Anambra: Whimsical Soludo versus whimpering monarch

A royal father in Anambra State (Soludo is the governor of the state) once celebrated ofala. At the heat of the event he began flinging wads of crisp N20 notes – the highest denomination at that time – in the air from atop his mansion. 

As his subjects and other onlookers were scrambling for the largesse one of the notes flew and fell at the feet of one the traditional rulers at the special canopy they were seated.

Instead of ignoring the money the “monarch” after taking a cautious look sideways covered the money with his feet with the intention of picking it up for himself. Mind you, at this time N20 was more than the salary of an average civil servant.

But unbeknownst to the greedy monarch and unluckily too, he didn’t know that his action was noticed by no less a person than the late Igwe Angus Ilonze of Abagana, a most dreaded and arguably one of the most influential monarchs not only in Anambra, but that ever ruled anywhere in the entire Igboland.

Extremely rich himself, highly connected across Nigeria and with exuding power, authority and confidence, he approached his colleague, delivered a well-aimed blinding slap that calibrated his brain to the reality before rebuking him for the obvious individual and collective insult.

“A fellow Igwe is spraying money for the masses and you couldn’t resist the urge to join in picking? When they call out Igwes and Angus comes out you’ll also come out! Me Igwe, you, Igwe!” With these words, he ordered the offending colleague out of the assemblage!

This story which went viral across Igboland at that time, actually left one of the clear requirements of being an Igwe – there’s a level you must not descend!

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Do you remember the encounter of the late Eze Onumaraku Njemanze, Ozurigbo the fourth of Owerri, another influential monarch from Imo State with Amadi Ikwueche, a Navy Commander, who was military governor of the state a time?

Have you forgotten the famous Ikwueche nakwa echeki? Do you remember that immediately after that encounter of reeling out reasons for his discontent with the governor, he was pulled out of the state by IBB?

Why do I recall these two events? It’s just to state that there was a time Ndigbo had monarchs in Igboland – powerful monarchs that made things happen.

Juxtapose that with the listless, pale, trembling cowards we have now occupying those positions across the land of Ndigbo! I just watched one now in the name of Damian Ezeani, identifying himself as Igwe of Neni, one of the powerful communities in Anambra State and home to the late Michael Okpara, alias Power Mike!

I was almost brought to tears watching him as he sat on his throne with his odu – elephant tusk in his right hand renditioning what was supposed to be an apology to Chukwuma Soludo, Governor of Anambra State!

You needed to observe his demeanor. You needed to hear how his voice quivered. He constantly missed his lines in delivering the statement obviously handed him and forced to memorise.

What was his offence? He dared give chieftaincy title to Ifeanyi Uba, Soludo likely opponent next year! That’s all. For this reason, he was not only suspended but queried to explain why he would not be dethroned!

Obviously in panic over the implications, including the palpable pecuniary losses he’s now begging to spared! Like a little child! Chai!!!

I could just imagine that an Angus Ilonze gave somebody title and a Soludo of a governor making as much as a whimper, not to talk about writing him or suspending him. Where would the governor sleep after the suspension? How would he sleep?

In the first place the place of an Igwe is more secure than the governor. He’s is for live while the governor’s is temporary. Traditional rulers are not installed by a governor but by the people.

How then could a monarch in good stead with his people be afraid of a governor an outsider whose only duty is recognition that really accounts for nothing in the real sense? How long would Soludo stay in office? Indeed if Igwe Ezeani is worth his throne and on ground as monarchs are supposed to be, who needs each other between him and Soludo, who would soon be going around begging for votes?

But then it shows the quality of people we have on the throne – people who probably assumed the position without any inkling of what it entails or possessing the right tools for it.

Ask Anthony Onyearugbulam if he’s still alive what he saw when he tried the Oba of Benin! Ask those who know the story of what is it Anthony Ochefu or Atom Kpera saw in the hands of Tor Tiv!

Yet, these were even military men! When Sowore took his activism to the palace of the Ooni of Ife didn’t you see the immediate consequences? Didn’t he run out from the palace with his legs touching the back of his head?

Igwe is not by mouth. Na levels! Imagine such whimsical act of Soludo on Igwe Angus? Just imagine! Chai!!! Ariri egbuo m! – The Tiny Voice!

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