From Chuks Moses, Awka
The tussle over the Awka kingship stool may have reached a head as the community has declared that it has exhausted all peace moves with the state government.
This indication was given late yesterday by the traditional ruler and Obi Eze-Uzu 111, His Majesty Dr Austin Chukwuezugo Ndigwe, during his brief remarks at the 2019 Otochalu-Awka Day before a crowd of enthusiastic citizens, friends and well wishers.
Also, the Catholic Bishop of Awka, Rev Paulinus Ezeokafor was equally urged to mind his pulpit and the flock, and to stop meddling in the affairs of the community.
The annual birthday celebration of the oldest man – Otochalu Awka, Ozo Nwibe Nwosu, now 120 years old is the supreme head of the community’s leadership structure.
Obi Dr Ndigwe who re-echoed the message of the Otochalu was categorical, asserting that having exhausted all avenues for peace, dialogue and understanding with the state governor, Willie Obiano without success in three years, the community has now declared its disinterest in seeking for or collecting any Certificate of Recognition for their new monarch to function.
The message to Obiano: “Ndigwe is our leader and traditional ruler who we jointly/popularly selected, elected and enthroned to preside, supervise and oversee the affairs of Awka community. That is our stand.
“Having made all the overtures to the Governor of Anambra State for him to appreciate our stand, we dare say that Obi Dr Ndigwe, Eze Uzu 111 does not actually need any other certification other than the backing, support and love of Awka people that chose him.”
They also frowned at the way issues concerning the community were overlooked and trampled on by agents of the state government intentionally.
Bishop Ezeokafor was reminded that he is not the first or only bishop resident in the community, but that it was sad he had dabbled into the affairs of Awka.
Business mogul and oil magnate, Prince Arthur Eze, who was among the special guests that graced the 2019 Otochalu Awka Day, donated N20m to Obi Ndigwe ‘to assist him with the development projects he has embarked in the community’. He noted that Awka was blessed to have Ndigwe and many other prominent successful sons and daughters, and urged them to close ranks and assist him in developing the community.
On the tussle over the stool, Prince Eze said that it’s God Almighty that has the final say in ordaining kings and leaders, and that of Awka remains the prerogative of the people.
The former Deputy Speaker of Anambra State House of Assembly, Chief Keluo Molokwu, commended the mammoth crowd that attended, pointing out that it was a testament to the stand of the community.
He admitted that the pronouncement of the Otochalu Awka and the traditional ruler was the stand of the citizens. According to him, “we have enthroned our king – Obi Ndigwe. We have also gone beyond waiting for Governor to ordain, recognize or certify him. No, it’s the their way round.
He also called on the Catholic Bishop of Awka, Paulinus Okafor, to avoid meddling in the affairs and cohesion of Awka citizens, stressing that Ozo Offodile Nwanalefi of Umuayom village who brought the Catholic Church to Awka knew that the customs and traditions of the community were existing long before the arrival of Christianity, and have been co-existing peacefully side by side.
The Secretary of the Awka Council of Kingmakers, Ozo Emmanuel Okechukwu disclosed the day is set aside for the celebration of the oldest living Awka sage, Nwibe Nwosu; a day he renders his end-of-the-year annual report to Awka General Assembly.He added that the sage is the supreme head of the community and has the rare privilege of being the first ever president of the Ozo Awka, Awka General Assembly and chairman of the Awka Council of Kingmakers.
As the Secretary of the Kingmakers, Ozo Okechukwu stated: “Chief Gibson Nwosu, Eze Uzu 11 has been sacked and is still parading himself as king because Gov Obiano has refused to withdraw his certificate of recognition. It’s actually Obiano and Gibson Nwosu that are threatening the peace and tranquility of Awka. We are now ready to meet them wherever they want. The community has spoken.”
Among those at the event were Awka-born America based Bishop Chukwuma Anagbogu, of the Anglican Diocese of the Trinity; General Obiakor; Venerable Prof Ben Okeke; Engr Nzekwe Ibe and Engr Ken Adigwe amongst others.
Awka leadership; Otochal’ Awka, Ndichie warn Anambra Monarchs
*caution Chief Gibson Nwosu to toe line of peace
Ozo Nwibe Nwosu speaks:
The Spiritual Head and the reigning Otochal’ Awka (oldest living man in Awka), Ichie Ozo Nwibe Nwosu alongside other Otochalus of the various 33 villages and quarters of the community, Ezeanas, Ndichie Awka and Awka Elders have sharply reacted to what they saw as a series of publications flying around in the media concerning an entirely internal Awka matter.
As the number One citizen of Awka today, and as it has pleased God Almighty to confer on me the onerous tasks and duties that come with the position, I therefore hereby express my uttermost disgust that our former traditional ruler, Chief Gibson Nwabueze Nwosu has chosen to irredeemably drag my beloved Awka to the mud. God forbid.
The last time I spoke on he matter, I personally advised the former traditional ruler (Nwabueze) to take the path of honour and leave the stage since the people who had chosen and crowned him earlier has rejected him.
