The tussle for the rightful occupant of Odogwu Ibusa left behind by the late odogwu about three years ago, is drumming up worrisome beat for the Otu Odogwo family and the Obuzor of Ibusa.
The High Chief,Onowu Micheal Emeshie, the Diokpa of Otu Odogwu in Ibusa,Delta State has again emphasised the need for peace in the lingering Odogwu title thrown tussle, that is tearing brothers apart in Ibusa, Delta State,He spoke to Tony Okwunebe of Grassroots Publishers online, chronicling the genesis of the tussle and other issues concerning the chalking of the new Odogwu. …Excerpt.
Recently, there was a squabble over a traditional stool of Odogwu title in Ibusa, what actually is the bone of contention after you have chalked Chief Charles Okonkwo?
I have acted as Ibusa custom and tradition demands. The person that the entire Otu Odogwu nominated for the position of Odogwu of Ibuzor is Chief Charles Okonkwo ,I have chalked him as the diokpa of Otu Odogwu. He was selected by his quarter and nominated by the entire Otu Odogwu and as the traditional Diokpa, i have perfected my duty by chalking him as custom demands. As it stands now Ibusa have gotten Odogwu in the person of Charles Okonkwo. Ibusa people know already that they have an Odogwu from my endorsement traditionally. They already know because I endorsed him publicly. From the day I endorsed him, he has automatically becomes the Odogwu of Ibusa.
The Odogwu title is it by age, appointment, heredity or elective?
It’s never hereditary. It’s not by appointment, age or otherwise. The community (Otu – Odogwu knows where, how and when to choose the Odogwu. It is not hereditary. The Otu- Odogwu decides who they want to select, not the Obuzor. The Obuzor has no traditional right in appointing who becomes the Odogwu of Ibusa. It is only the Otu- Odogwu that has spiritual and traditional right to select and endorse the next Odogwu of Ibusa. It is after we have selected and chalked the person that we can now present the person to the most senior diokpa of Ibusa and obuzor. That is how it’s done.
We learnt that the Obuzor of Ibusa wrote a letter to Otu-Odogwu rejecting the endorsement of Charles Okonkwo as the Odogwu of Ibusa. Between you the Diokpa of Otu-Odogwu and the Obuzor of Ibusa, who has the right to endorse the Odogwu of Ibusa?
Obuzor is the King of Ibusa, he is my son, he belongs to Otu-Odogwu, Umueze as well as Mgboko community. The Mgboko is where Otu-Odogwu emanates and it is this same Mgboko community that brought out Charles Okonkwo to be the next Odogwu of Ibusa. It is only the Diokpa of Otu-Odogwu that has the traditional power to endorse and chalk the person for the title of Odogwu of Ibusa. After nomination at the village level, like they did now, it is the Diokpa of Otu-Odogwu that will endorse the person with the traditional native chalk. Its about three years now when the last Odogwu of Ibusa died. They were trying to play the politics by imposing people who lives in abroad as our Odogwu. I then told them that their decision was wrong. That somebody who stays 10,000 miles away from the community can’t be the Odogwu of Ibusa. The person that must be the next Odogwu of Ibusa must be resident in Ibusa. The reason is when there is an external attack from neighboring communities for instance, to the extent of turning into war, do we need to phone the Odogwu who is outside the country to come to our rescue? It is not done. Odogwu must be resident here. That was what I told the Mgboko Community of which the Obuzor himself is from Mgboko that selected Charles Okonkwo for the title.
Diokpa,recently Obuzor wrote you another letter rejecting the person Otu Odogwu nominated for the Odogwu title, what is your stand on this issue?
The Obuzor of Ibusa , Obi(Prof.) Louis Nwoboshi cannot select nor nominate our Odogwu for us , he has no traditional right to do so , we nominated Charles Ositadinma Okonkwo,(Akulua Unor of Ib’uzor)as our next Odogwu of Ibusa and I have already chalked him and no other living person can be chalked again by me. I am happy that in his letter dated 5th of Dec.2019 with reference number OBZ/ABU/6.10/019/002 he said “we do not contest your custody of Odogwu title but the Prescribed Authority is vested with the responsibility of conferring the title to a worthy son of Otu Odogwu”. I wish to state here that we followed the stipulated guidelines to ensure the best candidate emerges, we picked Chief Charles Okonkwo as the most qualified person because he met all the requirements for the position and this same Chief Charles Okonkwo was conferred with Chieftaincy title as the (Akulua Unor of Ib’uzor) in 2008 by the Obuzor of Ibusa (Eleven years ago because he is a worthy son of Ibusa).so he cannot reject our candidate because he is the most qualified person for the position.
Now that you have endorsed Charles Okonkwo as the Odogwu of Ibuzor,is there anybody that will change that decision?
Nobody can change that decision or endorsement again because I am the Diokpa of Otu-Odogwu. Except if there is another Diokpa of Otu-Odogwu like me, that is when the person would have the power to endorse or change my decision. I am not struggling the Diokpa of Umueze, the Diokpa of Otu- Odogwu with anybody , the entire Umueze community in their meeting of 28th October 2019 nominated Charles Okonkwo for the Odogwu title and Obuzor of Ibuzor is a member of this Umueze community in respect of the fact that he does not attend Umueze meetings, our decisions are bidding on him so also are the decisions of Otu Odogwu Community. Which one are we going to argue who has right or who do not have the right? The right is mine spiritually and traditionally. Unless Obuzor is trying to usurp my traditional powers because he is the king, but in Ibusa traditional “OKPALA KA EZE”. Was he not chalked and crown by the Diokpa of Ibusa for him to be crown the Obuzor of Ibusa? Did Obuzor crown himself King alone? I don’t like things like these.
Diokpa, what is your advice to Otu-Odogwu and the new Odogwu -Elect Chief Charles Okonkwo that you have endorsed?
Chief Charles Okonkwo is the only person I have endorsed and chalked for the title of Odogwu Ibuzor no other person. Any other person coming as Odogwu is looking for problem in Ibuzor. It is the Diokpa Otu-Odogwu that has the full right to endorse him as the Odogwu of Ibuzor. And as it stands today, Chief Charles Okonkwo is the Odogwu of Ibuzor elect , he should go ahead and meet Ikwele of Ibusa to start the processes of IKWA Agana (Ikpu Ogbu).
Attached below are letters from Diokpa otu Odogwu and Obuzor: