Re- Ogwashi-Uku Spineless Ultimatum to Admiralty University Ibusa on Change Of Address (Part 6)

Re- Ogwashi-Uku Spineless Ultimatum to Admiralty University Ibusa on Change Of Address (Part 6)

… The Incongruity of Obi Chude Okonjo with the Guinness Book of World Records of Forty-three Court Cases against him by his People

By Nwankwo T. Nwaezeigwe, PhD

In this concluding part of the series, we are going to look at how the contradictions of the historical foundation of Ogwashi-Uku became pervasively customized in its traditional kingship through the uncustomary appropriation of the throne by Obi Chude Okonjo. Obi Chude Okonjo knows that his occupation of that throne is riotously illegal in customary law, tradition and even within the context of the Supreme Court judgment that granted victory to the Okonjo-Emordi lineage against Umu Obi Dei Royal family.

Indeed, this uncustomary appropriation of the throne against the very legal ground on which the Supreme Court of the Federal Republic of Nigeria delivered its judgment against the Umu Obi Dei Royal Family, not only renders his current occupation of the throne of Ogwashi-Uku kingship illegal but provides a solid legal ground for Umu Obi Dei Royal family to proceed with another legal action to reclaim their throne.

Obi Dei was accused of usurping the throne of Obi Obahai based on the customary principle of primogeniture. In other words, this principle of succession is based on the tradition that only the eldest surviving son of an Obi of Ogwashi-Uku is the rightful successor to the throne. It was on this ground that Okonjo claimed the right of succession to the throne in the turn of the 20th century, since even though Emordi his father was not the first son of Obi Obahai, he became the rightful successor after his two elder brothers died without male children. It is therefore a customary truism that Obi Chude Okonjo’s occupation of the traditional throne of Ogwashi-Uku is a commotion in customary law and an albatross to lasting peace and unity in Ogwashi-Uku town.

The number one contradiction in Obi Chude Okonjo’s usurpation of the throne is that even if it is generally accepted but which is not the case, that Obi (Prof) Chukwuka Ben Okonjo his father, was the rightful successor to the throne, he is not by right of age and succession line the eldest son of his father, Obi (Prof). He was the third son, before the demise of the first and thus his subsequent position as the second son of Obi (Prof) Ben Okonjo.  His immediate senior brother is Barrister IK Okonjo who is currently in court with him over the throne.

The second contradiction is that even his father Obi (Prof) Chukwuka Ben Okonjo was not the direct descendant of the first son of Okonjo Emordi, thus making his occupation of the throne a contravention of the fundamental moral basis on which the Okonjo family challenged the Umu Dei over the throne. This is the basis of the pending suit between Prince Nathan Okonjo and Obi Chude Okonjo. As Prince Nathan Okonjo further explained:

“Succession to the traditional stool of Ogwashi-Uku is strictly by primogeniture. Prof. Okonjo was never in the line of succession and, therefore, only served as a regent. His third son, Chude, consequently, can never be Obi. The Obiship of Ogwashi-Uku does not go to the highest bidder, it is rooted in inviolable, ancient custom and tradition. Prof. Okonjo, in effect, usurped the throne. These issues form the bedrock of the suit A/159/2019, Prince Patrick Okonjo vs. Prince Nathan Okonjo and eight others, now before the High Court of Justice, Asaba.”

The third contradiction is that it was Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iwuala, the current Director-General of World Trade Organization who used her domineering influence as a public figure to impose traditional illegality on the people of Ogwashi-Uku, against the customary laws guiding succession to Ogwashi-Uku kingship. One therefore wonders if Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iwuala wqas properly advised before imposing her younger brother on the people of Ogwashi-Uku as Obi, against extant customary laws regarding succession to the kingship. In fact, this is the case of absolute power corrupting absolutely.

 Ironically, this was the same episode that resulted in the enthronement of the father of the current Obi of Ubulu-Uku by a woman, former Mrs. Amaechi Mrakpo, rubbishing the customary authority of the Onishe of Ubulu-Uku, Chief Emma Ejiofor to legally enthrone the Obi of Ubulu-Ulku. In fact, the Ubulu-Uku case was ridiculously based on the racist proposition that because the mother of the first son of Obi Ofulue was a European White lady, he was customarily excluded from the throne of his father in favour of the son of his mother’s housemaid. What a primitive way of thinking in a world of logic and sound moral judgment?

