Egbudu-Akah: A community with two monarchs
Egbudu-Akah Kingdom, though in Aniocha South Local Council, is only accessible by vehicles through Umunede-Otolokpo-Ekuku-Agbor in Ika North East Local Council area of Delta State due to deplorable condition of the access roads leading to the community from Ogwashi-Uku.
Until recently, Egbudu-Akah was ruled for over 70 years by the late Obi Okolie, regarded as one of the world’s oldest reigning monarchs.
But following his death, succession to his throne has now become a subject of great controversy and conflict, with two of his sons each ruling a section of the kingdom, with some of their supporters fanning the amber of discord.
Trouble started in Egbudu-Akah immediately after the death of Obi Okolie on September 30, this year when a section of the community went ahead to install one of his younger sons, Prince (Pastor) Solomon, who is now known and described as Obi Solomon Ogwuagwu I of Egbudu-Akah, as the next monarch.
Another section of the people, led by Diokpa (eldest man) of Umu-Obi Quarters (royal family), Pa Augustine Ikwesi, installed the late monarch’s first son, Paul, as Obi Paul Nzemeke I of Egbudu-Akah.
Expectedly, since the installations of both sons of late Obi Okolie as monarchs, the kingdom has never had rest and the people in the community now discuss the situation in whispers, for fear of being attacked or molested by over-zealous youths, who have already pitched their tents with each of the gladiators.
Today, as a sign of division, the chiefs, elders and youths of the community attend meetings (Izu-Ani) in the palace of any of the Obis they like or support, with the associated acrimony, transfer aggression and cultural misinterpretations of the issues on ground to suit his purpose and sense of loyalty.
Speaking on the lingering tussle, Obi Solomon Ogwuagwu 1, the younger constant, said: “If you strictly follow the history and culture of Egbudu-Akah, it is evident that the throne belongs to me, as my mother, Mrs. Margaret Adaeke Okolie was the first rightful wife of my father, the late Obi Okolie, while Paul’s mother was inherited, with some of her children, including Paul himself, by my father in error and contrary to the custom and tradition of the good people of Egbudu-Akah.
“My grandfather, Ememokwu, had four (4) wives. My own father was not the first son of his father, as there was one son ahead of him, called Babadi Ememokwu, who died in the presence of his father.
“Before his death, he had about four wives, but two (2) were alive when his father died in 1946.
“So, Obi Okolie was asked to inherit his brother’s two living wives and their children.
“My father inherited through Igbulu-Nanzo, his brother’s two wives before he continue his own life by marrying my mother, who bore two late sons and myself.
“I am the rightful first living child, who is the authentic first son of late Obi Okolie.”
Obi Ogwuagwu 1 alleged that following the death of his late two senior brothers, and for fear of losing him to the same mysterious death that killed his brothers, his late father and members of the royal family took him to the palace of Obi Nwoko of Idumuje-Ugboko in Aniocha North Local Council at the age of between two and three until he became an adult.
He stated that it was when he returned to Egbudu-Akah that he knew it was a taboo for his late father to have inherited two wives.
“It was a taboo for my father to expect that such a senior male child from the inherited marriage can become an Obi.
“He can only assume the position of a Diokpa (head of family or quarter), but certainty not a king to sit on the throne of Egbudu-Akah.”
On why the elders of Egbudu-Akah did not resist the late Obi Okolie’s inheritance of the two wives before getting married to two wives later in his life, he said they were afraid of him as their monarch.
His mother, Mrs. Margaret Adaeke Obi-Okolie, during the interview at Egbudu-Akah, added: “The people in the kingdom knew the ugly situation and the resultant effect; hence they passionately pleaded with me to marry the late Obi in order to get the male child successor to the throne, in the event of his death.”
But Obi Nzemeke I insisted that he was duly installed on November 20, this year by three Diokpas in Egbudu-Akah, supported by the relevant kingmakers and quarters, whereas “my brother was allegedly installed some weeks after me by strangers, whose objective was to create crisis in our kingdom.”
While countering the stance of Obi Ogwuagwu 1, Obi Nzemeke I said the culture and tradition of Egbudu-Akah are similar to those of other communities in Aniocha South, Aniocha North, Oshimili North and Oshimili South Local Councils of Delta State and have not changed till today.
He stated that it was common knowledge in the kingdom, even before the death of the late monarch that: “I was the recognised heir-apparent to the throne, because everybody knows I am the first male qualified child, as I have been in the palace before my father married Solomon’s mother.
“Also, my father formally married my mother in accordance with the culture and tradition of Egbudu-Akah.”
He stressed that he was installed by the relevant persons and elders in accordance with the culture and tradition of the people of Egbudu-Akah.
Obi Nzemeke I argued further: “I was born by my father as the first son and not inherited, as alleged by some mischief-makers, who have been misdirecting my younger brother, Solomon, since the death of our father.”