Monday, June 13, 2016

New Odogwu Of Asaba: Controversies, Allegations Spell Ill Feelings

• My Emergence Is Divine, On Merit….Nwanze Oduah

• Selection Process Not Transparent, No Due Process… Eluaka, Umunnah

Okonta Emeka Okelum, Asaba, Delta State.

The selection process for the emergence of a new Odogwu of Asaba has left behind some hard dots of mixed feelings and sharply divided opinions.

With the demise of the immediate past Odogwu of Asaba, Chief Dr. P.I. Nwamu, the Asagba In Council quickly vetoed that Umuonaje quarters will select and present before them, the next Odogwu of Asaba.

The quarter had an initial two months time line to get the selection and presentation done, but no thanks to unveiling controversies, various allegations and counter cases of fraud related actions, the deadline elapsed.

According to information reaching Asaba Post News Wire, series of countless mixed feelings owing to controversies, complaints of sharp practices, unethical conducts of some selection committee members delayed the process, which prompted the palace’s attention to step in.

The delay was occasioned by the institution of two selection committees, the first led by Obi Benibe Ugboko was dissolved after various complaints of unethical practices and money switching from hand to hand was reported to the community.

Same complaints also trailed the institution of the second committee headed by Ogbueshi Ojinji Okonkwo, especially from the key aspirants in the race for the Odogwu Stool.

It will be recalled that four men from the quarter were in the race, namely, Ogbueshi Eluaka Onochie, Mr. John Mkpaya, Mr. Nwanze Oduah and Ogbueshi Eugene Umunnah.

The needless disagreements and accusations leveled against members of the first committee over collecting bribes and attempts at unofficial extortion of money from aspirants pushed the quarter to lay off the first committee.

Same ill feeling also greeted the activities of the second committee.

The first committee after individual screening and oracle consultation at various places in and around Asaba environs, announced Ogbueshi Eugene Umunnah as the chosen one.

On the other hand, the Ogbueshi Ojinji Okonkwo led committee after series of oracle consultation unveiled to the quarter that Mr. Nwanze Oduah is the man who the cap fits best, a pronouncement that quickly earned for the young man congratulatory messages online plus town wide drinking celebrations amongst his friends, relations and well wishers.

With the atmosphere hotly charged and opinions sharply divided, our reporter engaged three of the major aspirants( Ogbueshi Eluaka Onochie, Mr. Nwanze Oduah and Ogbueshi Eugene Umunnah) in a media chat, as information reaching us revealed that the immediate family( mother and wife) of Mr. John Mkpaya had raised voice of disapproval and zero support.

Some burning issues our reporter engaged them upon are listed below:

• Confidence In The Committee’s Task
Ogbueshi Eluaka Onochie observed that he lost confidence in the first committee immediately accusations of demand for bribery and extortion rented the space, of the second committee; he lost confidence from the on set, when some folks with questionable characters were made members of the committee.

Ogbueshi Eugene Umunnah shared that the first committee did a good great job, a view all the three aspirants held unto, but emphatically, shared that the second committee was highly compromised, who did not follow the laid down guideline as sent from the palace.

Mr. Nwanze Oduah on his own part pointed out that the first committee invited, interviewed, sought to know their knowledge of Ahaba culture and visited their homes to see how suited it is for both the title holder and the Ikenga Nnebisi, but noted that the second committee did not invite them for interviews, a position he reasoned maybe that they had asked for a report from the first committee, on the contrary, Ogbueshi Eluaka said he is confident that the second committee did not seek the opinion nor report of the first committee, making their task and its finding highly unacceptable.

• Consensus Agreement
Mr. Nwanze Oduah shared that far before the first and second committees began their duties, that all the aspirants agreed that whoever emerged will get the support of other aspirants and questioned the current bases for agitation after his name was pronounced as the Odogwu-elect.

• Mandate Defense
Ogbueshi Eugene Umunnah believed that the mandate was first divinely his and he will defend and appeal for same even at the palace.

Ogbueshi Eluaka Onochie decried the high level sharp practices and open confession of unethical engagement of some committee members and reasoned that a more neutral ground like the palace should intervene.

• Was Terms Of Reference Followed
While Ogbueshi Eluaka stressed that both the first and second committees did not follow palace guidelines, Ogbueshi Umunnah faulted the second committee over same offence.

Mr. Nwanze Oduah commended the job well done by the first committee, but can not say exactly why the second committee didn’t call them for an interview, but remarked that their oracle consultation was done well, an exercise that later pronounced him as the Odogwu elect.

• Personal Qualification
Both Ogbueshi Eluaka and Umunnah believed that their educational and career backgrounds, commitment to humanitarian services and desire to serve the land are enough yardsticks to rate them well fitted for the title.

Mr. Nwanze Oduah in addition to mentioning his educational and career experiences noted that he met all the conditions of the guidelines. Another area of concern he raised was the fact that of all his fellow aspirants, none of them understand what Ikenga Nnebisi entails very well, observing that he known from experience how to feed, respect, honor and worship the Ikenga.

He also made mention of his past service to the town during Ineh Festivals as well as his unalloyed loyalty to the two immediate past Odogwu title holders.

• Grievance/Redress
One collective attitude all of the three aspirants shared was the notion that the quest for the title is not a do or die affair.

Ogbueshi Eluaka believed strongly in the wisdom of the Asagba In Council at using the set guidelines during redress sessions cum final screening at the palace, a view Ogbueshi Umunnah upheld too.

I hold no grudges against none of the aspirants, as my service to the town, my kindness and love for the land’s tradition and culture made my emergence possible, Mr. Nwanze Oduah told our reporter.

• Confidence In Asagba In Council
When our reporter asked each of them what was their level of confidence and trust in the wisdom and judgment of the Asagba In Council, all the aspirants shared same positive response and thoughts.

They trust and believed that at the palace, there are men of integrity, who will make the best decisions for the land.

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