Awka – Community leaders led by the President General of Nri Progress Union, Chief Kelvin Obiegbunam, at the weekend insisted that until the palace of the reigning king Eze Obidiegwu Onyeso’s palace was cleansed no traditional ceremony would be held there because it would amount to a taboo.
Last weekend Nri community celebrated the Igu Aro at Brian’s Jimofo Eze Tabansi Udene palace who was succeeded by Eze Onyeso.
But that was after the community had wanted to hold the ceremony Obu Nribuife near Eke Nri but was prevented by the police who cordoned the place off.
In an interview, Obiegbunam said the children of Eze Obidiegwu Onyeso who travelled last December refused to cooperate with the community.
Obiegbunam said the family of Eze Onyeso did not cooperate with the community and they were told so. According to him, the discussion about the event had been on for the past two weeks. He said: “It has not been an easy one for the past two weeks. Despite disappointment on the venue I am glad the community was united in the celebration of the New Year”.
Reacting to police disruption of the original venue chosen for the event, the President General added: “It is an unfortunate situation and could have been an avoidable situation as well.”
However, one of the heirs of Eze Tabansi Udene, Prince Charles Tabansi, painted a vivid picture of the issue.
He said:”The problem in our town is basically because the children and siblings of the last Igwe are usurping the tradition of the town. Igweship in our town is not hereditary. It rotates from one village to the next and among certain families. When Igwe travels the last Igu Aro festival is only termed Igu Aro until that day he is alive. It is only the chiefs in the community who will proclaim he has traveled. From then, for the next seven years the same chiefs will begin a search for the next Igwe during which they decide which is the next family and next village he will come from.
“Now, the son of Onyeso who was not a chief in his father’s face, his father travelled and he came back and proclaimed himself a regeant. Not only that he proclaimed himself crown prince and you know what crown prince means. He wrote letters to government without the PG, without Oru Nze N’ino( 24 high chiefs) and we saw videos where he was said to have been crowned and people calling him Eze Nri, Igwe when his father was supposed to be around.
“Traditionally Nri does not run a regency.
“So, traditionally, chiefs saw this as a discretion, that sacrilege has been committed. So, the town had a meeting and said they must cleanse the palace and retrace their steps. And until that is done, we will do our Igu Aro in another place so we selected Obu Nribuife, the second king of this village because it must be done in the palace of an Eze and he is from the village as Onyeso and his Obu is near Eke”.
Prince Tabansi insisted that only an exercise can sit on Eze’s throne.
Chairman of Nze Ma Abuo Agukwu, Ichie Iloanusiobi Samuel, said wherever other people perform the Igu Aro will make no meaning.
At Saturday’s Igu Aro all the paraphernalia of the event fell in place with yams distributed for the next planting season.