Crisis trails Soludo’s threat to destroy Udo ancestral deity
Anambra state Governor, Professsor Chukwuma Soludo’s threat to demolish spiritual and mundane property, including the Udo deity, to pave way for the ongoing construction of a flyover in the sub-urban centre of Ekwulobia, the headquarter of Aguata Local Council, has drawn the ire of some residents.
This was just as traditional worshippers of the Chukwunedu Anene-anchored Udo deity in Amikwo-Awka in Awka South Local Council defied the cult-related killings of three persons at Ukwu-Udala and Ukwuoji axis of the community to hold the celebration of Nkwa Festival in honour of Udo deity, the god of peaceful sojourn and return to community.
The Guardian gathered that the security threat necessitated the prevalence of the custodians of Awka yearly moon counting ritual performer (Akadiana-Awka), Chief Patrick Nweke on the traditional ruler of Omor, Ayamelum Local Council of the State to shun the ceremony.
Nweke told The Guardian that the invitation of Igwe Oranu was in recognition of the new-found brotherhood between Omor in Ayamelum Local Council and Amikwo in Awka, Awka South Local Council, recounting that Ikwo, the itinerant hunter and native medicine man migrated to Awka to found Amikwo-Awka.
He pointed out that separate Ogbugbankwa Square, Udo Shrine, Udide Shrine, Amikwo and villages of Unudiana, Okperi, Igweogigw and Ishiagu, and performance of Amanwulu exist in the communities of Amikwo-Awka and Omor.
According to him, Ikwo, the migrant married the first wife, Akubunwa from Omor who begot Unudiana and Okperi respectively and the second wife, Imedinafo who bore Igweogige and Ishiagu respectively with Obunagu, the fifth village as an adopted son.
But despite the security threat that preceded last Friday’s Udo Festival, Ogbugbankwa, venue of the celebration of Udo Nkwa was a beehive as the entire community converged to witness Udo Priest, Chief Chukwunedu Anene perform ritual and prayer for peace and bountiful farm yields.
Anene, who was chosen by the Udo deity as its ritual servant since 2002 and an Okperi-Awka Community leader, Chief Johnson Okafor described Udo as the oldest deity, which is celebrated in form of Udo Nkwa (Ukwu n’ije) in June, after the most popular Imoka Festival in the month of May.
Trouble started when Soludo, whose ancestor is believed to have worshipped the Udo deity as Chief Priest of the deity of protection of the sojourners in his Isuofia community, Aguata Local Council of the state, embarked on the demolition of public, private, and civil society entities in Ekwolobia and Oko and in Orumva North Local Councils of the state, amid protests.
The over-heated development, is about the move by Governor Soludo to destroy Udo Olulu Eke Ekwulobia, the shrine of Udo Ekwulobia, a similar deity worshipped by his ancestors in Isuofia without proper consideration and option.
In a swift reaction, kicking against the demolition of the Udo deity Shrine at Ekwulobia, an Anambra-born traditional practitioner, Oliver Nwokedi warned against incurring the wrath of the gods in the seeming demolition bravado.
Nwokedi, a self-professed spiritual revolutionare, and humble truth-bearer from Enugwu Nanka, Orumba North Local Council, advised that personalities should have alternative means of settling issues or provoking the traditional priests rather than involving outsiders or neutral communities.
Similarly, the Chief priest, Udo Olulu Eke Ekwulobia, who simply identified himself as Okenye (the Ancient One), said: “Tell Soludo that Okenye is talking and should not throw stone while he literally lives in a glass house.”
Okenye contended: “If Soludo thinks government owns the site of the Udo Olulu Eke in Ekwulobia, let him dare to destroy or remove it without due process.”
He said the forceful demolition occasioned by the plan to build a flyover is a good plan, but noted that the Governor does not have the slightest inkling of the repercussion in-wait, stressing that the message was what he was asked to go and deliver.
Get the latest news delivered straight to your inbox every day of the week. Stay informed with the Guardian’s leading coverage of Nigerian and world news, business, technology and sports.