PROF DEMAS NWOKO, CHIEF CHRIS BIOSE AND THE ISSUE OF SELECTIVE JUDGEMENT. By Zik Zulu Okafor

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PROF DEMAS NWOKO, CHIEF CHRIS BIOSE AND THE ISSUE OF SELECTIVE JUDGEMENT.

By Zik Zulu Okafor

I am familiar with the glowing tales about Prof Demas Nwoko as a trojan of his architectural calling. I adore his avant-garde concept of architecture and the Africanness he brought to bear on it. His designs, for me, epitomise creative Nigeriana, the genii of his generation. And the sheer visage of his physical cut in those bohemian costumes in the days of yore told an awesome story of an incisive character and a pilgrim soul, a man in search of creative truth and the essentials of life.

Unlike Prof Nwoko let me confess that I do not know much about the man, Chief Chris Biose, the Ode-Uri . But I have read a few of his inspiring, soul- pricking and provocative articles on the national question. His Riddle of a New Ethnic Group in Nigeria, a terse commentary on the Hausa-Fulani escalating dominance of Nigeria’s political arena and “their larger than life image” is a statement of his intellectual depth. And then his seminal book on History and Traditions of Idumuje Clan. All these pointedly bespeak not only his towering intellectual stature but one still burning with an irreducible passion for the wellbeing of his people and survival of their history and cultural heritage. I cannot only aspire to be like these doyens of my Anioma Nation but to be a fetching symbol of their collective aspiration for peace founded on justice in Idumuje Ugboko and indeed all Anioma land.

THEIR TAKE ON IDUMUJE-UGBOKO CRISIS

When these two emblems of who we proudly are, however, commented recently on the media towards the resolution of the crisis in Idumuje-Ugboko, Aniocha North Local Government Area, LGA, of Delta state, I saw a bit of omissions that one side to the conflict could easily misconstrue as deliberate selective amnesia, or mute indifference to some critical issues in the crisis.

I want to believe that these omissions were not deliberate. I have therefore taken it upon myself to point out these grey areas, not for any reason to subject these iconic, poster-giants of our accomplishments and culture to any infamy or to diminish their genuine quest for peace in those rolling hills, of our picturesque village, called Idumuje Ugboko. The real reason and which I judge cogent is to draw their attention to some of these hard facts in their solemn standing as our worthy jurors for peace.

The recent arrest and arraignment of Prince Chukwunonso Nwoko, the aspirational Obi of Idumuje Ugboko perhaps accentuated the voices of these elders.

Let me begin with the interview granted by the revered Prince of Ugboko, Prof Demas Nwoko to a local newspaper, The Pointer. Reacting to a reporter’s question, on the Kingship tussle, he retorted, “…….. We don’t have a succession problem. You can’t ask me, ask government. Ask Ministry of Chieftaincy (sic). If they cannot answer it and they depend on me, then something is wrong. So anything that happens or continues to happen in this community lies in the hands of the government”.

Now, I can understand the emotion of a distinguished elder whose community is without a bonafide king. His emotion is bound to sizzle.

Notwithstanding, it is still important that Prof Nwoko does not allow emotion to rule reason. This is so because the first question to ask is, could the Delta state government have given a Staff of Office, a symbol of recognition and authority to Prince Chukwunonso when the throne is a subject of litigation before a court of competent jurisdiction? Can the state government be seen as an author of anarchy which will be the resultant effect if it brazenly breaches the law by damning a judicial process to dignify impunity through issuance of Staff of Office to an Obi in both a bitter legal battle and a fractious kingdom ?

