Chidoka's Suspension Continues To Divide The Obosi Kingdom
By Iwedi Ojinmah 8 months ago
In the tradition of the Obosi Kingdom in Anambra State, and some parts of Igbo land, it is forbidden for a traditional ruler, and some classes of titled men, to see dead bodies.
This is an ancient tradition that has defied modern/western civilization, and one that Christianity has not dealt with in Igbo land. It is perceived as an abomination or sacrilege for some classes of titled men to attend burials or see corpses.
Even when their wives or children die, the tradition does not allow them to see their corpses.
This revered custom was however seen to have been violated recently by a former Minister of Aviation and spokesperson for Atiku Abubakar Presidential Campaign, Chief Osita Chidoka, and a few others, who allegedly instructed some youths of Obosi Kingdom to dump the corpses of some youths killed during the re-run election on March 9, 2019 at Igwe Chidubem Iweka’s palace.
The act was promptly described as sacrilegious by the Igwe-in-council in a crucial meeting at the palace. The decision was to strip Chidoka of his chieftaincy title and suspend him and two others from the council.
However, this did not go down well with some Obosi chiefs who faulted the decision.
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Igwe Iweka announced the suspension of Chiefs Osita Chidoka, Linus Mgbakaogu and Hyacinth Udemba for their alleged involvement in bringing the corpses of two Obosi youths killed during the March 9 re-run election to his palace, while the council was in session.
The suspension was contained in a statement read by Dr. Benneth Mozie on behalf of the traditional ruler and his chiefs-in-council.
They said it is sacrilege and an abomination in the tradition of Obosi Kingdom for the king and his council members to see a human corpse, and those responsible for the act shall be punished accordingly.
The letter of suspension read in part “On arriving at the palace, the chiefs instructed that the corpses be offloaded and dumped in the palace, an insulting and dishonouring act; an abomination of the gravest magnitude.
“After due consultations and deliberations with all relevant ancient traditional bodies of Obosi, the Igwe Iweka II-in-council hereby announces the indefinite suspension from his cabinet of the above-mentioned three chiefs.
“This suspension is for their acts of sacrilege against the revered age-old customs of the people and Obosi ancient kingdom.”
However, some members of the council, who are also traditional title holders, said the suspension was not validly carried out and could not hold as there was never a meeting where the Igwe and his cabinet deliberated on the issue or made a resolution to suspend the three members
The Traditional Prime Minister of Obosi, Chief Anthony Nwabude (Onowu Obosi), said there was never a time the content of the statement was discussed or resolved by the council.
Nwabude, one of the oldest members of the council, said he would not sit back and watch a decision he was not part of foisted on him without talking.
“There was never a meeting where the cabinet discussed and came up with the resolution that was read. Since the killings, the cabinet has never met to discuss it, so, I am not in support of the suspension,” he said.
Chief Charles Umolu (Akpe Obosi) described the suspension as a sham, saying he was surprised that the Igwe could quickly suspend Chidoka, Mgbakaogu, and Udemba, who actually calmed down the angry youths protesting over the death of their brothers.
According to him, the statement was already prepared before the meeting and signed by someone who was not a member of the council. “The entire exercise is a sham, how can you suspend people without giving them a fair hearing? Many people were not invited. We are about 31 cabinet members and seven persons are grossly inadequate to take such a decision for us.
“I was invited but could not make it. I told them in writing that the suspension of cabinet chiefs should be the least of our worries, considering that Obosi had lost over 76 youths since 2011 due to growing cultism.
“The press statement was prepared before the meeting, the person that signed and read it is an impostor because the Igwe cannot get members to sign it.
“The monarch cannot de-robe anybody; he lacks such powers because the traditional chiefs are representatives of their families,” he said. Mgbakaogu, one of the suspended persons, described his suspension as a kangaroo exercise, adding that he remained the Atta Obosi.
According to Mgbakaogu, the king does not have the power to suspend any member of the cabinet without convening a general meeting of the council.
He, however, accused the royal father of delving into partisan politics that would make him mishandle the affairs of Obosi.
“Two Obosi sons were killed because of election and the youths of the town insisted on taking their corpses to their king in protest of several other deaths we have witnessed, and the three of us were there to witness what happened.
“The Igwe has had running battles with Obosi community and currently there is a panel of inquiry looking into these issues; we are still expecting the White Paper from the Anambra State government.
“I am not surprised at the purported suspension which cannot stand. I have been in the traditional cabinet for nine years and eight months, long before he became an Igwe, so I remain Atta Obosi,” he stated.