Yet the Nigerian judiciary is allowing this Black African racist presumptuousness to hold sway, while we belabour ourselves condemning White Americans and Europeans for racism against Black Africans. Most unfortunate however is that Ogwashi-Uku and Ubulu-Uku have become the only towns in Delta State, if not the entire Nigeria where women usurped the customary roles of kingmakers and maliciously appointed the traditional rulers of their towns by the force of their connections to the Government against subsisting customary laws. The question however is, how long shall these illegalities be sustained? Although the Delta State Government might present Staffs of Office, pay salaries and allowances of these two traditional rulers, however, on the long run, such actions can only be deemed legal if predicated on the sublime provisions of Delta State Traditional Rulers, Council and Chiefs Edict, 1998 as amended and in accordance of the customary laws guiding both kingships.

The first question Obi Chude Okonjo should therefore be asking himself is what is the position of Ogwashi-Uku customary law relating to succession to the kingship? The second question is to what extent does my present position as the Obi of Ogwashi-Uku justify that customary law? The third, if I usurped the position from my elder brother Barrister IK Okonjo the same way my father usurped it from the rightful successor by right of primogeniture in Okonjo Emordi lineage, was Obi Dei not therefore justified in usurping the same throne from Obi Obahai lineage? Finally, does my occupation of the throne not invalidate the Supreme Court judgment that based its ruling on right of primogeniture?

It does not therefore surprise anyone that a man who sits as the Obi of Ogwashi-Uku should be acting in such a manner that clearly defines the very antithesis of the customary values of the throne he purports to occupy; part of which is the illegal appropriation of the land of the same people he claims to rule. His symptomatic archaic carriage of authority that sets his attitude to power back to the pre-20th century era, when the authority of the Obi of Ogwashi-Uku was predicated on the absolute power of the Oba of Benin, renders not just his exposure to modern learning inviolably primitive in delivery, but his pugilist approach to issues an inviolable display of befuddled royal thuggery.

This explains why he holds the Guinness Book of Records of being the first and only traditional ruler in Nigeria facing 43 court cases, most of which border on his illegal and forcible acquisition of his people’s land. This was the conundrum he felt the best way to escape from was by making the self-embarrassing public utterance issuing ultimatum to Admiralty University to change its location address to Ogwashi-Uku; believing that such weird utterances would shore up his already evaporating  legitimacy as Obi of Ogwashi-Uku. But the people of Ogwashi-Uku are wiser than he had thought. The strategy of using one hand to appropriate the ancestral farmlands of his people and using the other to distract their attention by constructing a field of dispute over an already settled dispute against Ibusa was not enough to thrill them out of their struggles for their land against him.

This position is summed up by Mr. Elue Adigwe from Agidiase Quarters, which indeed is the largest of the nine Quarters of the town, in the following statement made in the course of mass protests against Obi Chude Okonjo:

“This peaceful protest is necessitated by the need to tell the general public that over 80 per cent of the crisis in Ogwashi-Uku comprises land-related matters induced by Obi Chude (Chukwude) Okonjo in his claim to be the ‘Trustee’ as well as the ‘Overlord’ and absolute ‘Owner’ of all lands in Ogwashi-Uku kingdom.”

The same Obi Chude (Chukwude) Okonjo is embroiled in land dispute with Ogbe Ubu Quarters, Ogwashi-Uku led by the Ihonor of Ogwashi-Uku, Chief Hyacinth Okolie over his attempt to claim the entire swath of their traditional farmland running from Ubu River through Saint Rose’s Grammar School to Aboh_Ogwashi as his own in his capacity as Obi of Ogwashi-Uku.

These and many other cases of illegal appropriation of his people’s ancestral lands were never experienced under previous traditional rulers of Ogwashi-Uku, particularly the Umu Dei Royal family.  The sensational claim over Admiralty University was therefore not an isolated display of Obi Chude Chukwude Okonjo’s inordinate imperious claim over lands that do not customarily and traditionally fall within his authority as Obi of Ogwashi-Uku. Mention had already been made of the cases of his clandestine of claim over lands historically belonging to Issele-Azagba as defined by Otulu, Olodu and Ewulu; all these involving court cases.

It was even ridiculous listening to Ogwashi-Uku people branding the people of Otulu as stranger-settlers. The question then is, what are Ogwashi-Uku people when defined in the context of Ikelike origins and by extension Ibusa? There is no gainsaying the fact that the theory of stranger-elements incontrovertibly defines the present people of Ogwashi-Uku outside Ikelike as much as it defines the people of Otulu. This is cumulatively supported by the incontrovertible evidence that there is no town in Igboland and beyond where Nri or Eri descendants settled as the original settlers.

