Onitsha Community Reaffirms Its Stand That

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Onitsha Community Reaffirms Its Stand That His Royal Majesty Nnaemeka Alfred Ugochukwu Achebe, CFR, mni (Agbogidi) Is The 21st Obi Of Onitsha

Posted by AdoAmerica.com on 2005/05/14 | Views: 2648 |

Onitsha Community Reaffirms Its Stand That His Royal Majesty Nnaemeka Alfred Ugochukwu Achebe, CFR, mni (Agbogidi) Is The 21st Obi Of Onitsha

Onitsha Community Reaffirms Its Stand That His Royal Majesty Nnaemeka Alfred Ugochukwu Achebe, CFR, mni (Agbogidi) Is The 21st Obi Of Onitsha

Onitsha Community Reaffirms Its Stand That
His Royal Majesty Nnaemeka Alfred Ugochukwu Achebe, CFR, mni (Agbogidi)
Is The 21st Obi Of Onitsha

We, the people of the indigenous community of Onitsha Ado N'ldu have watched with great sadness but quiet dignity over the past two weeks as an infinitesimal disgruntled clique amongst us have sought to desecrate our ancient institution of Monarchy and insult the person of our revered Monarch, His Majesty, Nnaemeka Alfred Ugochukwu Achebe, CFR, mni. Obi of Onitsha, Agbogidi. By so doing, they hoped to sow the seed of discord and provoke tension, confusion and violence in the city in their bid to establish that all is not well with our kingdom and thus achieve their selfish end. Our position as a community with regard to this has been to maintain a dignified silence. Nevertheless, we consider it very necessary to state the facts yet again in order to allay any anxieties that recent media reports may have caused our sons and daughters outside Onitsha, the wider Onitsha community, Ani lgboand indeed all Nigerians who wish us well.

On 5th April 2002, the 20th Obi of Onitsha, His Majesty, Obi Alfonso Okechukwu Ofala Okagbue, CFR, LLD, who had translated to his ancestors, celebrated his final Ofala festival in line with our ancient norms and practices.

Following the conclusion of all traditional obsequies the Conference of Umuezechima Royal Kindred proceeded to select his successor following due process. There were 21 aspirants, including (then) Nnanyelugo Nnaemeka Alfred Ugochukwu Achebe, Amalunweze Goddy L. Odukwe, Akunwata Fred C. Enwonwu, and Nwamulunamma Charles 1. Onyjekwe. Each aspirant subjected himself to the full screening process giving an undertaking that the decision of Umuezechima would be final. Detailed minutes and video recordings of the several meetings leading to the final selection were made for posterity.

On 10th May 2002, (then) Nnanyelugo Nnaemeka Alfred Ugochukwu Achebe was duly selected with an overwhelming majority by the conclave of Urnuezechima (the kingmakers), presided over by the three principal spiritual heads (diokpas) of Onitsha, namely Oreze in the person of Okwudili Agunyego, Chimaevi in the person of Akunne Melifonwu, and Dei in the person of Akunwata lfeanyi Ojiba. Of the votes cast by secret ballot, nineteen (19) were for (then) Nnanyelugo Achebe, four (4) for Akunne Emmanuel Egbunike,one (1) each for Amalunweze Odukwe, Akunwata Enwonwu and Akukalia Chulo Asika, and nil for all other aspirants.

Under the direction of the three spiritual heads, the successful candidate, (then) Nnanyelugo Achebe proceeded to fulfill all rites and ceremonies in accordance with our ancient custom and was duly enthroned as the 21st Obi of Onitsha on 14th May 2002, which providentially coincided with his 61st birthday.

