered peoples. But as I noted at page 8 of my attached letter of July 30, 2020, it is It is “absolutely necessary to move beyond a generalized account of British atrocities in Anioma land during the Ekwumekwu uprising and present verifiable facts to support any contention of dynastic change in Idumuje-Ugboko.”

The most specific and comprehensive written account of colonial incursion into Idumuje Clan was given by a missionary, Miss Frances Dennis (later Mrs. Frances Hensley). During her itinerations, she kept a journal in which she recorded incidents between 1900 and 1909, and this is recorded in her book entitled NIGER DAWN. This important publication was brought to the attention of the Nigerian public during the centenary celebrations of the Church Missionary Society (CMS) Mission in Idumuje-Ugboko in 2002.
The people of Idumuje-Ugboko wanted to live in peace without interference from whites.As a part of the conflict known in history as Ekwumekwu Resistance (agha Ekwumekwu), the people of Idumuje-Ugboko violently resisted the unwanted presence of whites in their town. In response colonial soldiers were sent to rampage the town as well as surrounding towns and villages. Permit me to quote extensively from this book. Miss Dennis writes:
“A Government expedition had been sent to punish them and the towns of the ringleaders were destroyed….Every house which the expeditionary force found standing in Idumuje, they destroyed as the Ekumeku had destroyed the rest. Nobody was killed because they all disappeared in the bush. The Christians had fled from the Ekumeku and they in turn fled from the soldiers…
“Everything they (Ekwuekwu) had destroyed, they were commanded to restore.
“None of the Ekumeku were allowed to build their houses until they had rebuilt all they had destroyed.
“It was difficult to find out those who were implicated in the rising. There was no doubt that the witch-doctors and prophets were at the bottom of all the murders that took place.
“The ringleaders of the Ekumeku were in prison, and I found those who were left felt their punishment was just, and certainly bore me no grudge.
“Government administrators were seeking out the guilty leaders of the rising, judging and punishing and resettling the area. The chiefs were subdued, the witchdoctors were in hiding and all was sufficiently quiet to allow white women to re-start their work among women in the Idumuje District.”
Concerning other nearby towns, Miss Dennis writes:
“Ofuani, King of Igbodo had just come out of prison, where he had had been for his part in the Ekumeku rising.”
At Akumazi, “the father of the young king had been killed while resisting the soldiers; he being one of the ringleaders of the Ekumeku.”
From the above account by Miss Dennis, it is clear that troops of the Royal Niger Company (RNC) wreaked havoc in Idumuje-Ugboko but they did not kill or remove the sitting king, probably because he did not resist them. The foreigners merely recognized the king that they met on ground. In spite of violent protest by some indigenes against the presence of whites, the king welcomed them with open arms.

The situation in Idumuje-Ugboko is unlike Idumuje-Unor where the king and his chiefs resolved to resist the whites. The chiefs however advised the king to retreat into the jungle within his territory where he remained with his family and aides until the end of the Ekwumekwu uprising in 1910.

When the king of Idumuje-Unor eventually returned to his palace, some of his close relatives and aides remained behind to tend their farms. This outpost later became Aniofu.

Genealogy of Idumuje-Ugboko Kings
The BBC English Dictionary (HarperCollins Publishers, 1992, p 480) defines genealogy as “the history of a particular family, describing who each person married and who their children were.” As in most parts of Nigeria, descent or lineage in Idumuje Clan is traced through the father. It refers is a group of persons united by genealogically demonstrable line of ancestors of at least three and at most six generations back. It is a corporate group and has perpetual continuity – members die and new ones are born into it. Qualification for membership is birth into the lineage. A series of rulers who belong to the same family, or the period during which such a family is continuously in power in a territory, is often referred to as a Dynasty.

In their book entitled The History and the Culture of Idumuje-Ugboko, Oyibo Chiazor, Chijioke Okolie and Somnazu Nwoko trace the Nwoko Dynasty of Idumuje-Ugboko as follows:

Nwoko
Amoje
Omorhusi 1
Omorhusi ll (who later became Nwoko ll)
Albert Ogwudiegwu Nwoko lll

In my book entitled HISTORY AND TRADITIONS OF IDUMUJE CLAN published in 2019, I traced the Idumuje-Ugboko Dynasty as follows:

Nwoko
Amoje
Omorhusi 1
Omorhusi ll (who later became Nwoko ll)
Albert Ogwudiegwu Nwoko lll
Chukwunonso Nwoko lV

Regarding Omorhusi 1, I wrote at page 130 of my book:

“The date of birth of Omorhusi l is unknown. However, the leader of the CMS missionaries that arrived Idumuje-Ugboko in 1902 when Omorhusi was on the throne, in her book, NIGER DAWN, describe the King as a “a simple youth”.