I was a journalist, a Crime Reporter. I am a Nigeria Merit Award winner in News Reporting and a Crime Reporter, nominee, both in 1992 and barely two years in journalism. With due respect to modesty, it was a testament to my unimpeachable professional integrity, to my deep investigations and reporting them as they were without a tinge of emotion and for the courage to, sometimes, dare to go beyond the seeming boundaries of adventure in a quest to get the news. So, the stark truth is what I owe these vanguards of our collective quest for peace.
A professor of Prince Demas Nwoko’s standing must therefore possess the steely courage to dig into the causative and prognosis of a dire royal situation. It is when he has done this without any iota of emotion that he could stand on a moral high ground to lead the quest for a desirable change and reconciliation that could compel litigants to shield their swords and even withdraw their cases in courts.

There is absolutely no need to begin to imagine that Ugboko has no succession problem. It indeed has a very complicated one, a type that the litigants may walk a long convoluted road to the promise land. And the outcome will yet be unpredictable.

How could Delta state government, for instance, give a Staff of Office to Prince Nonso ? Only on May 21, 2020, the Director of Chieftaincy Affairs received a letter from the court on the pendency of the order restraining the governor from recognizing Prince Nonso as Obi of Idumuje- Ugboko. This letter carried a clear, screaming headline tittled : “RE – NOTIFICATION THAT THE ORDER RESTRAINING THE EXECUTIVE GOVERNOR OF DELTA STATE FROM ACCORDING ANY RECOGNITION TO PRINCE CHUKWUNONSO NWOKO OR FROM HANDING OVER STAFF OF OFFICE OR SYMBOL OF AUTHORITY TO HIM STILL SUBSISTS AND NOT BEEN SET SIDE”.

The Permanent Secretary of the Directorate of Chieftaincy Affairs, Omonyeme Erute sent this letter to the Commissioner of Justice and Attorney General, Peter Mrakpor, who allegedly had unabashedly been meddling in the Ugboko crisis with the sole aim of handing over the Staff of Office to Prince Nonso. With this kind of letter clearly articulating the status quo of the case in court, how could a government, worthy of any modicum of respect, violate this order to give Staff of Office to Prince Chukwunonso just so to perhaps satisfy the ego of a few people and then set the village on perdition.

I believe that Prof Nwoko should explore the amicable resolution of peace option. The 84 year old Professor, has about five cousins that are older than him in his royal family. He needs to have a soul searching meeting with them to explore the best options towards the renaissance of peace and brotherhood that characterized the history of Idumuje –Ugboko. Taking side at this critical moment can only complicate and worsen the situation.

There are in fact so many reasons that would easily shackle the hands of Delta state government even if it was contemplating to honour Prince Chukwunonso with recognition.

CHIEF BIOSE’s SOULFUL LETTER

I will limit myself to the vital areas of Chief Biose’s soulful letter. The reason for this is that the Ode-Uri means well.
From his erudite letter titled Police Invasion of Idumuje-Ugboko Royal Palace, I could feel the pulse of his passion for peace, not only in Ugboko, but Anioma nation , the Ibo speaking people of Delta state. I felt his faith and reverence for the traditional institutions and the serpentine wisdom of the Royal fathers.

Despite his strident appeal for peace, Chief Biose , wittingly or unwittingly , diffused his good intentions with some omissions that tend to paint his long epistle as one coated with biases. Although he displayed elderly wisdom in his temperate language and seeming neutrality, the opponents of Prince Chukwunonso may raise many questions on the gaping holes in his letter. The opponents of Prince Nonso, as he is often called, would ask why Chief Biose so aptly tagged the arrest of Prince Chukwunonso an invasion of Idumuje –Ugboko Palace without prying, as an elder and leader , into circumstances that spurred the police to storm the palace the way they did. They would surely ask if Chief Biose was not aware that the police had respectfully invited Prince Chukwunonse several times to the headquarters in Asaba to no avail. The Prince neither obliged nor wrote the police to give an excuse or reasons for his inability to honour their invitations. Will Chief Biose want anyone to believe that Prince Chukwunonso is above the law ? Here are the words of the Commissioner of Police, Delta state, Mr. Hafiz Inuwa to the press on Saturday, July 18, 2020 after Prince Chukwunonso’s arrest, “We went there to arrest him for refusing to honour our invitation. He has since been left to go home after he apologized for not honouring our invitation”. This simply showed that the police did not set out to desecrate the Ugboko palace. They had no choice than to act the way they did because the Prince’s behavior had been less than decorous and most unprincely. That was why Prince Chukwunonso apologized because he erred in law. Good men, apostles of culture like Chief Biose should have advised Prince Chukwunonso not to act with impunity because it is foolhardy to make himself a fugitive of the law by staying in his palace and ignoring police summons.