It is incontrovertible that it is the exclusive duty of Umuezechima Royal Kindred to select the Obi of Onitsha. In particular, neither the Onowu of Onitsha (Traditional Prime Minister) nor any other Ndichie (chiefs), whether hailing from Umuezechima or not, has the power or authority to assume the title and/or position of regent or acting Obi, or to usurp the role of monarch under any circumstance, even temporarily. The normal routines of Ime- Obi (the palace) are carried out during an inter-regnum by the immediate kindred of the departed Obi led by their spiritual head (diokpa)

On 7th October 2002, the Government of Anambra State issued a 5-page document titled, Government Statement On The Obiship Of Onitsha, in which it accorded full recognition to His Majesty, Obi Achebe as the 21St Obi of Onitsha. The document read in part as follows:


"10. His Excellency, the Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chinwoke Mbadinuju (Odera) having satisfied himself, (going by the application supported by documentary evidence before him as submitted by the said Secretary of Urnuezechima Conference of Onitsha Indigenous Community and the submissions of the Onitsha North Local Government Chairman), has decided to accord recognition to NNAEMEKA ALFRED UGOCHUKWU ACHEBE, Mni (AGBOGIDI) as the 21st Obi of Onitsha with full rights and responsibilities attached thereto.

11, Government congratulates the new Obi of Onitsha and uses this same opportunity to appeal to the other contestants and stake-holders to the Obiship Throne to eschew bitterness and rancour and co-operate with the new Obi in the interest of peace, harmony and progress of Onitsha and Anambra State."

On 2nd December 2002, the Government of Anambra State addressed a letter titled, Recognition Of Obi Of Onitsha, to Amalunweze Goddy L. Odukwe, Akunwata Fred C. Enwonwu and Nwamulunamma Charles 1. Onyejekwe in response to their letter to the Government dated 20th October 2002. The Government letter read in part as follows:

"From the exhaustive inquiry carried out which covered administrative, legal and security matters, the government discovered amongst other facts that Obi Alfred Achebe was:


I. selected in accordance with the customary law of Onitsha; II. a person that had broad support as evidenced by the fact hat 19 out of 26 kingmakers supported him; III. the only one that performed the traditional coronation rites; IV. the only person recommended to the Executive Governor by Onitsha North Local Government as required by law; and V. the popular choice since peace and harmony have prevailed in Onitsha with his selection"

Notwithstanding the resounding selection of Obi Achebe, the unequivocal affirmation of that selection by the government of Anambra State, the plea of all well-meaning people that peace should be given a chance in Onitsha, and our joy and happiness that peace, progress, dignity and self-pride are returning to Onitsha, three disgruntled former aspirants proceeded to the courts of law to challenge Obi Achebe's selection and the affirmation of the same by the government.

Not satisfied with the principles of constitutionality and the rule of law, which they invoked by going to court, the renegades also resorted to a range of cowardly and despicable tactics to provoke our people, sow the seeds of discord amongst us and reverse the distinct gains that are fast materializing under the leadership of Obi Achebe.

First, they issued and circulated on the Internet a series of false and slanderous information against the noble person of our monarch. Those antics failed woefully. Next, they forged documents purporting that Obi Achebe was involved in certain corrupt dealings with His Excellency, Dr. Chris Ngige, Executive Governor of Anambra State. As a result, some of their cohorts were charged to court for forgery and uttering. Next, they offered large sums of money to our youth leaders to cause violence; again the youth rebuffed their criminal gesture.

Now completely frustrated, the renegades have resorted to the laughable and abominable act of purporting to install an Obi in the premises of a disused shoe factory on the outskirts of the city. Knowing fully well the impropriety of their action both in law and Onitsha custom and tradition, they immediately went into hiding to avoid arrest and have resorted to issuing press statements and speaking with the media via cellular telephones from their hiding places.

Thecentral figure in all these acts is no other than Nnabuenyl Arthur lzuegbunam Mbanefo, MFR, CON, immediate past Permanent Representative for Nigeria at the United Nations in New York. Indeed, he is the godfather in the desperate effort to distort and desecrate the customs and tradition of Onitsha Ado N'ldu. Nnabuenyi Mbanefo was former Odu-Osodi of Onitsha, a title he acquired some 11 years ago. Due to his activities, that title was withdrawn from him in July 2004 by Obi Achebe in line with the wishes of the community. He has filed a case in court challenging the Obi's authority and it is fair and proper to allow the court to adjudicate on it.