I spoke to him both in private and in public as a father to his beloved son, because I and his late father -Chief Nwuya Nwosu were age-mates though I was his senior by almost three years before he joined our ancestors years ago.
Am pained that he rather than taking to my wise counsel has further embarked on a journey in dishonour apparently thinking that by dragging Awka down with himself he would reverse the hand of the clock of his regrettable twenty years of misrule and shame. Today I have been told he has gone beyond Awka community by co-opting some naive and mindless traditional rulers who might have been wishing to have their name in public to join him in the irresponsible rollercoaster ride.
I recently celebrated my 117th birthday, to the glory of the Almighty God in January, 2018. Am from Umudioka Awka and by the grace of God the living Spiritual Head of Awka, hence would not condescend into bandying words with anyone. I wish to give a brief history of Awka.
The revered Awka Ancient Kingdom dates back to the days of yore; an old ancient kingdom with very rich history. It was Awka Kingdom that produced and still produce implements of war and farming like hoes, weaning hooks, sickle, hammer, diggers, shovels, knives, cutlasses, spears and arrows, including sandals, skull-shielding helmets, etc. Awka was indeed a legendary blacksmith with popularity that transcended the shores of the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian Oceans and the Sahara desert.
It was two Awka native blacksmiths that designed and mounded the present day enamored gate of the Buckingham Royal Palace, the English Queen’s abode. In fact, there is no how anyone would tell the history of the Igbos without prominent chapters on Awka. The name of Awka Ancient Kingdom is not one for fun or jokes. It’s an age long Kingdom that was well fortified and protected all its neighbouring towns as the mere mention that it’s Awka all enemies take flight. The real Awka N’aso enwe is ruled by valiant men!
No one can cajole Awka’s distinguished name and place in world history. I therefore wish to reiterate that the people of Awka dethroned Gibson Nwosu and after a long rigorous process that covered more than seven(7) months crowned Obi Dr Austine Chukwuezugo Ndigwe, as the Ezeuzu 3rd of Awka Kingdom on Nov 15,2017 after due clearance by the relevant organs including the Awka Council of Kingmakers led by Otochal’ Awka, and the President of Ozo Awka, Ozo Obuora Essell of blessed memory.
That following my formal crowning of the new Obi of Awka(Dr Austine Ndigwe), the erstwhile traditional ruler(Nwosu) amongst others and their cronies, labelled me and others involved in the crowning of the new Obi, as disgruntled elements.
Accordingly, I had tried to remind Mr Gibson Nwosu, that his late father, Nwuya Nwosu was two years my junior. But God preserved me to be 117 years old. I had also pointed out to him that even his father could not have called me a disgruntled element if he were alive today.
I reminded him that my position of Otochal’Awka was neither elective nor appointive; but was reserved for me by God Almighty and the position carries with it divine powers as visceral intermediary between the living and the dead. And that visceral powers included ability to curse defilers of Awka land and I shall not hesitate to pronounce such curse/s if further provoked.
Mr Gibson Nwosu was equally reminded that it was his consistent violation of Traditional Rulers Amended Constitution of Awka Town 1986 that led to his dethronement after he had performed the “osu na nkiti” appeasement ritual and still went on to display further acts of insubordination to Awka people, and desecration of our revered customs and tradition. To the outside world, you even obtained contracts as the traditional ruler of Awka and when you failed to execute them, you were arrested and quizzed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) on more than one occasion.
Your resort to seeking protection of the Church, and of the so-called “Anambra Central Senatorial Zone Traditional Rulers”, suspected to comprise of other like-minded traditional rulers and frantically trying to also rope in the state government against Awka people amounts to biting the fingers that fed you. Do you need to be told that it’s a journey to nowhere. That you can-never win this war of betrayal because the gods of our land and the God Almighty have rejected, abandoned and disowned you long ago. Voice populi voice die.
On behalf of the entire community I thank the Anambra State Governor, Dr Willie Maduaburochukwu Obiano for steadfastly standing with the people. For ignoring the whitewashed/coated lies, falsehood and propaganda being marketed by Gibson Nwosu and his co-travellers against our new revered king, His Imperial Majesty, Obi Dr Austine Chukwuezugo Ndigwe, MON, JP(Eze Uzu 111). Our dear governor, are indeed a true son of Igboland with blue blood in your veins. You are indeed well rooted in the culture and tradition of our people, hence we respectfully urge you to take a personal look into the detailed processes leading to the removal of Gibson Nwosu and the installation and crowning of HIM Dr Austine Ndigwe in his stead, by Awka natives.
We sincerely hereby appeal to you the governor to do the needful, call Gibson Nwosu to order, withdraw the recognition earlier issued to him to avert any form of social or economic crisis in Awka Ancient Kingdom. And to issue the due certificate of recognition to our new king, His Imperial Majesty, Obi Dr Austine Chukwuezugo Ndigwe, MON, JP(Eze Uzu 111). We also warn all those rabble rousing boys who now parade as traditional rulers, please be mindful of your statements. Never you overstep your limits, as we may not be too lenient next time. We consequently demand a written apology in record time from all those signatory to the offensive publication. God bless you all.