By Tony Okafor,Awka
A senior citizen, author and public policy analyst, Comrade Polycarp Onwubiko, has asked the Anambra State Governor, Prof Chukwuma Soludo, to ban nontraditional rulers from performing Iwaji festivals.
Onwubiko stated this a statement he made available to our correspondent in Awka, the Anambra State capital on Friday.
He said allowing the practice to continue would be a veritable ground for crises and erosion of peace in communities, adding, “Anambra state government should not create the ambience for crises to luxuriate and pander to the inanities and monstrosities of the over ambitious, dubiously minded personages whose covert agenda is unbridled and brazen exploitation of the resources of their communities
Onwubiko’s full statement reads:
ANAMBRA STATE GOVERNMENT SHOULD BAN IWAJI CEREMONY BY NON TRADITIONAL RULERS FORTHWITH
The Anambra Broadcasting Service, ABS has been carrying adverts on the annual Igbo traditional respect for new yam tagged “Iwaji festival”. The cerebration of new yam had been a private affair by family but with the recent glamour attendant on traditional rulership in Igbo land, it has taken the status of public show by traditional rulers who invite fellow traditional rulers.
Town Development Unions had never been involved in the new yam ceremony because it is NOT within the Anambra state Edict on Town Unions. Town Unions are to complement the local and state governments in the provision of basic amenities in the communities for a better living standard. In other words, Town Unions leadership should not commit money on the new yam ceremony which is the exclusive function of the traditional rulers according to the Edict on traditional rulership.
In the light of the above clear lawful position, it has become a scandalous picture for the over ambitious, dubiously minded money men, fraudulent traditional chieftains, outright disoriented personages with criminal background who manipulate pliable segment of the community through vicious means, blackmail of honest and patriotic people, and engage the ignoble services of hoodlums and thugs in the community and parade themselves as “Regent” of the community where the traditional ruler has died while the community is making arrangements to follow the provisions of the Edict to have new traditional ruler to organize new yam (Iwaji) ceremony.
It is common knowledge that selection of new traditional ruler has been trailed by controversies, equally the emergence of the so-called “Regent” has also been trailed by controversy, vicious manipulation and all sorts of repulsive engagements fired by the vaunting and vaulting ambition of desperados who earnestly desire to be traditional ruler. In some Communities, in order to minimize such craziness, provision is made in the Town’s constitution limiting the duration of the supposed “Regent” of the community.
For instance, in a community within the Awka capital territory, the Town Union constitution pegged the duration of the supposed “Regent” (whether lawfully approved or gotten through fraudulent and vicious manipulation) to six months after the death of the traditional ruler. Curiously, the supposed “Regent” in spite of the expiration of the duration of his touted “Regency of the community”, has manipulated a pliable segment of the community and announced Iwaji ceremony.
This is a veritable ground for crises and erosion of peace in the community and the Hon Commissioner for local government, town union and chieftaincy affairs should take immediate step to stop this blatant violation of the provisions of the Edict on traditional rulership in the state. Anambra state government should not create the ambience for crises to luxuriate and pander to the inanities and monstrosities of the over ambitious, dubiously minded personages whose covert agenda is unbridled and brazen exploitation of the resources of their Communities. The age-long saying that “A stitch in time saves nine”, is very much needed now by the Anambra state government to clip the wings of personages who are crazy to ascend the lofty traditional stool without the moral template needed for such sensitive position with transparency and accountability built in the exalted Government recognized position.
By Polycarp Onwubiko, JP, Author and public policy analyst.