This fact is sumptuously accepted by Ogwashi-Uku tradition. Prince Jacob Ogwu of Ogbe Ntiobi Village, Ogwashi-Uku and a first cousin to Obi Izediuno who was born in 1921, in an interview on November 7, 1987 recounted this tradition thus:

“Ikelike Quarter in Ogwashi-Uku was the original settlement in this place. They originally came from Benin. It was alleged that the first daughter of the Oba committed adultery with Ikelike; instead of punishing him, he was expelled. Ikelike then went and settled in this present site. By then Ogwashi men have not settled. Later Ogwashi people came down from Nshi and settled with the lkelike man.”

The present inhabitants of Ikelike Quarters were therefore already settled before Adaigbo, an itinerary Nri ritual agent joined them. The further claim that Ikelike people were of Benin origin was only a mere but very weak historical decoy to divest them of their original Ibusa origin and thus cannot be sustained by extant ethno-demographical evidence. Historical evidence defines every claim of Benin origin among the West Niger Igbo as the case of what Prof Adiele Afigbo referred to “hankering over prestige.”

The same theory applies to Akwukwu-Igbo whose purported founder, Okolie-Agu said to equally be an Nri peripatetic ritual agent migrated from Ogwashi-Uku but met the present Umuopu Quarters who claimed to be of Benin origin and Ogbeani Quarters claimed to have migrated from Ezi a member of Ezechime Clan already settled.

Indeed most of these Benin origin claimants were either Benin war captives or refugees from Igbo communities once situated on the eastern fringes of Benin kingdom who fled eastwards as a result of military pressure arising from the eastward expansion of the Benin Kingdom. This is the case of the Umuezechime Clan, whose first wave of eastward recoil migration was obstructed by Ubulu-Uku at the present Obior town; causing a northward detour to Onicha-Ugbo, Onicha-Ukwu, Issele-Uku, Issele-Mkpitime, Obomkpa, Onicha-Olona, Ezi, before further eastward detour from the point of Issele-Uku to Issele-Azagba and then to the present Onitsha east of Niger River, before being cut off again by Ubulu-Uku through the planting of Ubulu-Okiti settlement.

It is instructive to note that in Ogwashi-Uku, as in Akwukwu-Igbo and Illah, there is no common ancestral Ani Deity defining their origin from Nri, just as in the same case with Ogboli Quarters, Ibusa. The Guardian Ani Deity in Ogwashi-Uku is defined by Ani Ikelike. Similarly, the Guardian Ani Deities in Akwukwu-Igbo are domiciled with the two non-Nri aboriginal settlers, Umuopu and Ogbe-Ani Quarters. In Illah, it is Ani-Ukala that customarily holds sway.

Obi Chude Okonjo’s melodramatic ultimatum to Admiralty University was therefore the case of a whirlwind cyclically roaring in a manner paradoxically suggestive of strength while in the real sense is an empty and hapless pack of breeze held down by the forces of gravity. These forces of gravity are here defined by the unbreakable historical evidence that defines Ogwashi-Uku as a traditional vassal to Ibusa. This was what Arthur Glen Leonardv said about Ibusa in his book: The Lower Niger and its Tribes, published in 1906 by Macmillan, in London, at page 34:

“On the Western side of the Niger, Igbuzo occupies the same Levitical positions as the Nri, with the possible exception that they do not crown Kings. Both (Nri and Igbuzo) belong to the elder or patriarchal branch, possess the privilege of both circumcision and ornamenting with indigo the bodies of their younger kinsmen.”

Obi Chude Okonjo therefore sits on the throne of customary illegality, wears the garb of customary illegality and acts with audacious illegality, believing that the only means to get out of these illegalities was to embark on illegal display of his wobbling authority through illegal ultimatum. A kingdom without a defined ancestral Ani deity like Ogwaashi-Uku does not therefore carry the force of ancestral right of ownership of a land belonging to a Clan with customarily attested ancestral Ani deity like Ibusa.

Nwankwo T. Nwaezeigwe, PhD

Odogwu of Ibusa Clan

Leader, International Coalition against Christian Genocide in Nigeria (ICAC-GEN)

Website: https://icac-gen.org  Email: Nwaezeigwe.genocideafrica@gmail.com

Date: 28 December, 2023

N/B: This opinion is the reflection of the Authors thoughts not that of Portfolio Media

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