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Why Ndieze Imo Lost Their Dignity

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The 17th Century great sage, Baltasar Gracian, once said, “Never lose your self-respect, nor be too familiar with yourself when you are alone. Let your integrity itself be your own standard of rectitude, and be more indebted to the severity of your own judgment of yourself than to all external precepts.

Desist from unseemly conduct, rather out of respect for your own virtue than for the structures of external authority. Come to hold yourself in awe, and you will have no need of Seneca’s imaginary tutor.”

This is one of the reasons why Ndieze Imo have lost their dignity. The greater percentage of them is not royal in their own fashion, a portent of their artificial creation as Ezes, and thus does not act kingly or sublimely in order to be treated like kings. Baltasar Gracian admonished them thus, “let all your actions, even though they are not those of a king, be, in their own sphere, worthy of one. Be sublime in your deeds, lofty in your thoughts; and in all your doings show that you deserve to be a king even though you are not one in reality” because of the Igbo States Governors’ artificial creation of Ezes from none monarchical clans.

Again, the Great Jewish Master, Yashua, emphatically told his disciples that no one can serve two masters at a time, either he loves one or hates the other. In the same way, no leader can have two creators and remained unswallow by one. Either the leader tilts to cheat one and favours the other or bedevils himself as a created leader, and in this self-bedevilment loses his dignity.

It is only in Igboland that Kingship is a creature of the State Governor irrespective of historical facts. State Governors in Igboland play gods and thus assume creators of Kingdoms. They recreate God’s creatures that may or may not be born as Ezes and thus impel such on them. Ezes are born not made or recreated. They hide under the umbrella of bringing unreachable grass-root developments to the masses at the villages and thus create in them autonomous societies that have no foundational customary rites and mores that ally with the meta-ethics and spiritual foundations of monarchies.

Ndieze Imo thought in the multiplication of autonomous communities, the Governor does them well; oblivious of the fact that they are created more mere chiefs than kings. Chiefdoms are created and called kingdoms, and the indigenes in the encased autonomous communities kill themselves in Ezeship tussle, which at the end of the day, one becomes an eventual winner while the other loses. The looser and his structure becomes opposition and enemies, thus creating demeaned dignity to the chiefdom. The Eze-elect thus loses his dignity and loyalty from his intended subjects.

To this effect, it is a common fact to find in every of the 27 LGAs in the State, at least 5 communities having litigations on Ezeship. Many Ezes in Imo State are in law courts in search of their crowns in the files of common court clerks. There is at present, no magistrate court and High Court in Imo State without at least five cases on Ezeship tussle. How can the Ezes have dignity at last?

Igbos say “a na-azo Eze azo?” But the Igbo State Governors have in their acts made it a contestable seat. The first error is the strife to be autonomous, meaning the search for Independence without customary templates for monarchies.

Today, there are 637 autonomous communities in Imo State, about 729 in Abia, 177 (plus the disputed 68 created by Governor Mbadinuju) in Anambra, etc., and these are in essence chiefdoms than kingdoms. Today, in Imo State, Ezes are created without ofo, because they are artificial Ezes. Such Ezes rule with canvass artefacts carved by unknown artists, and thus lacked the customary powers for respect and dignity. The State Governors fake them with staffs of office as representing Ofo contemporarily seen as staff- Ofo.

In the Emirate and Obanite of the Northern Nigeria and the 1954 Western Nigeria (Yoruba and Edo), Kingdoms have large expanse and each of the Emirs and Obas control larger communities than the Igbo Ezes do in their divide and rule. The worst offence is that the kingdoms themselves have no unity and respect for ancestral customs.

Why is it that in such ancestral Kingdoms as the Dei Dynasty in Oguta, many villages enough to have about 15 autonomous communities refuse to be created autonomous? This is because, in the spiritual and meta-ethical domain, an Eze’s kingdom is greater than a Governor’s seat. And this is possible because of the primordial foundations to such institutions. This fact Ndieze Imo do not know and thus do not know their rights, privileges and stakes, and for this reason they lost their dignity again.

Because Ndieze Imo are created by the Creator of Ndieze, they have turned to employees of the Governors that have ruled the State, meaning they are hired and can be sacked at any time. By their creation, they are properties of their creators. It is evident that a Creator of an Eze is greater than the Highness of the created Eze. They are created nominal “Royal Highnesses” while in essence they are “Loyal Nighnesses” to the Governor and to this effect, no created Eze has dignity, just as no striven Ezeship has respectable crown and rule.

Granted that autonomous communities could be multiplied if such proliferation brings development and dividends of democracy, but in a democratic setting, Political Wards and their Councillors should do such, together with Town Unions. In Imo State today, there are 137 INEC Wards and 637 chiefdoms called kingdoms with more coming up, which are turned to political wards for the Governor as Imo has been compelled to have no elected ward councillor for 8 years that Okorocha will rule Imo State.

As artificial community councillors for the Governor, Ndieze Imo again lose their dignity. But if I may ask, which of these ought to bring development, is it the “Eze na mbe ya” autonomous communities or the political wards? Imo has no Ward Councillor and its Ezes are created in their stead, thus the grass-root development sort for has eluded the people.

In most of these multiplied chiefdoms, the traditional rulers reign and thus not rule, as he exercises only the political power or leadership roles that the community’s customs assign to him, and has no suzerainty because Igbos to great somewhat operate a republicanism.

As a result of this, each group and clan tend to crave for their own autonomy as means of ensuring assured control over their dwindling communal life (tending to individualism) and the demise of vital communalism re-energises individualism, as the imposed alien authority in the name of King than Chief conceived by its creators as despots, remains an individual than communal monument.

Most of these Ezes were created by the despotic acts of Igbo State Governors, especially all that have ruled Imo State. Despotism as an underlying enforcement for more coerced communal living and ensuring peace and social ordering in multiplication of autonomous communities and kingdoms, does not work in Igboland and not even in Imo State that has become a laboratory for sundry trial and error politicking. As a result of their emergence through despotism, Ezes in Imo State lose their dignities.

Apart from these, the manner Ndieze Imo comport themselves during general elections and rerun elections in the State, goes a long way to enslave their dignity. Most of them pose their royal blessings to aspirants for sale and thus make benedictions for the highest bidders.

Some of them even do not want to see any aspirant apart from their heartthrobs who may lose elections afterward, and then the winner who was a former enemy or rejected one, sees the Eze’s crown as hunting zone, and while he hunts, the Eze loses his dignity.

Except the Imo cultural communities retrace to customs and institutional rights of Ezeship, Ndieze Imo will continue to be mesmerised by any Governor that comes to power in the State and will never act sublimely; kingly and with dignity.

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Prince Stanley U Okoroji and do not necessarily reflect those of The Nigerian Voice. The Nigerian Voice will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

Articles by Prince Stanley U Okoroji