Godson Moneke;:one of the many erudite scholars of Nnewi have responded to the inscription: NNEWI KINGDOM, embedded in the chieftaincy certificates that was issued by HRH Igwe Dr. KON Orizu III, CON, JP in his 2020 Ofala. This response is one out of the few recent developments in Nnewi Town that evokes response.
Read his submission below
THE WORD “NNEWI KINGDOM” IS AN ABSURDITY, IT IS AN ABERRATION.
GODSON O. MONEKE
Nnewi is a heterogeneous society made up of four autonomous but interdependent communities namely; Otolo-Nnewi, Uruagu-Nnewi, Umudim-Nnewi and Nnewi-Ichi-Nnewi. These four communities are equal and none is subordinate to the other. Each community has its own OBI or KING. The domain of the king of each community is his kingdom. Thus we have Otolo-Nnewi kingdom, Uruagu-Nnewi kingdom, Umudim-Nnewi kingdom and Nnewi-Ichi-Nnewi kingdom. The name, NNEWI is a METAPHOR that arose out the AgbaN’ano covenant entered into by the four communities years back. It is therefore absurd for the KING OF OTOLO-NNEWI to christen himself the KING OF NNEWI. There is nothing like king of Nnewi as Nnewi is not a kingdom. The Obi of one community cannot unabashedly claims suzerainty over his equals in other autonomous communities. I don’t know the reason for this frolic but if it is a power grab driven by inordinate ambition, I feel it is a rude joke which has no support in history and tradition. There are four kings in Nnewi who are original in their emergence and no power outside their domains plays any role whatsoever in their emergence. What is going on now in Nnewi is a SACRILEGE. Those who condone that abnormality for personal benefits should remember that what they are encouraging by their actions is a taboo.
The throne of the Obi of each of the four communities is older than anybody that is alive today. So none of those who encourage their desecration can claim ignorance of the implications of their actions. An action done exclusively by only one of the four Obis CAN NOT BE AN ACTION OF NNEWI. To be an action of Nnewi , the concurrence and endorsement of all the four Obis must be obtained. Any action done by one of the four Obis without following the above process is INCHOATE as well as VOIDABLE. What is going on in Nnewi is a BAZAAR. Somebody is shamelessly poaching people from other communities and giving them ILLEGITIMATE AND ILLEGAL NNEWI CHIEFTAINCY TITLES without reference to the Obis of their communities. This is as roguish as it is absurd. The BENEFICIARIES OF SUCH BOGUS Chieftaincy titles do not reckon that the ignominy with which their native kingdoms were treated was their own SHAME. We now have a situation where somebody goes round the four communities in Nnewi enlisting those who have NICE BUILDINGS, SOME AFFLUENCE AND PROMINENCE and offering them DUBIOUS CHIEFTAINCY TITLES. That is vulgar and a predisposition to materialism which corrodes our societal moral fibers. The Chieftaincy titles can come Otolo-Nnewi kingdom which is what they are. They are definitely not from Nnewi. You have no right to involve people who are not a party to your schemes.
There is nothing wrong in recognizing a prominent son or daughter of Nnewi with a Chieftaincy title per se, what is wrong is the SURREPTITIOUS AND INSINCERE manner the whole business is conducted. The beneficiaries do not contribute anything to the development of infrastructure in the Obi of their community but are very loud in developing infrastructure in the Obi of a sister community because they were given dubious Chieftaincy titles. But what is in a Chieftaincy title? What advantage does it give beneficiaries? Does it prolong lifespan? Does it make somebody win an election? Does it confer RESURRECTION on a dead body? Does it guarantee a political appointment? Does it guarantee a fat bank account. Why would people desecrate their father’s land for such vain glorification and inanity? People should be careful about making themselves willing tools in the pursuit of somebody’s inordinate ambition.