It is incontrovertible in Onitsha custom and tradition that Nnabuenyi Mbanefo is not of the Umuezechima Royal Kindred and therefore has absolutely no locus on the Obiship matter, notwithstanding his erstwhile Ndichie position as Odu-Osodi of Onitsha. Yet it was no secret that he openly and painsfakingly canvassed the candidacy of Amalunweze Goddy Odukwe from his post in the United Nations It is also no secret that Amalunweze Odukwe has been under the inexplicable life long influence of Nnabuenyi Arthur Mbanefo and Mbanefo rather than Odukwe family, whose name he bears.

Five years ago in 2000, Ezenwa Olisa (John-Bull) Mortune was, by a unanimous resolution of the entire Onitsha community, removed from his erstwhile Ndichie position of Onowu-lyasele for consistently desecrating Onitsha custom and tradition. On ascending the throne, Obi Achebe took the courageous step to reaffirm that resolution and fill the vacancy by appointing Chief Chike Ofodile, S.A.N., former Attorney General and Minister of Justice of the Federation, who has restored humility, dignity and sanity to the foremost Ndichie position in Onitsha.

On December 26th 2004, a mass rally of the entire cross-section of Onitsha Ado N'ldu unanimously passed a resolution re-affirming their support for the withdrawal of Ndichie titles from Ezenwa Olisa (John-Bull) Mortune and Nnabuenyi Arthur Mbanefo and condemning and deprecating the purported and misguided "conferment" by Mortune of the Ndichie title of Ajie-Ukadiugwu on Dr. Gabriel Emordi, then Oziziani-Obi of Onitsha. The rally also imposed the traditional sanction of "lso Aru" on these three persons, the three recalcitrant former Obiship aspirants and 19 other persons who have collaborated with them in their activities against Onitsha people. The Ndichie title of Oziziani-Obi has since been withdrawn from Dr. Gabriel Emordi. Meanwhile, several of the collaborators have since apologized for their error of judgment and reintegrated into the Onitsha community,

It is sad that this small clique has refused to accept that the emergence of His Majesty Nnaemeka Alfred Ugochukwu Achebe as the 21st Obi of Onitsha is the will of God Almighty as reflected by the overwhelming choice of the Umuezechima kingmakers. They have refused to seek reconciliation and accommodation, and to join hands, with their people to support our monarch in restoring dignity to our historic city. These people have rather embarked on a final onslaught to destroy all that Onitsha has stood for throughout our unbroken history of some six hundred years. They are doing all this solely to satisfy the bloated ego and unrivalled selfishness of Nnabuenyi Arthur Mbanefo and the unmitigated rascality of Ezenwa Olisa (John-Bull) Mortune.

It is interesting that they waited for three years whilst Onitsha was successfully re-ordering itself under her new monarch before their suicidal bid to challenge Umuezechima in their selection of Obi Achebe. It is particularly noteworthy that the leaders of this assault, namely Mbanefo and Mortune, do not hail from Umuezechimo and therefore have absolutely no locus on the Obiship issue despite their erstwhile ranking as Ndichie. It is very telling that their puppets, namely Odukwe and Enwonwu, do not enjoy any support from their sub-kindred units and definitely not from their spiritual heads (diokpas), without which any bid for Obiship could not be sustained. It is manifestly clear therefore that these adventurers know that their mission is a failure and they are merely abusing the principle of freedom of expression in a most irresponsible manner for inordinate ends.

We have chosen to be factually explicit in order to put to rest all lies that have been dished out in the recent times on our great and historic city. We, the indigenous community of Onitsha Ado N'ldu, will not stand by whilst our history, culture, tradition and all we have stood for are consigned to the rubbish bin by two individuals and their puppets. We count on your understanding and tolerance whilstwe deal with this irritation decisively.

Finally, we state categorically that Onitsha is neither "gripped with fear" nor "soaked in tension". It is remarkable that all sections of our city have remained absolutely peaceful as people go about their normal business. No one has inflicted the slightest physical harm on another's person or property. This is part of our enduring heritage, which no amount of provocation will alter.

We thank you all for your attention.

Long live His Majesty, Obi Nnaemeka Alfred Ugochukwu Achebe
Long live Onitsha Ado N'ldu
Long live The Federal Republic of Nigeria,


Original draft is available online

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Comments (1)

Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.