Paul Osuyi, Asaba
The chieftaincy crisis rocking Issele-Uku Kingdom in Aniocha North Local Government Area of Delta State has been laid to rest. This followed the installation of one the parties laying claim to the Isagba title, Chief Fidelis Jigide, as the Esogba of the kingdom.
Jigide was earlier installed as the Isagba of the kingdom by the king, Agbogidi Obi Nduka, which was challenged in court by another contender, Ngozi Azuh, and got judgement. The contentious Isagba title belongs to the Umu Mokobia Ogue family of Ogbeidibo quarters of Issele-Uku. Both Jigide and Azuh hail from Ogbeidibo.
A palace source said when Jigide was presented by Umueze Isei to the Obi for recognition and installation as Isagba, the monarch asked, three times, if he was the rightful person for the title but there was no dissenting voice.
“Believing that the family, the quarters and the larger Umueze Isei had followed all the procedures, Fidelis Jigide was chalked. After some weeks, he was conferred with the title of Isagba.
“But Azuh felt that he was cheated. He believed that he was the next in line for the Isagba title, and, therefore, went to court to challenge the validity of Jigide for the title. He eventually got judgement restraining Jigide from parading himself as Isagba of Issele-Uku.
“Although this was against following the internal traditional processes of resolving such a matter, our Obi, in his wisdom, had to with the Isagba title and decorate Jigide with another title as Esogba of Issele-Uku Kingdom,” the source volunteered.
At the ceremony for the withdrawal of the Isagba title and subsequent installation of the Esogba, Obi Nduka harped on the need for peace and unity of the people of Issele-Uku and urged his subject to maintain same at all times.
The monarch first de-robed Jigide as the Isagba, and immediately retreated into his inner chambers for a moment before emerging to commence the ceremonial installation of Jigide as Esogba. He pronounced same Jigide as the Esogba of Issele-Uku Kingdom, charging him to take responsibility for resolving all traditional and political cases in the town on his behalf.
He adorned Jigide with the title of Esogba Wadieso Eze Agbabu, insisting that nobody fights with the king, not even when appointment of chiefs and their installations are his prerogative:
“The withdrawal of the Isagba title from Fidelis Jigide has put to an end the tussle surrounding the rightful ownership of the title.
“My leadership is to ensure the reign of peace and unity in the kingdom, which was handed over to me by my forebears. It became necessary for me to withdraw the title in the interest of peace in my domain.
“However, the people of Issele-Uku must mark this day for remembrance and reference, in the sense that our tradition is in our hands to nurture and to keep.
“Outsiders cannot teach us our tradition, because our tradition has always provided a way of solving any issue arising from traditional processes as bequeathed to us by our forefathers.
“I want to advise that we must always have faith in our traditional processes by resolving our differences using internal traditional mechanisms for settlement. We must not resort to using outsiders or other means to resolve our issues.
“On this note, my people, having found Jigide as a worthy son of Issele-Uku, a peacemaker and a man of tradition in whom I am well pleased, I hereby pronounce him the Esogba of Oligbo Kingdom. His function is to seek peace all the time in the kingdom.
“He must ensure trouble does not brew in Issele-Uku; where there is trouble in the land, he must be the first port of call for peace and unity.
“Jigide is a man I love so much and my forefathers love him too. Esogba means nobody fights with the king, because whoever fights with the king fights in vain. Let this represent a new orientation in us that, henceforth, nobody wrestles with the Obi of Issele-Uku against anything.
“This title of Esogba (Wadieso Eze Agbabu) will continue to consciously remind us that our tradition is sacrosanct and we must have faith in it.”
Jigide instantly received traditional chalking (ima nzu) and was subsequently installed by being dressed with arm and neck beads and presented with staff of office.
Meanwhile, prominent traditionalists in the town have hailed the wisdom of the Obi, maintaining that the decision was the best way to restore peace and give regard to tradition.
The Ogbelani of Issele-Uku, Diokpa Isimchei Okonkwo, who lauded Obi Nduka, addressing him as Obi Udo (King of Peace), affirmed that the king made the right decision with utmost regard to tradition and restoration of peace.
On his part, the Chi-Obi of Issele-Uku, Prince Egbo Adigwe, posited that nobody could challenge the Obi on matters of chieftaincy, appointments and installations, insisting that, as a man of peace, His Majesty had adequately resolved every issue relating to Isagba title.
In the same manner, the Agujiegbe of Issele-Uku, Chief Gabriel Ebite, said he was the happiest person to witness the event, describing Obi Nduka as a phenomenal traditional ruler, and stressed that God had indeed used him as an instrument of peace and unity.
Prince Austin Maha thanked God for the wisdom of Obi Nduka, praying that the kingdom handed down to him by the ancestors would last forever.
In his acceptance remarks, an emotional Jigide appreciated Agbogidi Nduka for the favour and honour done him. He said he was short of words for what transpired, promising not to disappoint Obi Nduka and Issele-Uku people for the new responsibility assigned to him by the chieftaincy installation.
Oligbo Royal Palace was a carnival of sorts as the new Esogba, his family and friends, as well as elders and leaders of the community all danced in jubilation for the new chieftaincy title bestowed on a worthy son.