The resolution passed, the other day, by the Imo State House of Assembly (IMHA), directing the disruptive traditional ruler of Owu-Amakohia Autonomous Community, Eze Ben Nwaneri, who unilaterally changed Owu’s name to Owubinubi after usurping the Eze stool, to, forthwith, revert to the original community’s ancestral name of Owu-Amakohia, is absolutely heart-warming and commendable. There is jubilation in Owu over the development. The people appreciate the IMHA for restoring peace to their beloved community.
Eze Nwaneri has no choice but to fully comply with the mandate of the Imo Assembly, except he wants to prove to the State Government that he is lawless and disrespectful to constituted authority, which would be detrimental to him. He was recently suspended by the Imo State Government for engaging in partisan politics. Eze Nwaneri should let peace and progress reign in Owu.
Owu-Amakohia community, which used to be the centre of attraction in Ikeduru East, has been turned into a laughing stock by virtue of the unbridled selfish ambition of the Eze and his cohorts.
Owu people are highly elated by the Imo Assembly’s patriotic action and can now heave a sigh of relief after years of turmoil foisted on the community by the troublesome traditional ruler. Owu people are sincerely grateful to the Imo Assembly and His Excellency, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, for heeding to their cry of suppression by the Eze.
Owu-Amakohia people are particularly indebted to Governor Okorocha for being the first governor, ever, to remember the badly eroded Ekeonumiri valley in the community and for initiating the Azaraegbelu-Avuvu road project that ultimately passes through Afor-Owu market. Owu people have cause to identify with the Rochas administration for his magnanimity.
The Imo Assembly has, by this singular action, proved that a pro-peace and pro-people government is active in Imo State for which the people can be proud of. Across Imo State, there are pockets of unending community tussles over issues that could be resolved amicably. The Imo Assembly will do well to also help such communities resolve their differences.
According to reports, the Imo State House of Assembly presided over by the Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon. Ugonna Ozuruigbo, on Tuesday, February 28, 2017, adopted and considered the report of its ad-hoc committee in a petition filed by Owu-Amakohia community, urging the Assembly to prevail on the traditional ruler, Eze Ben Nwaneri, to revert to the ancestral name of the community, which is Owu-Amakohia Ikeduru instead of Owubinubi Ikeduru he unilaterally changed on ascending to the Eze stool.
The petition which was signed on behalf of Owu-Amakohia community by Chief Joseph Dibia and Chief Moses Nwachukwu was unequivocal in stating the fact that the ancestral name of the community is Owu-Amakohia and not Owubinubi as being paraded by Eze Nwaneri.
Besides, there was no time that the community changed its name from Owu-Amakohia to Owubinubi as purported by Eze Nwaneri. The name Owubinubi, as was adopted by Eze Nwaneri, was entirely a figment of his own imagination.
There was no legally acceptable documentary evidence anywhere to support the purported name change. The purported Imo State Gazette No. 4 of 2003 under the Achike Udenwa administration being cited by Eze Nwaneri and his cohorts was for the creation of some autonomous communities in Imo State of which Owu-Amakohia is one and never for change of name.
What is baffling is how the name Owu Amakohia that was used to apply for autonomous community status suddenly changed to Owubinubi in the gazette that granted autonomous community status.
Truth was that Eze Nwaneri, who imposed himself on Owu-Amakohia, apparently instigated the illegal name change in the gazette through the back door, with intent to feather his selfish nest as Eze Ubi (Owner of the farm land).
How could a person who has no stake in Owu’s ancestral land answer Eze Ubi? Whose Ubi was he talking about? Was it his own or another man’s Ubi?
When the bubble burst, first, Eze Nwaneri claimed that the Imo State Government changed Owu-Amakohia’s name to Owubinubi. But the State Government said it has no mandate to change any community’s name.
When that failed, the Eze and his cronies claimed that government demanded for a new name before it could grant the autonomy. The question was why was it only Owu-Amakohia’s name that was purportedly changed among the scores of communities granted autonomy?
When that again failed, the Eze tried to use the church. He wanted to drag the Catholic Archbishop of Owerri, Most Rev. Anthony J.V. Obinna into the matter.
But the Archbishop clearly told him and his cronies that Owu-Amakohia existed before the church came to Igbo land; as such, the church can’t change the community’s name.
Ever since then, rather than withdraw from parading Owubinubi, Eze Nwaneri and his cohorts stuck to their gun and by so doing caused untold division and confusion in Owu-Amakohia.
Following the petition, the task before the Imo House of Assembly was to establish the truth as to whether or not Owu-Amakohia is actually the original ancestral name of the community.
Reports point to the fact that the House ad-hoc Committee did a thorough job to unravel the truth. The committee paid spot visits to Owu and interviewed a cross-section of community leaders and ordinary people.
Over and above that, the committee obtained first hand testimony from Okpuala Amakohia, one of the two autonomous communities that make up Amakohia Ikeduru.
After digging dip, the committee was satisfied that Owu-Amakohia is truly the original ancestral name of the community. Owubinubi was seen as a fraud perpetrated by Eze Nwaneri and his co-travellers.
After submitting its well-investigated report, the Imo Assembly adopted it and accordingly issued stern directives to Eze Nwaneri to dismantle any vestiges of Owubinubi he mounted anywhere within 90 days or face the music. IMHA berated the Eze for the grave aberration he perpetrated.
It needs to be emphasised that since the Assembly made its pronouncements, Owu people, wholeheartedly applauded the verdict. It is only Eze Nwaneri and his cronies that are not happy but have no choice.
No meeting was held on March 4, 2017 by Owu people to reject the Assembly’s verdict. The purported meeting by the six villages in Owu is empty propaganda.
It is puzzling that Eze Nwaneri and his cronies, whose baptismal cards, school certificates, employment letters, travel passports and all identity documents from childhood bear Owu-Amakohia would suddenly deny that Owu-Amakohia is no longer their ancestral name. What a foolish adventure?