Indeed, if Chief Biose had paid adequate attention to the unfolding crisis in Ugboko since the demise of the very respected Obi Albert Nwoko III, JP, PhD, OON, he would have come to terms with an appalling fact that Prince Chukwunonso had made himself a royal hermit through brazen breaches of bail conditions and serial default to police invitations. This is a the tough truth. This impudent lack of respect for the law inevitably would subject a royalty to outrageous infamy and that has become Prince Nonso’s ordeal. It is saddening.

CHIEF BIOSE’s SELECTIVE JUDGEMENT ?

In a sub-heading titled Issues in Dispute in Idumuje-Ugboko, Chief biose wrote, “As a result of a disagreement in Idumuje-Ugboko Royal Family, a gang of youths stormed the first Izu-Ani (General Congress) of Idumuje-Ugboko convened by Obi Nwoko IV after his installation. The unruly youths reportedly disrupted the Izu-Ani and in the ensuing milieu, several people were injured”.

Now, this narration propels my mind to an aphorism in Idumuje Clan which the author of this letter quoted at the beginning because it simply but aptly delineates and accentuates the wisdom of our forebears. Let’s hear this connoisseur of Anioma culture and tradition, “An aphorism in Idumuje clan states Afu ekwune egbu ndi ichie, ekwu anuna, egbu ikolo. This means that an elder who sees bad things going on and keeps quiet stands condemned, a young man who refuses to abide by wise counsel of elders stands condemned”.

Chief Biose’s incisive mind no doubt reflects the wisdom of the ancient. But some neutral close observers and Prince Chukwunonso’s opponents are likely to insist that Biose’s proverbs tend to subject his person and his envisaged neutrality to acid test.

Let’s assume indeed that there was a disruption of the Izu-Ani meeting. The first question wise men may ask is, what really led to this act that could be seen as an abomination? What did Chief Biose and men of good conscience like him do during the simmering crisis that might have led to such a grave delinquency if it actually took place.

The opponents of Prince Nonso will raise questions about whether there was ever an Izu-Ani considering what they called a cavalier style leadership Prince Chukwunonso had imposed on the once serene village. First, he was accused of crowning himself king the same day his father died and barely hours after his secret burial. This was alleged to be in a manner totally antithetical to the tradition and culture of Ugboko people . And anyone who queried the obnoxious mode of his father’s burial and his strange, unceremonious self coronation without the leading traditional figures and members of the late king’s council were ostracized.

By the time he was allegedly calling his Izu-Ani , Prince Chukwunonso had stripped the General Congress of its famed moral rectitude, spiritual purity and incorruptibility , so much so that thoughts and conversations at such a meeting could not be sublimed by the spirit of their ancestors.

If there was ever an Izu-Ani, Prince Chukwunonso seemed to have unwittingly made the meeting morally and spiritually debased having ostracized the highly respected but now late, Prof Prince Somayina Gabriel Nwoko, OON, a retired Professor of Agricultural Economics at the University of Ibadan and the Community/Palace Secretary, Diokpa Prince Onwuamaonyeukwu Esuzor Nwoko, the oldest man and head of the Nwoko Royal Family, a grandson of Obi Nwoko the First , who has also passed on. Others so affected by Prince Nonso’s frenzy of excommunication include Hon. Prince Ned Nwoko, Prince Danny Nwoko, the fourth oldest in the Nwoko family, Prince Akaba Nwoko, the third oldest in the Royal family and other 41 members of the community.

