Members of the Anambra State riverine community of Owelle, in Anambra West Local Council Area, have thrown their weight behind the controversially-dethroned traditional ruler, Igwe Anthony Onyekwelu (Onuoja II).
They said they regarded his replacement, Igwe Raymond Omoja, only as a government appointee.
This is coming on the heels of lamentations by Lolo Onyekwelu, the wife of Igwe Onyekwelu, who claimed that their lives were in danger.
Trouble started, in August last year, when the embattled Igwe Onyekwelu, alongside two other dethroned traditional rulers joined eight other monarchs to accompany billionaire businessman, Prince Arthur Eze, to visit the Presidency without government’s permission, though the matter is still being challenged in court.
South East Trust gathered that two top traditional rulers from Oyi and Anamba West Local Council Areas, the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs and a Permanent Secretary from Omambala Clan, were among those who spearheaded the search for a replacement of Igwe Onyekwelu.
This is happening amidst refusal by the next village that should produce a successor to signify interest to replace the monarch.
Following the announcement of withdrawal of Certificate of Recognition, a top retired Naval officer, whose village had taken its turn as Igwe Owelle, was said to have been compelled to accept the Certificate of Recognition from the state governor, Willie Obiano, last month.
It was gathered the move to remove the sign-post of the said dethroned monarch attracted the ire of the majority of members of the community who barricaded the monument, warning against any trespassing.
The wife of Igwe Onyekwelu, Lolo Onyekwelu, told South East Trust that, apart from Igwe Onyekwelu, his wife and son, strange and threatening calls and contacts have also been made to some members of the community, including Peter Udeorah, Chukwuemeka Nwadiamu, Unubi, and one Paul.
She said her husband has been having high blood pressure with associated ill-health conditions arising from threats to his life, his family members and the community’s stakeholders.
Igwe Onyekwelu’s wife, has thus cried out to the Inspector-General of Police, Director of Criminal Investigation and Governor Obiano, seeking the protection of the family members as well as stakeholders who support the Igwe against harm and blackmail.
Lolo Onyekwelu alleged that the embattled traditional ruler has been inundated with calls and visits by some persons and security agents ordering him to report along with his supporters to the police and SCID offices without any official invitation letter.
She said the first traditional ruler of Owelle (Onuoja 1st), one Igwe James came from Oma Ugwo Village, while her husband, Igwe Onyekwelu (Onuoja II) hails from Ogodo Village, and wondered why the government was bent on destroying the power shift arrangement in the community.
“If actually there should be new Igwe of Owelle, it is not the turn of Oma Ugwo which had taken its turn before Ogodo’s. It is because all the people offered the crown had refused and gave clean bill to Igwe Onyekwelu that they are not at rest and trying to use threats on my family members, including Igwe and his stakeholders and the police to sign an undertaking to denounce the Igweship.”
When South East Trust visited the community the old Igwe had been taken to Abuja and detained, to allow the new Igwe to consolidate on the throne.