Superiority clash tears Delta traditional rulers apart
The disagreement among traditional rulers in Delta State over who is superior is yet to settle, as the people of Agbor Kingdom have criticised the Chairman of the state Council of Traditional Rulers and Obi of Owa, Dr. Emmanuel Efeizomor II, over what they viewed as unkind words for their monarch, Dein of Agbor Kingdom, Keagborekuzi Ikenchukwu I, following a recent comment on the grading or classification of monarchs in the state.
The Agbor monarch had, during his visit to the Olu of Warri-designate, Tsola Emiko, claimed that the Dein of Agbor and Olu of Warri were the only two first-class traditional rulers in the state, according to records available in national archives.
But the traditional rulers council, led by Efeizomor, in a communiqué issued at the end of their meeting in Asaba, took exception to the comments, saying the proper designation and legally known title of the traditional ruler of Agbor Kingdom is “Obi of Agbor’’ and not ‘’Dein of Agbor.’ ’
The Council insisted that there was no grading of monarchs in Delta State, describing the comment as unfortunate, declaring that the Agbor monarch lacked the basic information on the issue, citing ‘’the provisions of section 45 (3A) of the Traditional Rulers Council and Chiefs Law Cap T2, Delta State, upon which the Obi of Agbor is operating and functioning as a king, had declared all traditional rulers in the state as co-equal.
The communiqué, signed by Efeizomor 11; First Vice Chairman and Orodje of Okpe, Maj-Gen. Felix Mujakperuo (rtd), Orhue 1 and 2nd Vice Chairman and Pere of Akugbene Mein, S.P. L Kalanama VIII, stressed that there was no rating or special classification of traditional rulers in Delta State, as claimed by the Agbor monarch, urging monarchs and the public to ignore and disregard the Dein’s claims, which they said was targeted at self- aggrandisement, to the irritation of the traditional institution in the state.
However, rising in defence of their monarch, the Agbor stakeholders, in a statement, by Basil Okoh, while singling out the Owa monarch, said: “The Council of Traditional Rulers of Delta State does not have an Executive Council at the moment. No one should, therefore, purport to speak for a body that is presently headless.
“The tenure of the Obi of Owa, Dr. Emmanuel Efeizomor, as Chairman of the Council of Traditional Rulers of Delta State has long elapsed and can, therefore, no longer act or speak for the body.
“The communiqué by persons claiming to speak for the Council is, therefore, invalid, out of order, null, void and of no value or effect whatsoever. It should be discounted and ignored by everyone.
“The Obi of Owa has ceased to be Chairman of the Council of Traditional Rulers of Delta State and is presently in breach of the laws setting up the body.
“Agbor Kingdom is not a creation of the laws of Delta State and our king cannot be named by it. The statement signed by the Obi of Owa and his collaborators insults and denigrates our revered king by referring to him as the Obi of Agbor “as properly and legally known.”
“Dein of Agbor is the occupier of the throne of Agbor before whom the forebears of the Obi of Owa knelt in greetings and supplication as their king and overlord. They were the Ayuwè of Agbor Kingdom whose descendant should not be permitted to denigrate his overlord, the Dein of Agbor.
“Dein is the title of Keagborekuzi Benjamin Ikenchuku the First, Dein of Agbor Kingdom, the present occupant of the throne of Agbor and inheritor of the bloodline of Dein Eborka, founder and progenitor of the present dynasty of Agbor Kingdom since AD1270. Agbor kingdom does not need Government laws or gazette to name our king.
“Any traditional ruler who was not a member of the Western Nigeria House of Chiefs cannot be called a first class Traditional Ruler today in Delta State. That is the truth as expressed by the Dein of Agbor.
“Obika Gbenoba, the Obi of Agbor as he was then addressed and Olu of Warri were both members of the Western Region House of Chiefs.
“Obika Gbenoba, the king of Agbor was also a cabinet Minister of the Western Region of Nigeria who was honoured and cited as a first class Traditional Ruler during award to him of Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR). He received the award along with His Highness O. Onyetenu, Asagba of Asaba on the 1st of October 1965.
“Any king whose throne and claim to Kingship did not predate colonialism cannot be truly called a king as he is a creation of the British Colonial Government. Such “king” can only be in the mould of the Warrant Chiefs appointed by the British Colonial Government in the Eastern Region and other British Colonies.
“There cannot be kings without kingdoms. The Obi of Owa throne was self-declared in 1951 during the last decade of colonialism in Nigeria to break away from Agbor kingdom.
“The facts of history cannot be revised or changed to suit the fancies of current politics. The Council of Traditional Rulers of Delta State should be a custodian of the history, culture and traditions of the people of the state and should not be run to suit the politics of the times.”