By Emmanuel Ndukuba, Awka
The Idigo Royal Dynasty in Aguleri community has appealed to Gov. Willie Obiano of Anambra state to allow the duly selected and crowned rightful successor to the throne, Eze Gabriel Chuka Idigo V to assume duties as the new Igwe.
The Idigo Royal Dynasty of Aguleri is arguably the oldest-surviving dynasty in Igboland having lasted for an uninterrupted period of over 140 years.
The Idigo Elders Council made this known in a statement signed by Crown Prince Fidelis C. Idigo (OmabalaAguleri) & Okpala Idigo, Prince Mike O. Idigo (Ezennia), Palace Secretary and Prince Gabriel Ike Idigo (Agaba-Idu)
“We call on the governor to stop from further interference and intrusion into the affairs of the Idigo royal dynasty of Aguleri; which is arguably the oldest-surviving dynasty in Igboland having lasted for an uninterrupted period of over 140 years.
“We plead with the governor to allow the duly selected and crowned rightful successor to the throne, Eze Gabriel Chuka Idigo V to assume his duties as the new Igwe of Aguleri.
“We further plead that the governor desists from further deployment of armed policemen into the Idigo royal palace to harass and intimidate members of the Idigo royal family,” it stated
They equally called on the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Mohammed Adamu to direct the immediate withdrawal of men of the Nigeria Police who are acting on the directives of the governor and laying constant siege on the ancient palace of Eze Idigo and the Ama-Igwe.
It added that the state government press statement tagged “Warning To Royal Pretenders in Anambra State” about the traditional kingship of the community was malicious, mischievous, malevolent, hateful and intended to denigrate and bring to ridicule the name and person of His Royal Highness, EZE Gabriel Chuka Idigo V, (Ogalagidi-Ezedioramma), the Igwe of the ancient kingdom of Aguleri.
“Ordinarily, the Idigo Royal Dynasty of Aguleri, and indeed the generality of Aguleri people would have totally ignored the said public statement in its entirety.
“But for the fact that the several gross misrepresentation of sacred facts and the fabricated mendacity about Aguleri traditional kingship over the more than a century old Idigo Royal Dynasty which may likely deceive the good people of Anambra state and the public in general were therein contained.
“This rejoinder statement by the Idigo Royal Dynasty of Aguleri is meant to correct and truly rectify these fabrications and deceitful information regrettably circulated by the officer of the Anambra state government and provide an accurate account to the public,” it stated.
It noted that the truth and sacred facts of the matter remains that upon the passage of the late Eze Christopher Nwabunwanne Idigo IV (Ogalagidi) Igwe of Aguleri kingdom unto eternity on January 11, 2019 and the formal narration of same to the Ndichie Aguleri according to custom, the Idigo Royal Dynasty was directed to select a new King to succeed the late Igwe. Thereafter, at the historic royal conclave of the Idigo Elders Council held on 19/01/19 (a great day in history), Prince Gabriel Chuka Idigo (A Prince with a rich royal background was selected by a unanimous vote.
“His mother is from the Onwudiwe Royal family of Ogbunike and his grandmother from the Amobi Royal family of Ogidi so he can never be a pretender).
” He was presented same day to the larger Iruokechi royal kindred who overwhelmingly accepted and endorsed same in a meeting presided over by Chief Mike Ejoh in the residence of Dr Clement Idigo.
“He was later presented to the eldest-living patriarch of the royal kindred, the 97yr old Pa Gabriel Chiatula (Onolueze Aguleri) who prayed for him and imparted his paternal blessings on him.
“Thereafter, the choice of Prince Gabriel Chuka Idigo as the Igwe-Elect was duly communicated to other elders and stakeholders in Aguleri, and later to the governor of Anambra state (who has lived in Aguleri all his life) in January 2019, who also endorsed the choice during a private visit to the Governors Lodge by a delegation of the Idigo Elders Council with the said Prince Chuka Idigo present,” it added.
Things began to take a different dimension on Sunday March 24, 2019, less than 5 days to the scheduled coronation of Prince Chuka Idigo, at a hurriedly-packaged meeting of Iruokechi kindred surreptitiously convened by Chief Mike Ejoh, (an appointee of the state government to the Federal Civil Service Commission) by 9am when Sunday masses were ongoing, and with less than 13 members present.
At the said meeting, the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Mr. Primus Odili informed that he was sent by the governor to transmit the information that the choice of Prince Chuka Idigo is no longer acceptable to him, and that he has directed that a certain Dr. Mike Idigo (a medical officer in the Obiano government) be rather selected to succeed the late Igwe Christopher Idigo.
This was rejected and rebuffed by members of the Idigo Elders Council and the entirety of the Idigo Royal family; as well as the Iruokechi Royal kindred in separate meetings held on Monday March 25, 2019; and Wednesday March 27, 2019 respectively; and thus reaffirming the choice of Prince Gabriel Chuka Idigo as was collectively made on 19/01/19.
Surprisingly, by Wednesday, March 27 a heavy presence of men of the Nigeria Police not only descended unto the Eze Idigo palace and not only precluded royal household members from access into their homes but also barricaded all the multiple road entrances into the Ama-Igwe (Kings Square) as well as blocking all major roads in Amaeze Aguleri.
Indigenes and residents of Aguleri were denied free movement both within, and in-and-out of Amaeze Aguleri, resulting in close-down of shops and business units in Amaeze Aguleri.
When confronted, the policemen averred that they were acting on the instructions and directives of the Anambra state government.
This lockdown of the Idigo Royal palace in particular and Amaeze Aguleri in general continued until Friday March 29, 2019 when even a heavier detachment of heavily-armed policemen and operatives of the Department of State Security numbering over a 100, held the entire ancient Eze Idigo palace compound and Amaeze Aguleri under a temporary incarcerated captive, with Police armed-Helicopters hovering ferociously at virtually roof-top levels.
Under this frenzy and horror of government-induced terrorization, with some of the terrified and scared elders and chiefs inside the Isabanka (Kings court) looking bewildered, the governor in the company of his wife, the Chief of Staff, Chief Mike Ejoh and a few others directed and facilitated the installation and crowning of the said Dr Mike Idigo purportedly as the new Igwe of Aguleri, and immediately issued him a hurriedly-written Certificate of Recognition and presented him keys to brand new Toyota Prado SUV and Hilux van.
After the heavy police presence and intimidation which lasted over the 4 day Last Ovala ceremonies in honour of the late Eze Idigo and which prevented the participation of Aguleri people and other invited sympathisers in native week-long funeral had died down, the Idigo Elders Council and Royal family made a formal report of this orchestrated anomaly to the Ndichie Aguleri during the traditional “Mputa-Ito” ceremony.
Thereafter both the Idigo royal family and the Iruokechi royal kindred had in their meetings of Saturday April 20, 2019 and Wednesday April 24, 2019 respectively discountenanced and disregarded the purported coronation as a nullity, and reaffirmed, for the umpteenth time, the collective decision of 19/01/19 in favour of Prince Gabriel Chuka Idigo as Igwe-Elect, to which Dr Mike Idigo is a signatory.
“We are however astonished and astounded that he has continued to meddle unduly and unjustifiably in the kingship culture and tradition of Aguleri, his home town.
“We wonder and ponder on what is the interest of the governor in the Aguleri kingship? We also further wonder and ponder why he seems to be destroying the Idigo dynasty of Aguleri despite the several recognitions he has received from the Idigo dynasty.