How Gov Wike moved to avert bloodshed in selection of new Eleme monarch

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* As seasoned administrator, Philip Obele, emerges now One-Eh-Eleme

By Godwin Egba, Port Harcourt

Gov Nyesom Wike is said to have averted bloodshed and unrest in the oil-/gas-rich Eleme area when he urged the people to fill the position of a new monarch. Now, peace is said to have returned to the area with over 200 companies.

The belief that some people are born to rule evidently played out for the newly coronated king of Eleme in Rivers State, Philip Obele. He is now the new king to rule over oil and gas city with over 200 companies.

Historically, the graduate of Political Science (Obele) is said to be a child of destiny having been born into the lineage of kingship. On the July 10, 2019, he was unanimously elected and installed as the current king of Eleme xi after the demise of  Samuel Oluka Ejire as Oneh-eh Eleme from Agbonchia who died on December 6, 2018 at the age of 89 years old.

Obele was said to have merited his installation based on his being a secretary to two Eleme councils of chiefs during the tenure of late kings of Eleme, Ngei from Alesa and Ejire from Agbonchia communities.

His humble and die – hard supporter, Joseph Oluji, traditional ruler of Ewuu Community in Aleto Clan, attested that Obele was born a ruler who inherited the kingship from his late father who was the spokesman of the community.

He said: “Like his late father, he is an embodiment of peace, loyalty, faithful and God fearing person in servitude. In Eleme tradition such a person has the blessing of his elders, chiefs, thus we from the Ewuu and other clans in Aleto unanimously chose him to take the position of our spokesman”.

“From this position he (Obele) rose to become the traditional ruler of Chumu Community also in Aleto Clan with even communities. When Aleto wanted a clan head, our people chose him because he met all the qualifications. Beyond that, when the royal majesty, Ejire wanted to release one of his tittles, he also chose Obele as One-Eh Nchia comprising six clans, namely; Ogale, Agbonchia, Aleto, Alesa, Alode, And Akpajo respectively.

“Progressively, Obele was also appointed as secretary of council of Chiefs and Elders, by the late Ejire.

After the demise of Ejire, there must be somebody to accord his burial rights; it was then the sitting Governor of Rivers State, Barrister Nyesom Wike, appointed Obele as acting king to put all the burial rites in order to avoid tension or blood-bath that might arise from some persons already agitating to take over the kingship of Eleme in general.

That appointment made by the governor was a saving grace that warded-off a looming bloody crisis in Eleme kingdom because the appointment as an acting king superseded other chieftaincy tittles in all the 10 clans that make up of Eleme land, Oluji explained.

As a confirmed regent, Obele was also attending first class meetings of Rivers State Traditional Council of Chiefs or rulers in Government House till the governor issued out an order to the Eleme Council of chiefs to form a committee to shop for a qualified person to be formally installed as a king. That order was carried out by asking whoever that was interested across the 10 clans of Eleme to pick-up a nomination form.

The committee secured forms from other chiefs supporting Obele except Godwin Bebe Okpabi of Ogale Community who indicated to remain in the race. However, in less than three days to the election, Okpabi listened to the voice of reason to step down for Obele. He did this without protest. So from July 8, 2019 Obele became unopposed.

On July 10, 2019 the voice of Obele’s supporters land prevailed as Eleme Kingdom played host to who is who that came out in their numbers to witness the formal coronation of Obele at the Nchia Eleme ultra-modern market square.

Our correspondents who witnessed the coronation said that chiefs from Eleme clans were conducted for consultation uninterrupted led by Okpabi with tight security by both the Nigeria Police force and other security agencies.

Other strong supporters of the king on ground were the likes of prominent Ononwi family, the Elano Investment members and Aforji Igwe, member of Rivers State House of Assembly representing Eleme Constituency. Also the Eleme youth president worldwide, Brian Gokpa, and his teaming supporters were on ground to ensure the occasion did not witness any disruption.

A cross-section of people who spoke with our correspondent said not, many people believe that Eleme, the hub of Nigeria’s Oil and Gas industrial business would be at peace following the death of his Ejire. Tension had that built up as individuals and camps had flexed muscles to succeed the late monarch.

Close associates of the new king also attested that the Royal Majesty exhibited the spirit of humility and fear of God making sure peace prevailed without blood-bath and the kingdom exuded peace weeks after the late monarch was buried. They stressed that tranquility caught everybody by surprise.

The Majesty is aid to be erudite elite as a retired Principal with a degree in Political Science. He was a clan head of Aleto and by convention is said to be qualified to be One-eh-Eleme. He also presided over Eleme affairs in the absence of the late monarch, in addition to his other records and humble disposition.

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