Abia Govt Ends Tussle over Eze Aro Throne, Presents Staff of Office to Oji

Abia Govt Ends Tussle over Eze Aro Throne, Presents Staff of Office to Oji

Emmanuel Ugwu-Nwogo in Umuahia

The tussle over the throne of Eze Aro of Arochukwu Kingdom in Abia State has finally ended as the state government has presented a staff of office to Mr. Eberechukwu Oji as the new Eze Aro.

At the event that took place last weekend in Umuahia, the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr. Uzor Nwachukwu, handed the staff of office to Oji, which conferred the title of His Royal Majesty Eze Aro IX on Oji.

The ancient Arochukwu Kingdom had been embroiled in dispute over the right person to ascend the highly revered Eze Aro throne following the death of His Highness, Ogbonnaya Okoro Kanu, who was the Eze Aro VIII.

In the course of the selection process in October 2023, two persons, namely Mr. Godwin Kanu Idei and Mr. Eberechukwu Oji,  emerged from the ruling family, each claiming the throne as Eze Aro designate.

But Abia government’s decisive action to recognise Oji and promptly present him with staff of office has put an end to the lingering dispute surrounding the throne.

The presentation of the staff of office was preceded by a statement issued by the Commissioner for Information and Culture, Mr. Okey Kanu, announcing the release of  government’s White Paper on the report of the Board of Enquiry set up in October 2023.

Kanu said that government accepted the board’s recommendation and declared null and void the earlier coronation/installation of Mr. Godwin Kanu Idei as Eze Aro IX by HRH Eze Dr. Kanu Nwa Kanu Okereke, the Eze Ibom Isii.

He, therefore, declared that “government upholds the selection process adopted by the Okennachi Kindred, which produced Mr. Eberechukwu Oji as the Eze Aro Designate.

“Government directs that Mr. Eberechukwu Oji, be crowned by the community as Eze Aro IX immediately.” 

Not only that, Kanu announced the dethronement of HRH Eze Dr. Kanu Nwa Kanu, Eze Ibom  Isii, saying that “his certificate of recognition and staff of office as a traditional ruler in Abia State are hereby withdrawn immediately.”

He stated: “The Abia State Government hereby affirms that Dr. Kanu Nwa Kanu Okereke ceases to be the traditional ruler of Ibom Community/Eze Ibom Isii in Arochukwu Kingdom, Arochukwu LGA; and the deputy chairman, Arochukwu Traditional Rulers Council, Abia State.

“Government directs the Ibom Isii kindred to immediately commence the process of producing a new Eze to replace the deposed one (Dr. Kanu Nwa Kanu Eze Okereke).”

The commissioner explained that government welded the big stick against the Eze Ibom Isii for going ahead to crown Kanu Idei as Eze Aro without waiting for the board of enquiry to finish its work.

While presenting the staff of office to the new Eze Aro, the LG commissioner absolved government of the alleged meddling in Aro kingship dispute, reiterating that government had no hands in the selection process.

According to him, government only followed the law of the land with respect to the autonomous communities in the state.

Nwachukwu acknowledged that “there were issues and there were factions” in the selection of Eze Aro, adding that government issues a white paper based on the report of the panel.

“I want to reiterate for the umpteenth time, the government had no hands in the process of selection of Eze Aro, but what the government has always insisted is that the people follow the process as documented in the constitution that guides the autonomous communities,” he said.

The commissioner said that having selected their new Eze following the established law on succession, Governor Alex Otti “has given his seal of approval to that which the (Arochukwu) people have done.”

He urged the Aros, whom he noted have shown resilience in overcoming the crisis that threatened to explode over the kingship dispute to embrace peace in the overall interest of Arochukwu Kingdom.

The new Eze Aro, Eberechukwu Oji, thanked the governor for resolving the kingship dispute in Arochukwu, adding that a dawn of new era has descended in the kingdom and he would emulate the “excellent leadership” of his grandfather, the late Eze Kanu Oji.

“I will follow in his footstep to run a kingdom that is peaceful, a kingdom that is prosperous, a kingdom that is inclusive, a kingdom that unleashes the talent of everyone that belongs to Arochukwu Kingdom, both young and old.

“It is my desire that we live in unity and we will maintain absolute balance in everything we do and we pursue in the kingdom and that Arochukwu will become a model of what traditional Igbo leadership represents,” Eze Oji said.

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