Ubulu-Uku and Idumuje-Ugboko kingdoms in Aniocha South Local Government and Aniocha North Local Government Areas of Delta State share certain similarities. They are both agrarian communities and both also has a long history of inter-marriages. Both also have kingship succession by primogeniture that is, succession from father to son. But the similarity ends there.
While Ubulu-Uku Kingdom is a peaceful community judging by the quick uninterrupted succession after the death of Obi Akaeze Ofulue III on 5th January, 2016, that of Idumuje-Ugboko is different. Since the death of HRM Obi Albert Nwoko III of Idumuje-Ugboko in 2017, under suspicious circumstances, the community has known no peace. The community did not get through the normal process of crowning a new King and had to endure the tyrannical reign of a self-imposed Obi.
Unlike that of Idumuje-Ugboko, the crowning of Chukwuka Noah Akaeze I involved the fulfillment of different traditional rites that culminated in his crowning by the Kingmakers of Ubulu-Uku. When Obi Akaeze 1 succeeded his father, he was just 17 and was schooling in Britain. It was said that the present Governor of Delta State, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa offered the Obi scholarship to complete his education in Britain.
Four years ago, HRM Agbogidi Chukwuka Akaeze 1 was crowned Obi of Ubulu-Uku Kingdom in an elaborate ceremony where His Excellency, Kingsley Otuaro, Deputy Governor of Delta State gave the 17-year-old monarch the Staff of Office. The ceremony was attended by traditional rulers, including His Royal Majesty, Nnaemeka Achebe, the Obi of Onitsha, whose kingdom shares historical affinity with Ubulu-Uku. Akaeze’s mounting of the throne of his ancestors came suddenly after his father, Obi Akaeze Ofulue III was abducted and gruesomely murdered by Fulani herdsmen.
Conversely, Prince Chukwunonso Nwoko allegedly declared himself Obi following the sudden death of his father, HRM Albert Nwoko III of Idumuje-Ugboko in 2017. It is unfortunate that Prince Chukwunonso whose mother is from Ubulu-Uku did not have the pang of conscience that while his mother’s heritage has made progress since the passing of HRM Obi Ofulue III, his paternal ancestry has been bedeviled by crisis since 2017 when HRM Albert Nwoko passed on.
Four years down the line, the Delta State Government is not comfortable giving a staff of office to Prince Nonso Nwoko due to legitimacy issues surrounding the throne as well as murder charges hanging on the neck of Prince Nonso Nwoko, who has been arraigned on murder charges and is currently on administrative bail.
Besides, the kingship tussle is yet to be resolved because the mother of Prince Nonso Nwoko is not from Idumuje-Ugboko – a condition that should be precedent to the succession to the throne of his forefathers by Idumuje-Ugboko tradition. Another Prince, Uche Nwoko whose mother is from Idumuje-Ugboko is also a claimant to the throne.
The Deputy Governor of Delta State, himself aware that some criminals have been charged for murder and terrorism with alleged culpability of some Idumuje-Ugboko palace chieftains has written to the Palace informing them of suspension of discussion of staff of office matters until all contentious issues in the Idumuje-Ugboko crises are laid to rest.
Who is then stalling the peace process of Idumuje-Ugboko? These are food for thought for those who bought the concocted lies that the harmless land quest for the STARS University and golf course that would benefit the children of Idumuje-Ugboko and beyond is the cause of the Idumuje-Ugboko crisis.
- Fred Akpewe, is a public affairs analyst and social commentator