Ubulu-Uku, a town in Aniocha Local Government Area of Delta State is on the verge of crisis, which may lead to an explosion of violence. The cause of the unease in the town is the installation of Agbogidi Chukwuka Noel Akaeze 1, a 17-year old half-caste, as the new Obi of Ubulu Uku.
On Monday in Asaba, the capital of Delta State, the head of the kingmakers (Onishe) of Ubulu-Uku, Mr. Emma Ejiofor, told journalists that the teenage monarch was not the choice of the kingmakers, but a creation of the government. He also described his late father as a usurper.
“I am the alter-ego of Ubulu-Uku traditional council. It is the Onishe that has the powers to crown or dethrone the king. The late Akaeze was a usurper. I did not crown him. If you go through the edict which makes my office, you will see that I did not also crown the little boy that was politically manipulated into office. The nine-man Council of Chiefs (Umuozim), which customarily selects a new king, were sidelined," said Ejiofor.
The head of the kingmakers added that the new monarch is a minor, and there is no way he would support a boy of that age to be the traditional ruler of the town.
“By all standards, the boy is still a minor. If I dance to their side, the gods will strike me. The young man came from London, and his father was interred that day. He was placed on his father's chair same day. He was taken to the council chairman the following day. The third day, they took him to the governor, and he returned to the United Kingdom the next day. These things were done to tell you that some persons schemed to cover up for their traditional rascality,” Ejiofor stated.
He maintained that he is qualified to speak for the kingmakers, dismissing suggestions that he was suspended by the late monarch. “One who was not crowned a king cannot suspend a traditional title holder. The late Akaeze had no powers to suspend me for not accepting his self-styled installation," he said.
Sources in the town told SaharaReporters that the town's tradition forbids the installation of a half-caste as king and are scared that the installation of Chukwuka Noel Akaeze 1 could spark large-scale violence in the town
"In our kingdom, a half-caste is not crowned as king, no matter the circumstances. Our people forget history. Our murdered King, HRM Akaeze Edward Ofulue III, was not the eldest son of his father. The eldest son was rejected because our tradition forbids a half-caste from being king. His mother is an Irish woman," explained a chief in the community.
The chief wondered why the new monarch, whose mother is said to be a Guinean, could be king when his father owed his kingship to the disqualification of his elder brother, who was a mulatto.
SaharaReporters reliably learnt that Ejiofor, who was Deputy Chief of Staff to the former deputy governor, Benjamin Elue, had supported the candidature of the elder brother of the late king, whose mother is Irish, as against that of the late Akaeze Edward Ofulue III.
Ejiofor was said to have crowned him, reluctantly. Both, however, remained at loggerheads all through the late monarch's reign. There are speculations in some quarters that Ejiofor and some other opponents of the late king were behind his kidnap and eventual death.
The late Akaeze Edward Ofulue III was found dead 15 days after he was kidnapped on 5 January along Igbodo-Obior Road. His abductors had demanded a ransom of N100 million, which was not paid. The late monarch's decomposing corpse was later found in a forest in Umunede, Ika North East Local Government Area.
The new monarch enjoys the support of the state government. On a courtesy visit to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa at the Delta State Government House a few weeks ago, the government awarded him a scholarship right up to the university level.
“We want to encourage you to know that as you study, you have your people back home that you would have to administer their culture and customs as their royal father, and we hope that soon, you will be through with your studies and bring your experience to bear on the administration of your kingdom,” Okowa said during the visit.
The new king is currently a student at Rochester Grammar School, Kent, England. He said to live with his mother in the UK.
Meanwhile, SaharaReporters has been told that Mrs. Onyemaechi Mrakpor, representative of Aniocha/Oshimili Federal Constituency in the Federal House of Representatives, is angry with the Delta State Police Command over its handling of the investigations into the death of the former king.
Mrakpor, an indigene of Ubulu-Uku, was said to have accused the Delta State Police Commissioner, Mr. Alkali Baba Usman, of deceiving the people of the town by parading those who bought the mobile phone of the murdered king as the kidnappers and killers of the king.
Mrs. Mrakpor, it was learned, said only one out of the six persons paraded by the police commissioner had any link to the monarch's kidnap and eventual death. She has challenged police commissioner to fish out the masterminds of the gruesome saga.