Royal War: Oha-Nsukka Battles Igwe Okolo

Nsukka town has never been so much engulfed in crisis than now. Ever since the splitting of the town into three autonomous communities-Nru, Ihe/Owerre and Nkpunano, the bond which hitherto held the people together has continued to slack by day.
In fact, there seems to be no love lost among the three traditional rulers-Igwe Sylvanus Aruma, Igwe J.U Attama and Igwe Patrick Okolo. For quite sometime, the people of the town have been making spirited efforts to unite the traditional rulers.
However, the theatre appears to have shifted this time. A battle for supremacy is gradually taking the centre stage between the Oha-Nsukka, a traditional ruling council and Igwe Patrick Okolo, the traditional ruler of Nkpunano autonomous community.
The battle stems from the alleged refusal of the traditional ruler to honour a decision taken by the Oha Nsukka in a land dispute, which emanated from Nkpunano, the Igwe’s domain.
Igwe Okolo was reported to have defied the decision of the Oha-Nsukka on the notion that he was the number one person in his community and as such would not take directive from an external body.
In a ruling recently by the Nsukka Town Union, the members were said to have averred that apart from the town union every other institution was under traditional rulers.
Nevertheless, this decision has not gone down well with the Oha-Nsukka.
In a chat recently with The Starlite, one of the high ranking Chiefs in the area and a member of the Oha-Nsukka, Chief Emeka Ugwu, said a relation of the royal father had sometime ago reported a land dispute between him and the Igwe to Oha-Nsukka. He explained that when the matter was filed before them, the traditional institution used the power vested in it to broker peace between the two parties.
“We sent our messenger to the scene and they placed ‘Ogwu’ after going through all the processes. Ogwu is a kind of injunction. Nobody should enter the land until the case is settled.
“Surprisingly, the Igwe told one of the messengers of Oha-Nsukka that he is not supposed to come and place ‘Ogwu’ in his domain. He said he was the highest authority; that the Oha is under him. Then, the messenger told him that he is the Igwe of Nkpunano and not the Igwe of Nsukka, because Oha Nsukka is the highest traditional ruling organ.
“So, the messengers reported back to the Oha Nsukka. They were then asked to get the message across again to the Igwe through the eldest man in his village. Igwe resisted this again and said no person has the right to plant ‘Ogwu’ in his place’, Chief Ugwu said.
The members of the Oha-Nsukka who had gone to a customary court to ensure that Igwe Patrick Okolo complied with its decision noted that it was unbecoming of any person, let alone an Igwe to convert a family land into his personal property without obtaining the consent of the family members.
They are also demanding an unreserved apology from the traditional ruler for going against the traditional laws as it relates to the Oha-Nsukka.
According to Chief Ugwu: “We have no personal problems with Igwe Patrick Okolo. All we are saying is that he must recognize that the Oha institution is superior to his position. What we need is for him to come and apologize because it is an abomination in Nsukka for any person to remove ‘Ogwu’. It is a symbol of peace. So, any person who tampers with it wants trouble.
“So, he has desecrated the land and we want him to clean the land. He knows what to do; there are laid down procedures to be followed by any person who removes ‘Ogwu’. Other traditional rulers in our place have been complying with the decision of the Oha-Nsukka. He is not different. He cannot claim to be higher than all the titled men in Nsukka.
‘Igwe is a controversial man. He uses his style to intimidate others. He is not friendly with other royal fathers. He is also not friendly with his people; he does not even take advice. However, I know that the problem is that he is a political Igwe; he is not a traditional Igwe. He was given Igwe by the politicians and that is why he is behaving like this; he even told us that the Governor cannot stop him if he wants to do anything. So, we shall fight him until he imprisons all of us”, Chief Ugwu averred.
Commenting on a recent ruling on the dispute between the Oha-Nsukka and Igwe Okolo by the Nsukka Town Union, Chief Ugwu said the union’s decision was a nullity.
He opined that the Oha Nsukka gave birth to both the Igweship institution and the town union, adding that by that factor it overrides them in any matter of controversy.
“Those in the town union designed the so-called organogram that made them to be on top. We the titled men sent them there. They are just like representatives. They cannot say that they are more important than their fathers”, he submitted.
As it stands now, Igwe Patrick Okolo has reportedly written a letter to the customary court asking for a transfer of the case to a High court. He was said to have expressed fear that the customary court was not going to give an unbiased judgement.

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