By O’star Eze
Orient Daily gathered that since May 29, 2019, when the Anambra state government issued a certificate of recognition to one of the claimants, Sir Thomas Ikenna Obidiegwu, as the traditional ruler of the kingdom, it has known no peace, with Barrister Azuka Martin Alagwu also laying claim to the same throne.
Consequent upon this development, citizens of the town are confused over which of the two claimants to back as each of the two camps has resorted to the mass media to advance their separate claim to have secured the necessary backing of the Dioha Royal Family – the seven kingmakers from the seven representative families of the town – which is an electoral college of sorts charged with appointments to the traditional stool.
The Alagwu camp, in its statement, accused Anambra Governor Willie Obiano of desecrating the Ihiala royal stool by issuing a certificate of recognition to Obidiegwu who, it claimed, was not duly appointed.
The statement, signed by a former chairman of the Dioha Royal Family, the present chairman of the family and the seven members of the Dioha Royal Family, claimed that the governor gave the certificate to the candidate that was voted by only one out of the seven members of the DRF and that five of the members had voted for Alagwu. The group claimed that the governor’s action had thrown the community into turmoil and that the youths are spoiling to make trouble.
The statement read thus in part, “Oluoha Thomas Obidiegwu, who was given certificate by Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra state recently, … is not the choice of Dioha Royal Family and Ihiala Kingdom in general.
It added that “That according to the constitution of Dioha Royal Family, it is the prerogative of the family heads (okpalas) of the seven families that make up Dioha Royal Family to select traditional rulers for Ihiala Kingdom,
“That a panel of inquiry set up on the matter by the ministry of local government and chieftaincy matters stated in their findings that it was only one family head that chose Thomas while the other five chose Oluoha Azuka Martin Alagwu.
“That the second panel set up by the governor on the matter did not seek the opinion of the seven family heads.”
“That the governor, for what is suspected to be political reasons, went ahead to issue a certificate of recognition to Thomas, which is against the constitution of Ihiala Kingdom, against the will of Dioha Royal Family and against the will of the people of Ihiala Kingdom.”
However, responding to the press release, Igwe Obidiegwu’s group issued a statement condemning the first press release and alleging that those who signed as the Okparas (kingmakers) of Dioha Royal Family in that statement were imposters.
They claimed that contrary to the claim of the Azuka Alagwu group, Igwe Obidiegwu was the one who won the election held twice among the Okparas and that though Azuka Alagwu came second, he did not accept defeat but had continued to heat of the polity with his “mutilation of facts.”
The statement titled “Oluoha of Ihiala Kingdom; the true position” averred in part: “That Ichie Sir Thomas Obidiegwu defeated Mr Azuka Alagwu and Prof. Innocent Aluka who came second and third in the referendum conducted, that Azuka Alagwu rejected the first referendum which led to a second during which Ichie Obidiegwu defeated him again, though still not accepted by Alagwu,
“That it took the wise intervention of the new Oluoha to prevent the inciting actions and statements of Azuka Alagwu, from throwing the community into anarchy. The governor of the state in his bid to quell the situation set up a panel of inquiry to look into the Ihiala Chieftaincy tussle and proffer lasting solution,
“That the said panel made its recommendations and certificate of recognition was presented to Igwe Sir Thomas Ikenna Obidiegwu on May 22, 2019. We encourage members of the public to disregard the mutilation of facts as presented by Azuka Alagwu and his cohorts.
“That the purported signatories of the said press statements are impostors and are not the real Okparas of the town.”
Insider information has it that one of the claimants appeared poised to take his grievance to court for adjudication.