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Anambra community shuns traditional ruler-designate, crowns another


Anambra community shuns traditional ruler-designate, crowns another

By Collins Mbakwe

Crisis may erupt in Awkuzu, a community in Oyi Local Government Area of Anambra State over the controversy surrounding the emergence of a traditional ruler of the community.

Chibuike Okafor was on Monday crowned as the new traditional ruler of the community.

Mr Okafor’s coronation came about four years after Charles Anikweze was issued with a certificate of recognition by the former Governor of the state, Willie Obiano, on 2 May 2019, as the traditional ruler of the community.

It is not clear, for now, what led to the latest coronation.

There are speculations that the community had been enmeshed in a leadership crisis for some years now.

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While coronating Mr Okafor as the Ezeaganama III and authentic monarch of the community, amidst the tension, the head of Awkuzu Kingmakers (Okpala Awkuzu), Nweke Ozoemena Mgbike explained that he was crowning Mr Okafor because the kingship stool runs in the royal family of Aganama and not rotational as some people had thought.

Mr Mgbike revealed that the community had been enmeshed in a traditional rulership crisis since 2005 when a former traditional ruler, John Nnebolisa, died.

The community comprises three quarters: Ezi represented by Aganama, Ifite-Ezeudene and Ikenga-Ezeodinwe.

On their part, representatives of the three quarters, during the event, expressed satisfaction with the coronation, adding that Mr Anikweze, a professor, who was earlier given a certificate of recognition, could be the traditional ruler of elites with the government certificate and that Mr Okafor who reportedly inherited the throne from his forefathers remain the authentic “traditional ruler of the grassroots.”

Reacting, the Traditional Prime Minister otherwise known as Onowu, Tochukwu Mgbako, said that it was now that the community has their “God-given monarch” who went through the normal process to be crowned.

“It is in the family of Aganama that any Igwe must emerge and then be crowned by the Okpala Awkuzu who is aged 97,” he said.

“Government gave certificate but community enthroned a monarch in line with the tradition and culture of the people,” some indigenes of the community reportedly said.

‘Why we rejected Anikweze despite receiving certificate’

The Owelle of Awkuzu, Peter Emenaka, revealed that Mr Anikweze was not crowned as the community’s traditional ruler because he refused to perform “necessary traditional ceremonies” on the grounds that the ceremonies were “fetish.”

Also, a popular native doctor from the area, Oguejiofor Okafor otherwise known as Ezedibia, stressed that for any person to be installed as the traditional ruler of the community, he must be crowned by the Okpala Awkuzu and follow traditional processes.

In his speech, Anthony Jiendu, a former chairperson of Oyi Local Government Area, Jude Anieka, expressed optimism that with the installation, the community would experience development.

Another indigene of the community, Okoye Agbata, stressed that Mr Anikweze was ditched because he does not belong to the family which produces kings in the community.

Mr Agbata insisted that the kingship stool of the community was not rotational but inherited in the Aganama family.

In his first speech, shortly after his coronation, the newly crowned monarch thanked the people for finding him worthy, adding that whoever that “wants good thing, good thing will follow him.”

“With my crowning as the monarch and Ezeaganama III of Awkuzu, the peace which eluded the people for over 18 years and tranquillity have been restored. It is thanks to God for the love He has for us all these years.

“Now that I have been crowned as the monarch, by the Okpala Awkuzu, Awkuzu has gotten a traditional ruler ordained by God to pilot the affairs of the people,” he said.

But in his reaction, Mr Anikweze, a professor, who already has a certificate of recognition from the former Governor Willie Obiano-led administration, described the installation of Mr Okafor as another traditional ruler as an “act of illegality.”

“What they did was purely illegal. The case is still pending in court. I am still the Igwe Nnamenyi of Awkuzu, while Chief Okafor is an impostor.

“I still retain the certificate of recognition by the government which gave me the power of Igwe, if somebody raises up as an impostor, he is on his own,” he said.

“They are trying to woo some crisis, but we wait and see.

“No need to preempt what the community will do, but certainly those who are real Awkuzu elites will say something,” Mr Anikweze added.

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