Obinna Odogwu, Awka
The people of Nkerehi community in Orumba South Local Government Area of Anambra State have every cause to rejoice; what with the recent peaceful selection of another traditional ruler for them.
Recently, they thronged the premises of the council area at Umunze in jubilation; the danced and made joyful noise around the premises of the secretariat.
They had actually come to present the Igwe-elect, Chief Matthias Chidozie Anyadiegwu, to the Transition Committee Chairman of the council area, Hon. Raymond Onyegu.
The visit to the local government, our correspondent gathered, was a prelude to the eventual presentation to the state government for the issuance of the Certificate of Recognition and other paraphernalia of office.
The frenzied atmosphere practically grounded activities at the secretariat as staffers lined up along some of the corridors to watch the scene while some others were seen at upstairs sticking out their necks from the windows to catch some glimpses.
The arrival of the Igwe-elect literally fired up the atmosphere as the shouts of ‘Igweeeee’, ‘Igweeee’, rent the air. Indeed, the energetic Igwe-elect livened up the show with some acrobatic dance steps.
It was after their display that they moved to the office of the council boss to formally present their incoming traditional ruler to him.
Secretary-General of Nkerehi Progressive Union (NPU), Joseph Anulobi, and another community leader, Chief Marcel Ike, told the council boss that the incoming monarch was selected in line with the provisions of their 1976 constitution.
According to him, the community did not only adhere strictly to the provisions of their constitution, but also obtained the approval of the state government and other relevant authorities before proceeding with the selection process.
“We wrote to the state government and all the authorities in the government and they gave us approval. We also wrote to the Commissioner of Police, Anambra State and he gave us approval.
“Everything we are doing today has the backing of the state government. When we selected the new Igwe-elect, we used the 1976 constitution that produced the late Igwe Michael Ukaegbu who hailed from Isiama, Okpuama. So, we’ve come to seek your support in what we are doing”, he said.
Narrating the processes to Daily Sun after the presentation, he said: “We followed the due process of selection. Our late monarch, Igwe Michael Ukaegbu, who died about two years ago, the 1976 constitution that produced him, says that it should be rotational among the oldest clan.
“The oldest clan in Nkerehi community is the Isiama clan. There are villages in that Isiama. The first Igwe came from Okpuama. That’s how the late monarch emerged. He was presented to the community. It was not contested.
“Then, this time around, we referred to the same constitution and the next people to produce traditional ruler is the people of Umuana in Umuokpara. We asked them to give us somebody. That’s how Chief Matthias Chidozie Anyadiegwu emerged”.
Another community leader, Chief Benjamin Onwu said that the incoming monarch was selected because of his good works in the community.
Secretary-General of NPU, Anulobi, however, explained that the community could reject a candidate present to it by a village for the purpose of the stool: “We painstakingly selected him because we know what we want. In Nkerehi, what we do when selecting a leader is that when the concerned village presents somebody that is not liked by the majority, we reject the person. So, this one was carefully selected and he is the people’s choice.
“If they fail to present a credible candidate within a specified period of time, we go to the next village. That is the provision of the constitution and that of the code of conduct. So, we selected him based on his antecedents”.
Responding, the Transition Committee Chairman, represented by his deputy, Mr Ike Nwafor, told his visitors that their message had been received and would be handled accordingly.
Meanwhile, the Igwe-elect expressed happiness on the outcome of the event saying that he would work to uplift the community and ensure the sustenance of people.
“In Umuokpara, we have three villages namely: Obumsorogodo, Umunwankwo and Umunworie. We were three persons who declared interest for the throne from the three villages.
“After looking at the whole thing, our people reasoned that it would be better for the three of us to reach a consensus and present one person because Igweship is not contestable.
“Two of my brothers, Stanley Nnadi, and Christopher Okeke, and myself, Chief Matthias Anyadiegwu, were the ones that declared interest but we reached an understanding and the two asked me to go and represent them.
“For the people to have chosen me to be their traditional ruler, I will ensure that peace reigns in Nkerehi. I will carry my people along. I will work towards bringing development to our people”, he stated.
Also, he commended Governor Willie Obiano for his good works in their community and in the council area saying that their people were grateful.