Kingship Tussle Rocks Idumuje-Ugboko Traditional Stool

By Kenneth Orusi, The Nigerian Voice, Asaba
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By Kenneth Orusi, Asaba
Idumuje-Ugboko community, Aniocha North Local Government Area of Delta State is presently embroiled in a battle over the rightful owner to ascend to the traditional stool of the kingdom.

The brewing crisis is between the king makers and the chief in council (Obi in Council), following the exit of the king, Obi Albert Nwoko III who was earlier announced dead by the community at the rip age of 98 years.

It was gathered that the two sons of the late Obi, Prince Uche Nwoko and Prince Justin Chukwunonso Nwoko, Uche who is 18-year old, a final year secondary school student, gained popularity as a rightful choice, a section of the palace has installed Prince Justin Chukwunonso Nwoko as king, thus generating what community watchers described as a set back to the customs of the people as the requisite formalities and notification of relevant authorities were not followed.

It was learnt that while the war rages between the camps of Prince Nonso and those supporting Prince Uche, the palace has been virtually deserted as indigenes await the outcome of the war, while the Traditional Rulers Council in Aniocha North Local Government Area has set modalities in place to investigate the matter.

It was learnt that those supporting Prince Uche are of the view that he is more qualified owing to the fact that his parents are from Idumuje-Ugboko, "Any crowning should wait until after the three months burial rites for the late king. A desecration of the tradition occurred when Nonso was put on the stool by only one man as against the six required by tradition”, a family member revealed.

The family source said, “That protests against this was shoved aside by Prince Mbanefo Nwoko who insisted that Nonso should sit on the stool the same night that the Obi passed on. The haste is simply to frustrate the young prince who is in command secondary school in faraway Ebonyi State”.

Investigation revealed that for the safety of the young Prince Uche, a lawyer was contacted to petition his elder brother Chukwunonso who they described as a son whose mother is not from the community as custom demands.

“By the standing order and rule in Idumuje-Ugboko, the said Prince Justin Chukwunonso Nwoko is not qualified to ascend the throne of Obi of Idumuje-Ugboko”, Mr. Ikhide Ehigheliua Esq, of Ikhide Ehighelua and Co., Asaba, wrote in a petition to the chairman of Aniocha North Local government area, on behalf of Prince Uche and others.

The petitioners alleged that Prince Nonso has many impediments against him, including his mother who is not from Idumuje-Ugboko kingdom as prescribed by the tradition, but from Ubulu-Uku, adding that he is currently standing trial in the Magistrates’ Court, Asaba, for the alleged offence of forgery and conspiracy in case number CMA/420c/2016 Commissioner of Police Versus Chukwunonso Nwoko and two others.

The petitioners also cited other cases in addition to a case of false information against him in police case file number CR: 17/2017, alleging that he is of unsound mind, having suffered from a mental problem as an early stage of his life when he suffered brain fag leading to his withdrawal from the University of Benin.

They called on relevant authorities to ensure that Prince Uche is presented, installed and crowned as the Obi of Idumuje-Ugboko kingdom.

The Chairman of Aniocha North Local Government Area, Mr. Chuks Oseme, confirmed the kingship tussle in Idumuje –Ugboko, saying that he received the petition and that the Traditional Rulers Council, Aniocha North chapter, will investigate the issue.

A professor of note in the family Prince Somayina Nwoko who died late last year had raised an Alarm a year before he died in his now famous write up in which he unequivocally stated that Nonso was not qualified to be king. The late professor will be turning in his grave to see what Nonso is doing to force his way into the throne.