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Royal Rumble in Obosi, Kingship Stakeholders Chide Igwe Iweka Over Alleged Suspension of Obosi Chiefs

By Ikechukwu Okafor
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The crisis in the traditional council of Obosi in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State is anything but over, as more negative reactions over the alleged suspension of three members of the Obosi traditional council by Igwe Chidubem Iweka III, emerged over the weekend.

In a communiqué made available to our reporter after an "extra ordinary" emergency meeting held on Saturday 6 April, by Umuezechieamalu family, kinsmen to Chief Hyacinth Udemba (Akamkposi Obosi) one of the allegedly suspended Ndi Ichie, and also the custodians of Eke Obosi which plays a significant role in the crowning of Obosi king, Ndi Ichie and other title conferments in Obosi, the kinsmen said after listening to the accounts of their two representatives at the Igwe's cabinet (Chief Charles Umolu and Chief Hyacinth Udemba) on the allegations that led to the purported suspension of their son Akamkposi Obosi from Igwe's cabinet as pronounced by one 'Prince Dr. Bennett Mozie' on behalf of Eze na Ndi Ichie Obosi at the Igwe's palace on March 23, 2019, the family is constrained to express their position.

In the statement signed by the Chairmen and Secretaries of the kindred home and abroad - Mr. Obiora Arinze, Mr. Nonso Ilechukwu, Mr. Tony Arinze and Mr. Nzube Onunkwo, the kinsmen stated that "As the custodians of Eke Obosi which plays significant role in the making of an Eze, Ndi Ichie and other titles taking in Obosi; Umuezechieamalu family deserves some respect in dealing with issues involving it in the cabinet and Obosi."

"We note with trepidation the practice of successive Eze Obosi to ridicule Ndi Ichie from our family. Obosi history recorded the humiliation of Chief J.S.B Orakwue (Ajee Ukwu), Chief Charles Umolu (Akpe Obosi) and now Chief H.N Udemba (Akamkposi Obosi). It is therefore painful that the only reward for the indispensible role played by our family in the crowning of an Eze Obosi has in recent times been impunity of arbitrarily suspending our Ndi Ichie without reference to the family being stakeholders in the kingship institution."

The family however insists that the alleged suspension will not see the light of day as it has been proven that the traditional ruler of Obosi lacked the powers to suspend or expel an Ndi Ichie title holder of Obosi, worse still the alleged suspension document was signed and pronounced by "a nonentity in Eze na Ndi Ichie relationship."

"It is an irony that Rev. Bennett Mozie should assume a bogus title to announce a decision which was not contemplated by Ndi Ichie Obosi on whose behalf he signed." The statement read.

According to the kinsmen, the fact that the Igwe in council did not deliberat on the matter or approve of any suspension and did not even hear the accused defence before rushing to pronounce a suspension confirms the pronouncement as a fraud.

The statement further states that it has been established that Ndi Ichie title holders in Obosi enjoy the immunity of Obosi revered custom and tradition (Ome abu nso) which exempts them from any wrong doing or committing any form of sacrilege within Obosi land. And even when any sacrilege is deemed to have been committed in Obosi by anyone, a particular kindred has the prerogative to declare the action an abomination or sacrilege. This same kindred is responsible for the performance of cleansing rites in Obosi. "It is therefore abominable for any other authority to declare any action a sacrilege except the custodians" "So the purported suspension of Akamkposi Obosi is therefore not acceptable to Umuezechieamalu family and we request it's immediate reversal and recourse to due process if needful"

In conclusion the kinsmen adviced the royal father to initiate a process to resolve various escalating crisis in Obosi to enthrone peaceful co-existence among the people. While calling on the general public to disregard various sponsored propagandas aimed at tarnishing the image of their revered son Chief Udemba, which they said was in an attempt to divert public attention from the numerous problems, crimes and murders taking place in the community.

Reacting to his kinsmen's position on the suspension saga,

Chief Udemba opined that though he would ordinarily not wish to comment on matters bothering on his community's tradition publicly, he stressed that it has become necessary to reveal some vital information as many people are unaware of the historical background of Obosi as an ancient kingdom, and the events that followed, even as falsehood and propaganda have become the order of the day.