But Prince Chukwunonso’s hysteria did not end there. He also ostracized the lyase, the second-in-command to the king, Chief Christopher Ogwu and the Odogwu of the kingdom, Chief Sunday Edemodu. Then add others that include Prince Solomon Nwabuokei Nwoko, a contender for the throne, Prince Uche Nwoko, another claimant to the throne and Prince Walters Onyeisi Nwoko, a former President-General of Idumuje-Ugboko Development Union, IUDU, 2008-2012 .

Even a quasi- literate observer would easily ask what brand of Izu-Ani could have held under this frenzy and phobia for everyone of substance, Chiefs or leaders of the community.

Those opposed to Prince Chukwunonso’s perceived tin-god mode of leadership that could so ostracize his elders would querry Chief Biose’s seeming selective judgement and commentaries as he said nothing about these ugly developments that humiliated the pillars of Ugboko spiritual and cultural essence.

CHIEF BIOSE’S GRAVE OMISSION OF THE UGBOKO TERROR

As passionate as the elderly scion of Idumuje-Unor seems to be about peace, Prince Chukwunonso’s opponents are likely to prick his conscience for the grave omission of Idumuje-Ugboko’s most trying period which was between May 18-25, 2017
In this one week, terror, mayhem, atrocious crimes reigned in Ugboko and these acts were reportedly perpetrated by hoodlums allegedly loyal to Prince Nonso.

I read Chief Biose’s long essay two times and scanned through for a third time. I didn’t see anywhere he mentioned this horrendous tragedy. To be clear, it was in this period that Cyprian Kumiolun, the young Motor bike, Okada, rider was shot dead right in front of the Palace. It is the reason of his cold blooded murder that Prince Chukwunonso is now facing a murder trial. It is a trial based on the confessions of two accused persons that have already attested to carrying out the dastardly act according to police sources. And Prince Chukwunonso’s name allegedly echoed again and again in their confession.

It was during this period that Kennedy lloh was maimed, beaten into coma and he eventually died. In charge No MI/24/2020, the police arraigned Prince Chukwunonso and three others on four count charges that include murder of Cyprian Kumiolun and Kennedy lloh. This is apart from the alleged wanton destruction of properties and brutalizing of all perceived Chukwunonso’s opponents.

A ROYAL TESTAMENT TO THE MAYHEM

Prince Daniel Odims Nwoko, a distinguished elderly member of the Nwoko Royal Family, who is four years older than Prof Demas Nwoko, captured the grim picture of the tragedy and horror that befell Idumuje-Ugboko. Hear Daniel Nwoko, “It is mere sensationalism and sentimentality to pretend that nothing happened, that no one was injured and properties were not destroyed. To do so is only to be unreasonable and inhuman to the core. I went round Ugboko after the gory scene and saw man’s inhumanity and the extent of the destruction …… What happened that time was like a scene in a movie where unbelievables happen. Is it right out of sentiment to gloss over it and give kudos to the perpetrators”, he asked.

Prince Daniel Nwoko’s caustic remarks are contained in a June 1, 2020 letter he sent to Dr Gabriel Ogbechie, a prominent businessman, an entrepreneur and Ugboko indigene he accused of being Prince Chukwunonso’s main financier and the pillar behind all his acts against Ugboko people.

Prince Daniel Nwoko related his family’s atrocious humiliation by Prince Chukwunonso thus, “I am more aggrevieved than any of my brothers because I, my wife, my daughter and my in-laws were rubbished, disgraced and battered by Nonso”.

Those opposed to Prince Nonso’s alleged manifest gangsterism as captured by his own uncle will take Chief Biose to task. The Ode-Uri may need to honestly explain to them how he heard of the disruption of Izu-Ani in which some people were merely injured but did not hear about a week of terrorism in Ugboko which the police and various civil society organisations visited to behold the extent of the horrific destruction, a barbaric orgy of violence in which two lives were lost. This is a tragic incident for which some of the perpetrators including the President- General of IUDU, Okay Ifejoku, are now facing terrorism charges at a Federal High Court in Abuja. How is it that a prominent Anioma leader like Chief Christopher Biose knew nothing about this monstrous devastation or chose not to say anything about it ?