In their submission to the ANTRC, some indigenes of Idumuje-Ugboko presented a strange genealogy of Idumuje-Ugboko Royal Family as follows:

Nwoko 1
Nwabuokei
Nkanya
Solomon

This account is totally novel and unique. It is not corroborated by any credible historical source. The claims that Omorhusi 1 was not a son of Obi Nwoko, that he was not a native of Idumuje-Ugboko and was not a king but a mere “native doctor” are as strange as they challenge belief. If he was not a king, why was he allowed to occupy the Palace up to the time of arrival of the whites in 1902? How could a stranger have occupied the Palace of such a proud and self-assertive people like IdumujeUgboko?

The insinuation that Obi Omorhusi ll changed his name to Obi Nwoko ll because he knew that he was not a son of Nwoko, is imaginary. It could have been due to a desire to maintain the name of the founder, Nwoko Dynasty.
If the people of Idumuje-Ugboko at that time were bold, assertive and courageous enough to confront the whites in armed struggle, how could they have tolerated an impostor native doctor to occupy their throne?

What is more, Ogbe-Obi village in Idumuje-Ugboko bristles with knowledgeable and prominent personalities who have made their mark in various fields of human endeavour. These include top administrators, senior military and police officers, university dons, jurists, engineers, world-famous architects and other professionals as well as prominent business men, name them. It is unreasonable to believe that over the past 100 years, none of these distinguished personalities could discover the truth about a supposed dynastic diversion.

Moreover, Nwabuokei family of Idumuje-Ugboko has produce renowned personalities in the past 100 years including Col. Sam Nwabuokei who was a prominent military officer. It is difficult to believe that he did not realize that his family had a right to the throne of Idumuje-Ugboko.

It took an intractable land dispute that tore the Idumuje-Ugboko Royal Family into warring factions for some individuals to suddenly discover a new history of the royal lineage in Idumuje-Ugboko.

Viewed dispassionately, the thesis of dynastic diversion that lasted for over 100 years before it was discovered by such a knowledgeable people, is contrary to common sense and reason.

Voyage of Discovery
It appears that Aniocha North Traditional Rulers allowed themselves to be led astray in a futile voyage of discovery stretching back to over a century arising from fanciful tales which are historically unsubstantiated.

The key fact which the ANTRC failed to grasp is that Omorhusi 1 was the king on the throne when the colonialists arrived at Idumuje-Ugboko in 1902. They did not appoint him. They only recognized him as king and treated him as such. There is no record that anybody in Idumuje-Ugboko told the colonialists that Omorhusi was not king or objected to his authority. He was king of the town, both de facto and de jure.

It is impossible to deny that colonial masters had vested interests but in the case of Idumuje-Ugboko, there is no verifiable evidence of dynastic diversion, only rumours which carry no persuasive weight.

The bulk of the presentation in support of Prince Solomon consists of affirmations by some chiefs and elders of Idumuje-Ugboko which are untenable by reason of their inconsistency with recorded history of the town. Affirmations by Presidents-General of Idumuje-Ugboko Development Union (IUDU) are irrelevant because development unions are are not part of traditional institutions in Idumuje Clan. All the affirmations in support of Prince Solomon are however neutralized and cancelled out by earlier affirmations by another set of chiefs and elders of Idumuje-Ugboko. So, all that is left for consideration are tradition and factual evidence, not a long list of affirmations.

The critical point is that these affirmations by some chiefs cannot retrospectively vitiate the executive act of recognition of a king by a succeeding government in power long after the act was consummated. Even assuming, but not conceding that Obi Omorhusi 1 was not a biological son of Nwoko 1 as claimed by promoters of a new version of Idumuje-Ugboko history, that argument does not invalidate the kingship of Obi Omorhusi 1 and the rights of his successors. The pertinent point is that he was recognized as king by the colonial government as well as the Idumuje-Ugboko community at tnatt time.

