Opinion

Time to reflect on Ubulu-Uku kingship affair

By Frank Oshanugor

SINCE Obi Akaeze Ofulue of Ubulu- Uku, Delta State was kidnapped in the first week of January, 2016 and subseĀ­quently murdered by gunmen alleged to be Fulani herdsmen, a lot of issues have been brought to the public domain via the social media for the right or wrong reasons by some indigenes of the town who feel obliged to exercise their freeĀ­dom of speech.
While some believed that the deĀ­ceased was a victim of planned assassiĀ­nation for whatever reason, others saw the incident as the handiwork of ramĀ­paging kidnappers who have invaded every nook and cranny of southern NiĀ­geria in recent times for cheap money through ransom payment. Further inĀ­vestigation by the police may however, prove what was the actual motive of those who killed him few days after his abduction along with one Mr. Charles Afam Ugboh.
It is also in the public domain that while the circumstances in which the late Akaeze emerged as king of Ubulu- Uku some nine years ago were argued by a faction of the citizenry as irregĀ­ular and contrary to established tradiĀ­tional procedures based on primogeniĀ­ture (since he had some elder brothers from another mother), others have been ardent in dismissing the argument as a non-issue.
Such contradiction has only helped to create some dilemma and escalate the centrifugal tendencies that have refused to abate even after his death.
Any discerning reader must have obĀ­served the deep-rooted arguments hosted in the social media as to the legality or otherwise of Akaezeā€™s reign as the king of Ubulu-Uku between 2006 and 2016. MatĀ­ters are worsened by the fact that even those who are not quite conversant with what Ubulu-Uku monarchical institution entails want to make others believe in something else.
As a son of Ubulu-Uku kingdom, I am worried that the tranquility and spirit of oneness which used to permeate the nook and cranny of the community have become fragile among the citizenry such that not many Ubulu-Uku people can confidently believe in one another any longer dependĀ­ing on which camp one belongs.
Some people are certainly not sincere to the fatherland because events in the last nine years obviously proved that Ubulu- Uku has not been the same again with regards to the overwhelming respect and loyalty hitherto accorded the monarchical institution as represented by the king on throne.
It is highly regrettable that within the nine years in question when Akaeze reigned as the king of Ubulu-Uku, the indigenes, rightly or wrongly, became factionalized with each camp believing strongly in the argument it has put forĀ­ward with regards to who had the right in the first place to occupy the throne.
One may not be wrong to assume that if some elements had not unduly got themĀ­selves involved in the process of choosing a new king or coronate him in a manner that runs foul of inherited traditional arĀ­rangement, the emergent disaffection that polarized the Umu-Ozim and Umu-Obi at the exit of Obi Edward Ofulue II would not have occurred.
While I am neither part of Umu-Ozim (owners of the throne), Umu-Obi (occupiers of the throne), nor the Onishe, Ojiba, Odafe or others who have stake in the choice and coronation of a new king, I must caution that it should not be taken for granted that Ubulu-Uku is for a few people who would want the rest to dance to their whims and caprices on issues of tradition and natural justice.
I say this, because the war of words, acĀ­cusations and counter-accusations in the soĀ­cial media by Ubulu-Uku citizens who have taken different positions will only expose us further as a people who are incapable of living under the same roof
The muteness of the elite has not helped matters and this is the time for everyone to reflect on the dangers of having a divided Ubulu-Uku at a time other communities are busy attracting developmental projects to their people.
Every one of us should rise up and save the community from arbitrary and despotĀ­ic tendencies that are alien to our culture. The Umu-Ozim,Umu-Obi, Onishe, Ojiba, Odafe, Umu-Anugwe, traditional chiefs and other major stakeholders should come toĀ­gether and identify what went wrong and how best to correct it now before it becomes late for our generation.
.Oshanugor writes from Lagos

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