Posterity would certainly ask if Chief Biose preferred to protect an ill-tempered Prince who had seemingly abused his royal heritage to saving lives of his endangered people.

Keeping a curious silence over the terror in Ugboko and focusing only on the Izu-Ani, for this writer, is like a reharsh of Dr Ogbechie’s article in Vanguard of May 21, 2020. In it, Dr Ogbechie asserted that there was no succession issue in Idumuje-Ugboko, that Obi Chukwunonso sits on the throne and then went ahead to talk about how some thugs and hoodlums came to disrupt two meetings called by Obi Chukwunonso at the palace before some Ugboko youths fought back. In his words, “……….. The meeting is called Izu Ani …………. I was informed that while this meeting was just starting, thugs came and destroyed the canopies, chairs, and all the meeting materials and chased all the people away”.

Dr Ogbechie added that a second meeting scheduled for May 23, 2017 was also disrupted. And, “this time, there was a push back”, he said , adding , “Some youths in the community defended the palace, chased the thugs away and allegedly attacked those they perceived were fomenting trouble in the village”.

From Ogbechie’s account, it is clear the reverred Chief Biose is on the same page with him. But Ogbechie was at least gracious enough to acknowledge the Mayhem of May 18-25, 2017 by accepting that Ugboko youths resorted to self- help at a supposed second disruption of Izu-Ani . The bruising truth however is that it is hard to believe either of the accounts given by Chief Biose and Dr Ogbechie as up till this day, there has not been a strand of evidence to buttress their allegations.
On the contrary, the crystal evidence of the havoc in Ugboko in May 2017, is why Prince Nonso is today facing a murder charge. It is for the same reason that a terrorism charge now looms over his head like the sword of Damocles and some of his alleged accomplices have already been arraigned for the same crime before a Federal High Court in Abuja.

The point here then is that those who see Chief Biose’s letter as evidently jaundiced will point at these loopholes. They would ask how he heard of the Izu-Ani attack that was not reported anywhere and condemned same without any reservations. Yet this worthy-to-be called eminent elder of Anioma Nation neither heard nor wrote about the one week of barbarous brigandage that was reported in national publications and one in which the victims waited till February 8, 2020, almost eight months before engaging the services of M.A Abdulraman and Associates who on their behalf then sent a Save Our Soul letter to the Inspector General of Police, IGP. Despite, all these the Chief maintained absolute silence and when he wrote his peace-letter, he didn’t remember to mention it.

There is no question that Chief Biose may mean well, but all his good intention pales out in the face of his loud silence on the mayhem and destruction of May 18-25, 2017.

The fact that must be stressed here is that everyone desires peace in Ugboko including Prince Nonso and his opponents. Even this writer would pray for it and wish that Prince Chukwunonso Justin Nwoko would truly become a bonafide Obi of Idumuje-Ugboko. But these wishes will never spring from the manipulation of facts and vagaries of instincts , neither would peace prevail without the presence of justice. In the face of these facts, it may be safe to say that hard as Chief Biose tried to proclaim his desire for peace and the force of his erudite and acerbic epistle , he may may failed to convince a discerning reader conversant with the history of Ugboko’s running crisis.

THE PURPOSE OF BIOSE’s LETTER AND THE TRUTH

Chief Biose said the purpose of his letter “is to throw light into the historical facts on issues at stake in Idumuje-Ugboko with a view to assisting parties involved to achieve lasting peace in the town”. Again, while the Chief did justice to some historical aspects , he also provoked crucial questions in some areas.

Let us take a look at the two areas that Chief Biose summed up to be the contentious issues. These he saw as communal allocation of land and succession to the throne in Idumuje-Ugboko and he says they “are fairly straight forward”.