What are the roles of the Obis of the three other communities in the OFALA that is celebrated annually at the palace of the Obi Otolo/Igwe Nnewi. Do they just attend as spectators and visitors? If it is an Nnewi OFALA, then they should all have a stake both the process and programs. . What are their contributions? Are they officially recognized as stakeholders in the programs? What are their expectations? Are such expectations legitimate? But that is not what I see on ground. If it is the OFALA of Obi Otolo, then they can attend as GUESTS with no commitments which they currently do but they MUST CELEBRATE THEIR OWN OFALAS IN THEIR RESPECTIVE DOMAINS to make the process complete. The OFALAS can be celebrated CONCURRENTLY or at different dates within the month of December every year. This can engender a holistic development of Nnewi and create more pomps and pageantry during the end of year festivities. Everything about celebrating OFALA is traditional and has nothing to do with government recognition which is purely political and subject to the whims and caprices of the government in power. There is nothing wrong with the other Obis celebrating their own OFALAS as means of empowering themselves and their communities both materially and spiritually. Besides, OFALA is used as an opportunity to commune with the ancestors and thank them for their benevolence and protection throughout the outgoing year. It will help members of the communities to prosper and this goes to the root of the welfare and spiritual wellbeing of the people. The OFALA being done by the Obi Otolo is for OTOLO PEOPLE. The remaining three Obis must do their respective OFALAS for the BENEFIT of their people who are now left as sheep without a Shepard.
The four communities are each more than five centuries old and I do not see why they should continue to allow themselves to be lapped like babies by somebody who is an adult like them. The three other communities in Nnewi have been relegated in the scheme of things and driven into anonymity. The regrettable things are that sons and daughters of these communities are willing tools in a carefully planned scheme of self-immolation. I do not know whether to call what they are doing omission or commission. Either way, it is shameful. God forbid bad things!!! The question to ask is; what will these people tell their ANCESTORS when meet them in their final days or do they think they will live forever? It is like somebody building mansions for another person’s parents when his own parents live in penury as beggars. Charity, we are told begins at home ( aku luo uno). It dictates that we must look inwards at all times.
There have been numerous efforts at unity and peace in Nnewi but it does appear that all the communities are not on same page. It appears that somebody’s blind ambition is the biggest threat to unity and peace in Nnewi. I want to be controverted that Nnewi is made up of four autonomous communities. Of the four equal communities, one is regarded as first among equals, the other is also regarded as second among equals , it goes thus until the fourth among equals. PEOPLE SHOULD NOTE THIS IS NOT SACROSANCT AND SHOULD NEVER BE TAKEN FOR GRANTED. RESPECT IS RECIPROCAL. What is going on in Nnewi now? Why are the other three communities and their Obis so shabbily treated? The fact that one of the communities with the active backing and support of the other three got government recognition is not the reason for it to treat others like A PIECE OF RAG. The fruits of that recognition should be enjoyed by all who contributed to its realization and not monopolized by one individual or community as currently obtains. Those who are quick to mouth NNEWI UNITY AND PEACE should note the ignominious treatment being meted to the other three Obis by the Obi Otolo whom they jointly supported to obtain government recognition. The truth is that one of the communities is cheating the other three communities and this is unacceptable!!!!!
People should ask themselves whether what is happening now is what our ancestors planned when they entered into the AgbaN’ano covenant . To use government recognition as a weapon against those who helped you and whom you call your brothers is sacrilegious. Government recognition is dynamic and is not cast in stone and it is not mutually exclusive. . Nobody is happy to live in an environment in which he is psychologically suppressed and treated as a second class citizen. This is what is going on in the Nnewi traditional system and the other three communities are being taken for granted. Is this fair? Now is the time for all who genuinely love Nnewi to intervene so that the right things are done at all times. A stitch in time saves nine stitches.
When I started seeing that strange word ‘Nnewi kingdom ‘ in some write ups and other communications, I honestly thought that it was a joke by some irascible writers who did not understand the depth of the rude joke they were playing . I can now confirm that the provocative word actually originated from somebody who should know better. It emanated from the source who shouldn’t joke with such a serious word talk less of using it as an emblem. Anambra state has so far recognized about 200 traditional rulers and the Obi Otolo is just one of them. Whatever gives anybody the guts that no other traditional ruler would be recognized in Nnewi, in a clear case where autonomous communities have existed for many centuries. What is the meaning of the word NNEWI KINGDOM? What does it suggest? Is Nnewi no longer made up of four autonomous communities? Does each of these communities not have their own Obi (King)? Does Obi Otolo or any other Obi play any customary or traditional role in the CROWNING of the Obi of any community in Nnewi? Can Obi Otolo or any other Obi in Nnewi settle any land or other disputes outside their domain in Nnewi? I ask these questions because answers to them will drive our points nearer home. Besides, I want things to be done right and placed in their correct perspectives.
