By O’star Eze
Anambra state government has denied claims by a faction of Idigo dynasty that Governor Willie Obiano broke the succession protocol with the governor’s alleged imposition of Dr. Michael Idigo to succeed late Igwe Christopher Nwabunwanne Idigo, as the new traditional ruler of Aguleri in Anambra East Local Government Area of Anambra state.
Orient Weekend gathered that Governor Obiano’s community has been polarized since the emergence of Dr. Michael Idigo as the new traditional ruler of the ancient kingdom, following the death of Igwe Christopher Nwabunwanne Idigo on January 11, 2019.
Besides heavy security presence in the community, the palace has been deserted as two factions lay claim to the throne.
Shortly after the new monarch was crowned in late March, the Idigo Elders Ruling Council, backed by a faction of community leaders, allegedly declared their rejection of the new paramount ruler. They accused their kinsman and state governor, Willie Obiano, of imposing a monarch on the community, contrary to the collective wish of the people.
An official statement jointly signed by Prince Fide Idigo, Prince Michael Idigo and Prince Gabriel Idigo on behalf of the Idigo Elders Ruling Council, the family denounced the coronation ceremony of Dr. Michale Idigo, and described it as a charade.
They accused Governor Obiano and his Chief of Staff, Mr. Primus Odili, of bypassing the family’s choice Crown Prince to impose Dr. Michael Idigo as the monarch. They also rejected the coronation rites performed, saying that it fell short of the traditional requirements.
The statement reads in part, “The governor of Anambra state, who is a total stranger to the Idigo family and Iruokechi kindred, manifested gross abuse of his powers when he forcefully removed the body of the late Igwe Aguleri, from the mortuary where it was kept, and confiscated same until he buried the son of the Idigo family without the proper rites and the participation of the rightful members of the family
“He sent over one hundred (100) security operatives (Police, DSS, Civil Defense etc.) to invade and seal up the Eze Idigo’s palace from the 26th day of March, 2019, to date. Police helicopters were also hovering around throughout the ceremonies. During the initial invasion, they denied the members of the Idigo family access to their home and Obi.
“He crowned a person that was not selected by the family. In their haste to please the governor, the traditions and customs of Aguleri kingdom were breached:
“One, the body of the late Igwe was carried by strangers instead of family or selected cabinet members. The body was not received by the Okpala Idigo to perform the traditional ‘welcome home and cry of pain.’
“Once the body of a late Igwe Aguleri is brought home for burial, it is not taken away again until it is taken for burial or church service followed by burial.
“However, in this instant case, the body of our Igwe was taken away after it was brought home to stay in unknown destination for the whole night, only for it to surface at the church the next day.
“During the purported coronation, neither the Okpala Idigo nor Okpala Iruokechi was present to the charade of a coronation. The proper regalia which is about one hundred (100) years old that a new Igwe must put on at the ceremony was not used for the ceremony.
“A woman is not supposed to be present inside the ‘Isabanka’ during the crowning of a new Igwe, but in this abomination of a coronation, a woman in the person of Mrs Ebelechukwu Obiano (wife of the governor) was present.
“The person crowned is not even the Diokpala of his immediate family; he has two living elder brothers which makes his coronation to be an abomination to the Aguleri tradition.”
The state government, however, claimed the appointment and coronation of Dr. Michael Idigo as the Eze Idigo V of Aguleri on March 29, after the burial of the late monarch, did not violate any law of the state. It dismissed the protests from a faction of the family elders and members as politically motivated.
The state Commissioner of Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr. C-Don Adinuba, who spoke in defence of the Obiano led government over the controversial kingship succession, urged those who felt the process of selecting a new monarch was violated, especially Barrister Chinedu Idigo, to sue the governor if they had concrete evidence against him.
The commissioner said, “First and foremost, has he (the instigator) cited an aspect of the chieftaincy law violated by the governor? He did not go to court because he could not fault the governor legally. That was why he chose to engage in this campaign of calumny. He has held several press conferences, but no valid news medium agreed to publish his story because it lacked credibility. He was forced to do an advertorial with the press release. The man is only struggling to get his cousin on the throne.
“I understand his grouse. Peter Obi promised him the governorship ticket but dumped him at the last minute. Many felt it was because he hadn’t the requisite qualifications. Since then, he has been bitter. This is just a case of misplaced aggression. He (the instigator) should rather be angry with the person, who promised him but failed him.”