Posted by Celestine (CELE) Uneze | 20 July 2013 | 5,535 times
I wish to contribute to the raging debate on ezeship issues in many communities in Imo State and Nekede in particular. This contribution is essentially meant to set the records straight after reading the article, “Rescuing autonomous communities in Imo State from ezeship tussles” written by Mr. Jude Okeke, the Director of Information, Government House, Owerri, and published on July 17, 2013 by News Express. Let us see if our Governor Rochas may have been wiser as the writer claimed.
Tradition: Based on supported historical records, most of the purported ezeship claims are hinged on the Warrant-Chief lineage introduced by our former Colonial Master Britain. Therefore, this could not have been and NEVER will be correctly regarded as our TRADITION. Nekede, for example, existed before 1920. Was it Nkwezema or Agumanu that ruled Nekede? Definitely NO.
But if Rochas claimed he used that, then, as I have shown and as supported by evidence, Nkwazema was first Warrant-Chief and should continue to be Eze of Nekede. But which Nekede? The Nekede we talk about today is Umualum, for in the old Nekede, we had three major groups – Umualum, Umuoma and Umudiabia (no importance in the listing). Umuoma and Umudiabia are two separate Autonomous Communities today, with their own Ezes and their own problems. Umualum, by whatever mistake of the Imo State Government (IMSG), maintained the name Nekede.
Here, another look at tradition. At the above separation and creation of Autonomous Communities Umuoma and Umudibia, Eze Jonas Agumanu was in charge and was carried over to Nekede (Umualum) as the Eze; he started as Chief and the title was changed by government during his tenure. Therefore, if tradition is to be followed, Agumanu will continue to be Eze of Nekede. But, wait there, did the current Nekede (Umualum) make him Eze and by our tradition, should Agumanu or Nkwazema or any part of current Nekede be Eze where Umuohiadagu Umumbazor is the eldest?
Let this lead us to the CONSTITUTION. IMSG has laws and amongst them are The Traditional Rulers and Autonomous Communities Law and the Town Unions and Development Associations Law, made and passed into law by the State House of Assembly. For Nekede, there is no legal Constitution. Why, some claim they have one and this is clearly stated to be Constitution (do not mind the cover page, read it and you will see three different titles) to be and referred to as The Constitution of Nekede Ancient Kingdom. The truth is that there is no Nekede Ancient Kingdom in IMSG Gazette of Autonomous Communities in Imo State. One will find Nekede Autonomous Community. Therefore, that purported and erroneous Constitution is Null and Void, for it is Constitution of non-existing Community in Law.
Based on this nobody from Nekede can legitimately claim to be Eze until we follow the processes outlined in the relevant laws of Imo State and the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Should Gov. Rochas be praised and did he do the right thing? Definitely NO! Nations and states exist peacefully based on laws, at least in this modern and democratic era. Government is made up of three arms – Executive, Legislature and Judiciary. Anyone who for whatever foolishness claims that he should combine these functions into himself, has made the greatest mistake. And it will not solve our ezeship problems for, at best, Rochas stays for two more years and his inglorious era filled with illegalities will be over and the court cases on these ezeships continue.
From the above, what happened in Nekede is laughable where the purported Eze-Elect is purportedly involved in Certificate Saga. Was Gov. Rochas deceived or money changed hands at his level or his commissioner’s level? If they made such mistake in Nekede, could it be possible he has forced illegitimate and unfit Ezes on some communities by not following Due Processes?
Solution: We should educate our people to stand up and solve their problems by following DUE PROCESSES and RULE OF LAW. If most Ezes started as Warrant-Chiefs and this is not our Tradition, the only way out is to follow the constitutions of the various towns, which they freely made for themselves. In fact, the IMSG Traditional Rulers Law stated it clearly that where no acceptable historical records and ezeship tussles are generated, the ezeship should be ROTATORY STARTING FROM THE OLDEST CLAN OR VILLAGE and where in doubt, the MOST POPULOUS VILLAGE. These are simple steps if we are truthful to ourselves and realise that no EZE will feed any of us. So it should be HONOUR given by the PEOPLE.
To stress the issue of CONSTITUTION, the NATIONAL ASSEMBLY is currently reviewing the NIGERIAN CONSTITUTION. We are observing the processes, whether perfect or not. How could have Gov. Rochas felt if President Goodluck Jonathan had halted his election victory and pronounced Chief Ohakim winner? The point is that we and our people MUST encourage DUE PROCESSES AND RULE OF LAW. Those of us who are educated and exposed to current issues, whether we are ezeship candidates or not, should be TRUTHFUL and encourage our communities to do things rightly. If we do, most communities can easily solve their ezeship tussles without the illegal interference of Gov. Rochas
GOV. ROCHAS HAS FAILED AGAIN AND EXPOSED HIS FAULTY UNDERSTANDING OF GOVERNANCE PROCESSES AND ONLY THOSE LIKE HIM WILL PRAISE HIM.
•Engr. Celestine (CELE) Uneze writes from Nekede. •Photo shows Governor Okorocha.
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