…As police take over Aguleri
By Vincent Ujumadu, Awka
The tussle for the royal stool of Aguleri, Governor Willie Obiano’s community in Anambra East local government area of Anambra State took a dangerous dimension yesterday as a section of Idigo dynasty allegedly locked up the Igwe’s palace where the state government- recognized traditional ruler for the community, Igwe Michael Idigo had slated to perform his first ofala festival.
The Idigo royal family had been divided over who would occupy the royal stool following the death of the late Igwe Christopher Idigo in March last year.
While a section of the royal family selected Michael Idigo to mount the throne, another section opposed it and selected another person also from the royal family. Following the state government’s recognition of Michael Idigo as the traditional ruler of the town, the opposing group went to court to challenge him.
However, as preparations for the festival reached its climax yesterday, some people believed to be those opposed to Igwe Michael Idigo locked up the palace where today’s ceremony was to take place.
This perhaps, prompted those in support of the Igwe to invite security operatives who stormed Aguleri yesterday and while they kept watch in the community, some youths broke the chains used in locking the doors of the palace to enable the royal father have access to the palace.
Worried by the development, the chairman of Iruokechi family, Sir Emma Chiatula and Crown Prince Fidelis Idigo (Okpala Idigo), accused the state government of fueling the royal tussle in the community, adding that a statement by the chief press secretary to Governor Obiano announcing the ofala festival ignited the crisis in the area.
Chiatula’s statement read: “Our attention has been drawn to the announcement signed by one Mr. James Eze, Press Secretary to the Governor of Anambra State, about a purported Ovala festival celebration in Aguleri, planned for the 4th of January 2020.
“Ordinarily, we would have ignored such an announcement as anyone is free to hold a carnival and call it Ovala in Aguleri, but for the mention of Idigo Royal dynasty, being involved.
“We want the general public to note that:
- The Idigo Royal dynasty and the extended Iruokechi Royal family are not part of the so called Ovala festival.
- Traditionally, it is not up to one year the last Igwe joined our ancestors. An Ovala ceremony therefore cannot be held so soon.
- Additionally the propriety of giving certificate of recognition to someone who is not the family’s choice as Igwe, is a matter before the State High Court for determination.
- The Press Secretary to the Governor is neither a member of the royal family, nor an indigene of Aguleri and so has no business announcing the Ovala festival for the Idigo royal dynasty.
- Ama Igwe (Palace) which they claim as their venue is a private property and our approval for the use of the same was neither sought, nor given, so the action is a deliberate attempt to provoke and trespass.
- We have it on good authority that they wish to repeat what they did in March 2019, when they forcefully collected the remains of the late Igwe from the mortuary at Enugu, invaded and locked down the palace and palace grounds with security operatives, to conduct the burial for him and preventing the Royal family from taking part.
- We would like to state however that no man is God and every government has an end and the impunity being perpetrated on the Idigo Royal dynasty will not last forever.”
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