Igwe of Ogidi saga: A marathon, not a sprint
On August 27, this year, a sham election took place at Ogidi Town Hall. It was reported that two pharmacists contested the election to the throne of Ogidi and one-stepped down for the other at the election venue.
Inquiring minds are wondering whether the “successful” candidate has fallen for a cruel and pernicious trick packaged and sold to him by the president general of Ogidi Union or whether he was done in by a senseless ambition.
Whatever the reason, the “Igwe nagu” (one yearning for Igweship) pharmacist has bought into an unexpected outcome. It is not over and will not be over until the judiciary speaks.
There are three court cases regarding the Igweship of Ogidi working their ways through the Anambra State court system.
Lately, the tumultuous fanfare that erupted after the kangaroo election has since simmered down and petered out. The avalanche of sponsored articles has died down. The lofty praise, which the authors showered on their “Igwe -elect” can only be compared with tales from an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing (my apologies to William Shakespeare).
Impeccable sources said that a spirited and carefully orchestrated effort to obtain chieftaincy certificate from the Anambra State Government was attempted on Wednesday, October 12.
A powerful delegation of Ogidi “high-and-mighty” was assembled to meet with the governor in Awka, the state capital. The delegation was assured and reassured that all had been arranged towards receiving this all-important certificate.
The optimists have even earmarked November 5, this year as the date of the first Ofala celebration of their “Igwe-elect.”
Some came from Lagos, others from Abuja, Kano, Port Harcourt and some others from other Nigerian big cities. They wanted to witness an epochal event, the legitimisation of an Igwe of Ogidi that is not from the Amobi Royal family.
The expectation was high. Since Ogidi VIPs were assembled, it was calculated to show the governor that all of Ogidi community was solidly behind the “Igwe-elect.”
Seven canopies were strategically erected at the home of the “Igwe-elect” for the boisterous felicitation after the receipt of the certificate. Choice wine and food were on hand for the victory celebration.
But no celebration took place. The wise governor had burst their bubble. He was polite, but firm. He cannot be railroaded into meddling into a matter that is pending in the courts.
At the meeting with Ogidi delegation, comprising president general of Ogidi Union and the carefully selected “high-and-mighty” Ogidi sons, the governor was explicit. He explained that he and his commissioner of Chieftaincy Affairs (who was also in the meeting) have been duly served with court papers and unequivocally declared that he would do nothing until the courts have successfully adjudicated the matter and declared their verdicts.
Not a few of the Ogidi “high-and-mighty” were disappointed. One of them was so highly disgusted that he could no longer hide his displeasure. As he staggered into his car, he was apparently furious.
“What type nonsense is this,” he barked, “we were told that everything has been arranged. I came all the way from Lagos, only to witness this humiliation. I hope no one would ever talk to me about this in the future.”
More troubles have greeted the “Igwe-elect.” He was crowned (capped) by the wrong person. The function of capping the Igwe of Ogidi is traditionally reserved for the Umu-Ezeani family of Ire Ogidi Eze-Inwele from Akanano Quarters.
To accelerate the process, a man from the ineligible lineage in Akanano was hurriedly bestowed with an ozo title and goaded on to cap the “Igwe-elect.”
Now, it is double jeopardy for the “Igwe-nagu.” First, he jumped the legal gun and also flouted the age-old tradition of being properly capped.
This ambition of the president general of Ogidi Union to shepherd the election of Igwe of Ogidi outside legal bounds is creating acrimony and bad blood in the Ogidi community.
“The centre no longer holds,” a statement made popular by an erstwhile Ogidi wordsmith, the late Prof. Chinua Achebe, in his famous book.
The president general has committed contempt of court and an appropriate legal punishment surely awaits him.
Cracks are now beginning to appear among Ogidi people who supported the “Igwe-elect.” People have realised that they were deceived into believing that all arrangements to wrench Igweship of Ogidi from the Amobi Royal family had been concluded.
My advice to the good people of Ogidi is to find common ground. Dialogue is important and imperative in a situation as this.
As I was made to understand, there are several high court cases and an Appeal Court case pending. And who knows, Supreme Court may also be in the offing. The current Igweship saga is a marathon, not a sprint.
Amechi lives in Onitsha