On the land matter Chief Biose affirms that “the central bone of contention that introduced discord in Idumuje-Ugboko was allocation of communal land to a prominent son of the community, an issue that predated the reign of the present king”. He then added that “……. Allocation of large tracts of communal land in the community is not a matter to be rushed”. According to him ” The land area of Idumuje-Ugboko is quite small. If one person or a small group takes over a sizeable portion of communal land, where will the teeming masses be expected to earn their livelihood ? “.

To illuminate Chief Biose’s statement, the prominent son to whom the land was allocated is Prince Ned Nwoko and the land was for the purpose of building his STARS University and a Golf Course. By stating that issue of communal land should not be rushed, Chief Biose seemed to be insinuating that the allocation of the land was still an issue , in progress or in contention when His Royal Majesty, Obi Albert Nwoko III passed on. This is not the case.

The indisputable fact is that the land allocation was a long settled issue. And Prince Ned went through a palpable Due Process to get the land allocation. The land was approved by the Obi and his Council, approved by the Land Committee and the final approval came from the very elitist Idumuje-Ugboko Development Union, IUDU, at a meeting convened by the late President-General, Bennet Odor on July 11, 2015. Prince Chukwunonso Nwoko was visibly present at this meeting. He did not raise any objection. It was, in fact, the IUDU that wrote the Aniocha North LGA on November 23, 2015 to convey their community’s approval and support for the university project and the land allocated for it. With full approval obtained, Linas International Ltd, Prince Ned’s organization applied to the Local Government for Customary Right of Occupancy and this was promptly approved because there was no dissenting voice to the application.

Prince Chukwuonso could therefore be said to have deliberately planted the seed of the current crisis when on August 12, 2015, he authored a letter and signed his father’s signature. The letter purportedly written by Obi Albert Nwoko III claimed that he did not approve any land for the university project. This fake letter was then shared in marketplaces and circulated in churches. Even though the king was still alive at this time, Prince Nonso from all accounts made it impossible for anyone to see him, to at least confirm the authenticity of the letter and the veracity of its content.

It was the frustration arising from the king being held incommunicado that compelled Prince Walters Eziashi, a former President-General of IUDU (2008-2012) to petition the Commissioner of Police, Delta state, on September 14, 2015, requesting him to investigate the source and credibility of the letter Prince Nonso claimed to have emanated from his father, Obi Albert Nwoko III .

On February 24, 2016, the police after detailed investigations affirmed that the letter was a product of forgery and at the approval of the Director of Public Prosecution, Princes Nonso Nwoko, Ejimiofor Nwoko, Richard Obiajulu Nwoko and others were charged before the Chief Magistrate Court 1 in suit No. SMC/42OC/2016). Although they were granted bail, the court has since revoked it because Prince Nonso and the other accused persons could not keep the terms of the bail.

Prince Nonso would still proceed to sue the Aniocha North LGA claming that the process leading to the land allocation was false. Again, on the 18th of June 2019, he lost this case at the Agbor High Court with a cost awarded against him.

This succinct history of the land and the suits which Prince Nonso lost is purely to prove to Chief Biose, just in case he did not hear, that the land had long been allocated without any issue before Nonso’s futile quest to stop his cousin, Prince Ned from utilizing the land for a people’s oriented project it was meant for. One would have expected that a modern, civilised ‘Heir Apparent’ like Nonso would have applauded such a developmental project rather than allow some entrenched vision-less interests to prod him into an acute error of judgement and catastrophic actions that have now terribly jeopardized his kingship ambition and still his future.

I must also confess that ,once again, Chief Biose by his own version of the land allocation narrative, is strangely re-enacting the misrepresentation and misinformation that tainted Dr Gabriel Ogbechie’s letter.

THE SUCCESSION QUESTION

Perhaps the most important theme in Chief Biose’s letter is the issue of succession to the throne. Chief Biose writes that succession in Idumuje-Ugboko “is by primogeniture”……which in Idumuje dialect is nwa sote okwulu, meaning “the first (natural) son of the king grows up to inherit the throne of his father”. The Ode-Uri is correct to a large extent.

