Tussle over kingship stool tears Delta community apart

From: Paul Osuyi, Asaba

Barely three months after a family of five, including an octogenarian grandmother, were murdered in Idumuje-Ugboko, in Delta State, the community is in the news again.

A fresh crisis over who should succeed the former monarch of the town, the late Albert Nwoko III, is threatening to tear the agrarian community apart.

Already, traditional chiefs and kingmakers are divided over the right choice between Prince Nonso Nwoko and an 18-year-old final year Secondary School student, Prince Uche Nwoko, to ascend the throne.

A section of the palace chiefs was alleged to have installed Prince Nonso as king against what some indigenes of the town described as a set back to the customs of the people. Those against the installation of Nanso claimed that some requisite formalities and notification of relevant authorities were not followed.

According to a concerned indigene of the town who pleaded not to be named in print, any installation must wait until after the three months burial rites for the late King, insisting that it was a desecration of tradition to have anybody sit on the stool for now.

The source said protest against alleged installation of Nonso was shoved aside by his loyalists who insisted that he should sit on the stool the same night that the Obi passed on, noting that the haste was to frustrate Prince Uche, who is in school in far away Ebonyi State.

The source noted that those in support of Nonso were afraid and hurriedly installed him because his mother is from Ubulu-Uku while Uche’s mother is from Idumuje-Ugboko, adding that tradition demands that the mother of the king must come from the town.

As a result of the alleged installation of Prince Nonso as Obi, a petition has been forwarded to the chairman of the council area on behalf of Prince Uche by his lawyer, Mr. Ikhide Ehighelua, Esq.

The petitioner contended that the life of his client was now in danger and asked that he be made a ward of the court.

“By the standing order and rule in Idumuje-Ugboko, the said Prince Justin Chukwunonso Nwoko is not qualified to succeed to the throne of Obi of Idumuje-Ugboko,” Mr. Ehighelua  wrote in the petition.

He alleged that Prince Nonso’s mother is not from Idumuje-Ugboko kingdom as prescribed by the tradition, but from Ubulu-Uku, adding that he is currently standing trial in the Magistrates’ Court, Asaba, for the alleged offense of forgery and conspiracy in suit number CMA/420c/2016.

The petitioner called on relevant authorities to ensure that Prince Uche is presented, installed and crowned as the Obi of Idumuje-Ugboko Kingdom.

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