Chief Udemba maintained that he is not in anyway perturbed over the pronouncement "I am not perturbed in anyway, as the pronouncement was a reactive response of a frightened and fidgeting monarch." He said.

He opined that it was a consequence of sell out of a people. ''I can scarcely believe that one could allow the wants of life to subjugate his oath to seek the well being of his subjects above his personal interests and to defend them in the time of trouble'' This is the aspect of the duties of the royal office that command loyalty to the stool. And to do otherwise would literally mean to have surrendered his ''OGBALA'' to the external aggressor and hence loosing his immunity and regards as a monarch. And I'm very disturbed as this act of betrayal by the monarch is not the first of its kind by the Igwe in the recent times and I wonder if it would even be the last.''

On The Alleged Suspension Pronouncement
While dismissing the exercise as a sham, Udemba recalled that the traditional leadership of Obosi is yet to come to terms on the type of Monarchy in place in Obosi. "Obosi is neither an absolute nor constitutional monarchy. And in the 3rd rank of monarchy, we may be ranked semi monarchy where the office of the monarch is donated by the composite members of the community. And to this end we have a crowned monarch who basically reigns with limited authorities. It is, however, evident that the urge for absolute monarchy most times lead to unnecessary actions that set the community at disparity most times, no wonder a change from His Royal Highness (HRH) to His Majesty (HM), usually assigned to monarchs that rule over conquered territories."

On the way forward for peace in the community, he said Obosi people have all it takes to be an emulateable community in all aspects of humanity. He regrets that where the value of life have degenerated so badly, where the death of youths is almost on the ratio of one death per month since last 7 years, that Obosi has lost her humanity and the streets now flowing with blood.

He maintained that therefore there can be no peace without justice. Adding that lots of atrocities have been committed in the community and the traditions turned upside down by those that took oaths to keep and defend them. "Peace means addressing all those odds and streamlining our common ground as a people." He said

It would be recalled that the traditional ruler of Obosi, Igwe Chidubem Iweka III had allegedly suspended three cabinet members from the Obosi traditional council over their alleged involvement in bringing to the palace, bodies of two young Obosi sons allegedly shot by security operatives during the re-run election for Idemili North and South Federal Constituency.

In an emergency meeting held at the Igwe’s palace, an already prepared suspension letter signed by one Prince Bennett Mozie was presented to journalists and read by Mozie.

Making the pronouncement, Mozie said “After due consultations and deliberations with all the relevant ancient traditional bodies of Obosi, the Igwe in council hereby announce the indefinite suspension from the Igwe’s Royal Cabinet of the above mentioned Ndi-Ichie Obosi- Chief Osita Chidoka, Chief Linus Ngbakaogu and Chief Hyacinth Udemba for their act of sacrilege and the abomination they committed against the revered age old customs of the people and ancient Obosi Kingdom.”

But another faction of the Igwe in council swiftly denied that there was ever a meeting where the matter was deliberated before reaching such resolution

The Onowu of Obosi, Chief Anthony Eze Nwabude, said that there was never a meeting held in respect of the resolution, adding that since the killing of the two Obosi sons, the Igwe-in-Council had not met on the matter let alone taken any position on the issue in contention.

The suspension also opened a can of worms about the validity of lgwe Chidubem Iweka’s throne as according to one of the affected Ndi Ichie, Chief Linus Mgbakogu, the throne is still in dispute and there are several litigations in the court challenging his emergence as the Igwe of Obosi.

One of the members of the cabinet Chief Charles Umolu, in a telephone chat with newsmen said the suspension is illegal, adding that the signatory to the resolution is an impostor who is not a member of the cabinet and has no right to speak or sign any document on behalf of the cabinet members.

“The issue is not about dumping the bodies in the palace because the youths were angry over the killings; that is why they took the dead bodies to the palace.”

Chief Umolu however challenged the monarch to account for the N22 million second Niger bridge compensation money paid to the community by the federal government which, according to him, the community is demanding an explanation to the whereabouts of the money.

Umolu said the traditional ruler has been involved in land grabbing and racketeering and has been cavorting with some youths in the community in the execution of this crime. Those who go to challenge him are those he has been presenting and this style of leadership has not helped the community at all.