The kingship of Omorhusi 1 was recorded by the British missionary, Miss Dennis (later Mrs. Hensely) in her book, NIGER DAWN. As far as I know, the book is the only authentic record of events that took place in Idumuje-Ugboko during the first decade of the 20th century, written by an eye witness and participant in the making of history of the town. When a government in power recognizes a king, it would be an absurd and socially disruptive enterprise for a succeeding government to attempt to quash that recognition about 120 years after the executive act was completed.

Based on the logic of ANTRC, distant descendants of sacked kings during the period of colonial penetration into various parts of Nigeria reserve the perpetual right to remove incumbents and reoccupy their positions once held by their ancestors.

I respectfully submit that whatever oral evidence is presented to Your Majesties on the kingship of Idumuje-Ugboko is overweighed by superior evidence of written records of the person as well as the indisputable fact that the colonial government recognized Omorhusi as king of Idumuje-Ugboko at that time.

Stretching the Primogeniture Rule
The ANTRC was right in asserting that the primary rule of succession to the throne in most communities in the LGA is by primogeniture or what is known in Idumuje as “Nwa sote okwulu” (first son grows up to inherit).

The Traditional Rulers however appear to stretch this principle beyond its ordinary meaning when it resolved that the grandson of a prince, who was never a king, should be made a king long after the death of his grand-father. If this strange principle is sustained by Government, that a distant descendant whose father was not a king, could vie for kingship, there is no limit to flood of new kingship claims that such a decision would unleash in Aniocha North LGA.

This unfortunate decision could open most Traditional stools in Aniocha North LGA to challenges as there would be nothing to prevent distant and improbable claimants from 100 or more years ago from bringing claims to unseat present incumbents.

Questionable Role of Some Chiefs and Elders of Idumuje-Ugboko
It is observed that most of those chiefs and elders who recommended Prince Solomon to the ANTRC had served as chiefs and elders under the kingship of HRM, Obi Albert Nwoko lll, father of the incumbent king. One begins to wonder at what point since the passing of Obi Albert Nwoko lll in 2017 that these chiefs and elders discovered that Obi Albert Nwoko lll whom they served, was not a true descendant of Nwoko. If they realized it during the lifetime of Obi Albert Nwoko lll, why did they not speak out and seek justice for Prince Solomon at that time?

In particular, why did they wait for the intractable land dispute that fractured Idumuje-Ugboko Royal Family into warring camps, to realize that the present occupant of the throne, Obi Chukwunonso Nwoko lV, is not the true heir? The circumstances of their new-found love for truth are too overly prudential to inspire confidence in the nobility of their intentions.

Inconsistency of ANTRC
The dispute in Idumuje-Ugboko riveted beyond Aniocha North LGA because Traditional Rulers in the LGA showed themselves incapable of resolving it. There were protests in the Delta State capital, Asaba, the Federal capital, Abuja and ripples throughout the country and the Diaspora. Sometime in 2019, the Delta North Traditional Council wisely intervened by setting up a Peace Committee to resolve it. Three Traditional Rulers from Anioch North LGA were members of the Peace Committee, namely:

HRM, Obi Victor Chukwumaleze, Obi of Onicha-Ugbo
HRM, Obi Charles Anyasi lll, Obi of Idumuje-Unor
HRM, Obi (Engr) Nduka Ezeagwuna, Obi of Issele-Uku

These three Traditional Rulers from Aniocha North LGA joined their colleagues from Aniocha South and Oshimili North LGAs in discussion and consultations with all parties concerned, to resolve the dispute under the chairmanship of HRM, Obi Dr. Emmanuel Efeizomor ll, OON, the Obi of Owa Kingdom, Ika North-East LGA. After consultations and candid deliberations, the Peace Committee issued a 6-point communiqué on January 20, 2020, in the following terms:

(i) That all cases pending in court relating to the dispute in Idumuje-Ugboko be withdrawn with immediate effect. Also, no new case or petition should be accommodated.
(ii) That HRM, Obi Nonso Nwoko and Hon. Prince Ned Nwoko having agreed to close ranks before the mediators, should resume co-operation with a view to advancing the peace process.
(iii) That the Counsels to the disputing parties as a matter of urgency should work out modalities for the cases, petitions to be withdrawn and report to the committee. Taking into consideration that the Royal Father have placed a curse against continuation of the cases and petitions in Idumuje-Ugboko
(iv) That all chiefs of Idumuje-Ugboko should resume their respective duties in the Kingdom immediately.
(v) That all cases of banishment, fines and pronouncements are hereby rescinded and should not be repeated in the future.
(vi) That all parties to the dispute are bound by this resolution.