I NATURALLY ABHOR CHEATING or taking advantage of any person whom I call my brother. That to me is betrayal which is a mortal sin and BETRAYERS have never won any contest from ages and this will not be different. The momentary victory they claim is only salutary for a short term besides it is usually a PYRRHIC VICTORY. Is that what we want? I do not think so. This is an unprovoked attack on our SENSIBILITIES. VOICES OF REASON SHOULD INTERVENE SO THAT THE RIGHT THINGS ARE DONE FOR OUR COLLECTIVE BENEFIT . The stakes are high and nobody should play God because we are all living mortals. It would be a tragedy of immense proportion if outsiders are invited to settle a self-inflicted dispute which ought not to arise in the first place. What is playing out in Nnewi is akin to changing the goal post when the match is already on. The rules of engagement are being disregarded and commitments are overlooked yet people pretend as if all is well. This is not the way to go in any civilized society. Nnewi can not be an exception.
In the olden days, titled men in Uruagu Nnewi are buried the ‘ NSUKWU’ style unlike in other communities of Nnewi. This is a strong distinguishing factor of Uruagu-Nnewi and sets it apart from the rest of Nnewi communities. Uruagu –Nnewi conducts Burials year round ie January –December and only streamlined this event with the rest of the other communities in Nnewi only recently. All the four communities have their uniqueness based on where their ancestry flowed from. The streamlining of all events in the four communities into one accord is a recent phenomenon which most of us are older than. To attempt to revise history and present it in a self-serving and obviously false manner is a fraudulent contraption which must fail. It is a matter for serious regrets that the concept of Nnewi Peace and Unity is nebulous and fraudulent. It was designed to suppress the three communities of Uruagu-Nnewi, Umudim-Nnewi and Nnewi-Ichi Nnewi and elevate the Otolo-Nnewi community over and above them. This should be redressed and our traditional heritages preserved and respected. The Afia-Olu festival was initially not being celebrated by Otolo Nnewi because it was alien to them. It was being observed by the three other communities in turn within the year. Otolo Nnewi joined the three communities in celebrating the festival only recently but is already behaving as it knew what was inside it. KEDU UDI IWA ANYA DI IFAA? Since we know all these facts, why are we acting the contrary even with impunity. What do those who are doing all these shenanigans stand to gain. Let us do the right thing so that we can have an Nnewi where peace and justice reigns and where no one is oppressed. HE WHO DOES NOT KNOW WHERE THE RAIN STARTS BEATING HIM WILL DEFINITELY NOT KNOW WHERE IT STOPS. It tells so much about the level of moral decadence in our society that some people especially from Otolo-Nnewi community do not see anything wrong in the present setup. The notion that the end justifies the means appears to be taking root. This is against our shared values in Nnewi and the moral ethos which shaped our upbringing. When supposed adults see nothing and hear nothing in the face of an obvious travesty of justice, nobody needs to inform any bystander that all is a planned deal. Not to understand the undercurrent in such a plot is the very definition of foolishness. The Nnewi people will readily tell anybody “ama anya enel’ene malu anya Ajulu aju” meaning that one can decode what another is saying by the sign he gives. It is therefore very clear from the unfeeling and soulless comments from some quarters that this is not a child’s play. The question to ask is ; where are we going and where is this bus taking us?
As a sociologist, I can tell you that Nnewi is developing in the wrong direction and people are eagerly embracing a convoluted sense of values. This is a tragic development which does nobody any good. There is a growing population of people in Nnewi who reason through their anus and unfortunately our leaders embrace them as assets because of short-term benefits. There is a segment of our population in Nnewi with a immanent ‘ AREA BOY’ mentality and who have sold their souls to the devils of materialism and acquisition of naked power. This is frightening. We must be careful lest it comes back to haunt us in full retribution. We are watering down our sense of what is right and what is wrong and believe it doesn’t matter. It does matter!! We must go back to our original sense of values that promote moral ethos in our daily lives.