Okalakwu Igbariam: When a royal hunter becomes the hunted

By Onyema Agha

At a time when Ndi Anambra have started to celebrate the developmental strides of the revolutionary government of Chief Willie Obiano, the executive governor of Anambra State, there are pockets of distractions from here and there either caused by the defection of Mr Peter Obi, from All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) to PDP, or by actions and inactions of political stakeholders who are growing grey hairs over the rising popularity of Governor Willie Obiano.

To express their support and love for the new administration and its focused leader, several groups within and outside the state have paid solidarity visits to the action governor; the youths, the women groups, local government councilors and chairmen as well as the presidents-general and market leaders. All expressing joy and total satisfaction with governor Obiano's approach to governance, the immediate take off of his government and the glaring improvements recorded in such a short time. The common and greatest cause of happiness amongst these groups is the unprecedented achievements of governor Obiano in security sector.

Like a thunderbolt, the profile of Chief Willie Obiano continued to soar, as a man who has beaten all his doubters and performed beyond expectation. APGA through its National Leadership appointed governor Obiano as the Board of Trustees Chairman and its National Leader while the State House of Assembly via legislative proceedings passed Vote of Confidence on the new found leader and voice of Ndi Igbo, Chief Willie Obiano.

As the custodians of Igbo culture and respected leaders of the people, the traditional rulers carried on from where their wards stopped by pouring encomiums on governor Obiano. The solidarity shown by the royal fathers were widely applauded as their action symbolically represents the feelings of Ndi Anambra both home and abroad. Every onye Anambra celebrated the harmony between the royal fathers and the people except one man, Igwe Nkeli N. Kelly, who is known for his controversial stand on virtually all matters.

The divisive Igwe of Igbariam community, who has never hidden his detestation for a peaceful co-existence while enmeshed in a life of mystery hurriedly put up an advertorial citing “Royal Fraud in Anambra State” condemning the actions of his fellow Igwes and threatening heaven and earth, his whine being that he was not duly consulted. Imagine when one man, with a moot character, queries the integrity of notable kings like the Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Orizu of Nnewi, Eze Amusu of Mbaukwu, etc. Though it is worrisome to see a royal father denying an action done by his colleagues but keen observers could bet that Igwe Nkeli N. Kelly of Igbariam was living a life he is inured to or more so being coerced into pitching tent against a governor he publicly swore (at Oyi Local Government Headquarters, Nteje) to protect. He suddenly became a royal hunter and the governor of Anambra State became the game. Little did we know that Igwe Kelly has been at war with his own subjects. His reign begins and ends within the four walls of his palace. A leader that maltreats his followers, extorts money from farmers and rudely rides on autocratic path without reflection on the people's feeling. Thus, his inability to notice that the good people of Igbariam are solidly behind the government of Chief Willie Obiano.

Igbariam almost went violent in reaction to the ill-advised advertorial titled “Royal Fraud in Anambra State” signed by their Igwe, Okalakwu Igbariam and published at page 60 of Daily Sun of Tuesday, November 4, 2014. The Town Union known as Igbariam Progress Union swung into action to prevent breakdown of law and order as the royal hunter has become the hunted. Representing and speaking for the entire Igbariam Community, the town union published a disclaimer on page 51 of Daily Sun of Wednesday, November 19, 2014, dissociating themselves from the malicious publication by their Igwe. It became a case of a king without kingdom.

As the Igwe expressed disaffection against governor Obiano, the entire community declared as follows and I quote, “The traditional ruler of Igbariam, Igwe Nkeli N Kelly, acted alone and on his own personal volition in sponsoring such a publication and as such the action should never be attributed to the entire Igbariam Community. This is clearly evidenced in the OKALAKWU KINGDOM LETTERHEAD used by His royal Highness in the publication which listed only his family members as trustees of Okalakwu Kingdom. Consequently, it is very important to clarify that the publication by Igwe N. N. Kelly is clearly his personal action for and on behalf of his family, and not an action for an on behalf of the Igbariam Community”.

The community did not stop at disowning its own king but went further to emphasize that; “We again, for ourselves and for the Igbariam Community, hereby pledge our unflinching and filial support for the person and government of His Excellency, Chief Dr Willie Mmaduabuchi Obiano, the Executive Governor of Anambra State, and we will continue to support his administration as a Community. May god continue to protect and guide His Excellency in the execution of his vibrant and unprecedented development and security works in Anambra State”.

Finally, the people of Igbariam are obviously enjoying the stewardship of Chief Willie Obiano's administration while the king without a kingdom has learnt a personal version of the popular story “the rich also cry”.

Onyema Agha ([email protected]) writes from Igbariam, Anambra State

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