By Fred Akpewe
DELTA FRESH VISION, an NGO committed to good governance, capacity building, justice and the rule of law has been attracted to the Idumuje Ugboko crisis which has lingered for so long.
One of the reasons for the prolongation of the Idumuje Ugboko crisis is the misconception that Prince Nonso Nwoko is the Obi of Idumuje Ugboko. However, he is at best a Regent as there is no scintilla of evidence that he was ever crowned properly according to the customs and traditions of the kingdom. Besides, one of the standing traditions of Idumuje Ugboko is that for a Prince of the Kingdom to qualify to become Obi his mother must come from Idumuje Ugboko in order to propagate a thorough blood lineage. The principle of primogeniture comes with a caveat. Being first son alone does not confer on a Prince the right to succession.
On the contrary, the mother of Prince Nonso Nwoko is from Ubulu-uku, a fact that makes his claim to the throne very contentious. It is this awkward situation that bestows the right of first refusal on Prince Uche Nwoko whose mother is from Idumuje Ugboko. Prince Uche Nwoko is one of the strong contenders to the throne of Idumuje Ugboko. Tradition makes Prince Uche more qualified for the kingship than Prince Nonso.
For the benefit of history, we must mention that the late Obi Albert Nwoko faced the same situation as his own mother was not from Idumuje Ugboko. He was however lucky that his brothers whose mothers were from Idumuje Ugboko were not interested to be Obi of the kingdom. Faced with this exceptional situation, the king makers invoked the “Principle of Necessity” and crowned Albert Nwoko as king. As a condition however, Obi Albert Nwoko had to marry a wife from Idumuje Ugboko after his coronation in 1981. In the case of Prince Nonso Nwoko, his present three wives are not also from Idumuje Ugboko, a situation that is a forerunner to further illegality, if allowed to subsist.
To add to this precarious situation for Prince Nonso Nwoko, he has allegedly foisted on Idumuje Ugboko a reign of terror which peaked in 2017 and has continued even up till today. Idumuje Ugboko citizens cannot forget in a hurry the murder of Cyprian Kumiolu in cold blood and later the murder of Kennedy Iloh with the alleged connivance of Prince Nonso. The alleged murder of the two persons hangs above the neck of Prince Nonso Nwoko like an albatross even till this day. There are also cases of some Udumuje Ugboko highly placed citizens who were thoroughly beaten up and their houses and property vandalized on the orders of Prince Nonso simply for not recognizing his self-acclaimed kingship.
There have been series of petitions to the Delta State Police Command to prosecute the culprits. The chamber of Egwuenu & Co with Deacon Success Egwuenu Esq as Principal partner has made strenuous attempts to get justice for the murdered persons.
Recently, the Delta State Police Command invited Prince Obi Nwoko for questioning after arresting him from his Palace following his defiance to honour police invitation. Immediately after his arrest and eventual bail on personal recognition, the Palace propaganda machine went to work dubbing the arrest of Prince Nonso as a desecration of the Idumuje Ugboko Palace and its traditional values. The propagandists went further to allege that Prince Nonso was in fact kidnapped. Others said he was abducted.
The question to be asked is if Prince Nonso is above the law? If there is anyone who desecrated the traditional kingship and all the traditional values that accompany it, Prince Nonso should be held responsible, especially when witnesses have confessed on police interrogation to have been used to commit murders. The law is no respecter of persons and he who goes to equity must do so with clean hands.
From the foregoing, the odds against Prince Nonso Nwoko are legion and no responsible government can issue a staff of office to such a man who have questions to answer in court regarding murder, forgery, accessory to rape and other malfeasance that brought nothing but embarrassment to the revered Idumuje Ugboko Kingdom.
• Fred Akpewe is National Coordinator of Delta Fresh Vision.