In Ugboko, inheritance is not just by primogeniture which is Firstborn, it is Agnatic Primogeniture, which is inheritance by Firstborn Son. So Prince Chukwunonso is very qualified as an Heir Apparent, a Crown Prince and perhaps an Anointed Successor if indeed his father, the late king anointed him while he was alive or by rex iunior, through the Monarch’s Will.

The Heir Apparent universally refers to a person who is first in order of succession and cannot be displaced by the birth of another person. Here again, Prince Chukwunonso stands qualified. However, despite this right, succession is not exactly automatic. There are customs, customary laws and constitutional rules in our Anioma nation and jurisdictions all over the world that could stop an Heir Apparent if he breached those rules.

The Bible has the oldest account. Esau was the first son of Isaac in the Old Testament and was the Heir Apparent to his Jacob, his father’s inheritance. But he lost it for a mere mess of pottage, a small quantity of food.

In England, the Heir Apparent, the Crown Prince, loses that right the moment he is converted to Catholic faith. In Sweden, an Heir Apparent will lose that status according to the Act of Succession if he married without the approval of the Monarch and the government.

In our Anioma Land, the Ibo speaking people of Delta state, we have our ethos, our ethics, customs that guide behavioural patterns of kings and Princes. I do not know a community in Anioma that a crown Prince that is guilty of adultery with his brother’s wife will be allowed to succeed his father by the community. It is a taboo and such a Prince could even be banished. And no Anioma Nation will allow a Crown Prince to succeed his father if he had committed murder to the knowledge of the community or found guilty of murder by a court of Law.

Prince Chukwunonso’s case is unfortunately much more complicated. With breaches of police and Court Summons in Delta state and Abuja, he remains a fugitive of the Law. This alone automatically raises a red flag over his eligibility. No government would give such a Prince any form of authority.

Prince Nonso’s case is all the more worsened by his recent arraignment for murder. Then add the terrorism case awaiting him in Abuja. To crown it all, even the succession is still a subject of litigation in a court of competent jurisdiction. And this case can sail all the way to the Supreme court. In a snail-speed Nigeria’s judicial system, this case could take the next one and half to two decades and could out live many of the litigants.

So, I ask, how could anyone blame the Delta state government for not handing over a Staff of Office to Prince Chukwunonso. If the government dared, it would have been the height of executive recklessness.

In concluding this treatise on our beloved Ugboko peace question, I owe it to my generation, the entire people of Anioma, our Ancestors and posterity to speak truth without any equivocation. Only that way can the Idumuje-Ugboko Royal conundrum be resolved.

That truth is that only Ugboko can save itself. The assistance they need to do this will hopefully come from the Anioma Royal Fathers.

But Ugboko must reconcile itself. And that will begin with creating a rendezvous of reconciliation and hope where dialogue with candour will pave way for peace. Here, those that were the victims of the one week of trauma and soul stirring violence must be assembled and apologies offered. This is necessary because they are the ones that the world know as victims. They are the ones in court. They are the ones that can make the difference.

Secondly, like the Royal Fathers earlier recommended, let Prince Nonso reach out to all those he ostracized and bring them back to the palace, to a table of brotherhood for genuine dialogue of healing and reunification. Then, a process can begin on how to withdraw all the court cases. This process will be gruelling and would demand endurance, grit and granite will because lives have been lost and people deeply hurt. But leaders of Anioma must press on until they prevail.

I have made this soulful appeal because Prince Chukwunonso Nwoko, an aspirational king and scion of my Anioma Nation, by his current cases in court, is on a long walk through the Golgotha and I do not see any grey light of hope at the end of this wilderness. His slimmest chance of survival does not lie in the rhetorics of some effete legal icons but on a sincere round table of brotherhood under the tutelage of our Royal Fathers.

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