There are scarcely any chiefs and elders, not least kings in Aniocha North LGA that are not aware of this communiqué which was received with a sigh of relief by concerned indigenes of the LGA. It is also believed that the decisions arrived at by Delta North kings under the auspices of the Peace Committee, has been before the Government of Delta State since that time.

The inconsistency which the ANTRC displayed in their resolution of January 28 2021, cited in Paragraph 3 of this letter must therefore be a matter of serious concern to all well-meaning indigenes of Aniocha North LGA. It seems a bit unfair, to say the least, for ANTRC to subject the Government of Delta State and indeed the entire population of Aniocha North LGA that have followed the matter with keen interest, to contradictory verdicts on the same issue that had been exhaustively thrashed by their Delta North colleagues. The conflicting signals to citizens and the Government on the same issue .gives the impression that Traditional Rulers are incapable of resolving issues arising from tradition and that undermines their traditional authority before Government and indigenes alike.

Most indigenes regard the words of Traditional Rulers as well considered and this is the basis of the high regard for such personages. If their words can no longer be taken as sacrosanct, it derogates from the reverence which indigenes have for their kings. If Aniocha North gets to a stage where people do not take their kings seriously, then the society is in deep seas. Indeed, the right-about-turn of ANTRC in the crisis in Idumuje-Ugboko is capable of eroding public confidence in their capacity for simple truth. Members of ANTRC were part of the Peace Committee set up by the Delta North Traditional Rulers Council only for them to turn full circle a few months later.

Way Forward
I have in the past few months made contact with some parties to the dispute in Idumuje-Ugboko with a view to implementing the contents of the communiqué issued by the Peace Committee over a year ago. The Peace Committee referred to Obi Chukwunonso Nwoko IV as Obi of Idumuje-Ugboko and one wonders what happened between then and January 28 this year to wipe out that recognition.

I believe that it would boost the credibility of Royal Fathers if they speak with one voice rather than allow the dispute in Idumuje-Ugboko to create divisions within the fold of Delta North Traditional Rulers.

That history and posterity may remembers our Royal Fathers for good, I respectfully appeal to Your Majesties to defer and revert to the decisions already taken by Delta North Traditional Rulers Council as recorded in their communiqué cited in this letter.

Respectfully submitted for your kind consideration and appropriate action.

Diokpa Chris O.O. Biose (The Ode-Uri)

Copy to
(1) His Excellency,
Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa,
Governor of Delta State,
Government House, Asaba.

(2) The Permanent Secretary,
Directorate of Chieftaincy Affairs, Asaba.

(3) The Chairman,
Aniocha North Local Government Council, Issele-Uku.

(4) HRM, Obi (Dr.) Emmanueal Efeizomor ll, OON,
The Obi of Owa Kingdon, Owa-Oyibu.

(5) HRM Obi (Engr.) Nduka Ezeagwuna, Obi of Issele-Uku.

(6) HRM, Obi Kingsley Ofuokwu lll, Obi of Obior

(7) HRM Obi Victor Chukwumaleze, Obiof Onicha-Ugbo

(8) HRM Ibi Ezedimbu E. Nkebakwu lll, Obi of Ugboba,

(9) HRM Obi Emmanuel Mohanye, Obi of Ezi

(10) HRM Obi Ayo Isinyemeze, Obi of Ugbodu,

(11) HRM Obi CChristopher Ogoh l,JP, Obi of Ukwunzu

(12) HRM Obi Samuel Otiegede lll, Obi of Idumuogo

(13) HRM Obi Sunday Olisenweokwu, Obi of Ogodor

(14) HRM Obi Christopher Diji, Obi of Onicha-Olona,

(15) HRM O I Raphel Agbamuche ll, Obi of Onicha-Ukwu

(16) HRM Obi Charles Anyasi lll, Obi of Idumuje-Unor

(17) HRM Obi Chukwunonso Nwoko lV, Obi of Idumuje-Ugboko

(18) Prince Solomon Eziokwubundu Nwabuokei Nwoko, Idumuje-Ugboko.

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