Eze Aro kingship tussle: stop parading yourself as Eze Aro, Okennachi Kindred tells Prince Goddy Idei

and Chibunna Ikeokwu

Eze Aro Designate. Prince Eberechukwu Oji

Following the crisis rocking the ancient throne of Arochukwu kingdom in Abia State, the Okennachi kindred, the traditional kingmakers of the ancient kingdom, have cleared the air on how Prince Eberechukwu Orji emerged the Eze Aro designate and asked Prince Goddy Idei to stop parading himself as the Eze Aro henceforth.

PG. Okennachi Kindred. Mazi. Udo Chijioke .

Speaking to newsmen at the Alpha plus hotel in Amuvi, Arochukwu local government area of Abia state, the President General of the Okennachi kindred, Mazi Udo Chijioke said that the process that produced Prince Eberechukwu Oji with 5 votes against 2 as the Eze Aro designate was transparent, peaceful and devoid of any meddling in which Prince Goddy Idei himself participated.

According to him, a lot has happened in Arochukwu kingdom in recent times, it has been a slew of rehashed falsehood, accusations, calumny and damaging misrepresentations propagated against the Okennachi kindred for the emergence of Prince Eberechukwu Oji, as Eze Aro designate.

Let me put the record straight.

In an enviable ancient kingdom like Arochukwu, it is not unexpected that the exalted stool of royalty would be sought after by the princes. When the Eze Aro throne becomes vacant as a result of an Eze joining his ancestors, there should not be a vacuum for too long before another Eze takes over. As nature abhors a vacuum, so does our kingdom so that the progress and well-being of the people can be assured.

What happened is that Umu Aro were worried about the non-presentation of a new Eze Aro, more than 2 years after His Majesty Mazi Ogbonnaya Okoro, the late Eze Aro, left the throne of his forefathers to take a well-deserved eternal rest after 25 eventful and transformational years.

So on November 23, 2022 (Two years later) the Nzuko Arochukwu (Umbrella Town Union ) leadership wrote a letter to Okennachi leadership on the matter. On 27th December 2022, the body of Nzuko Arochukwu National Patrons led By Prof. Okoro Ijoma followed suit with a visit to the Okennachi leadership. The Okennachi Kindred was seen as incompetent because of their seeming inability to produce an Eze Aro in time.

It is important to emphasise that Umu Aro demanded a younger person as successor, especially when they considered that Mazi Oji Kanu Oji, the Okwara Ezi (Head of the Roya; family) and the most qualified in line of succession is over 91 years old.

Okennachi kindred men.

Faced with this situation, Okennachi Kindred commissioned a group of eminent persons with the mandate to interact with the Princes to broker peace and create the atmosphere to help the Princes come up with a solution on how to give Aro an Eze. The effort finally paid off and the older princes agreed that those over 70 years would not participate. We also got the most senior to bless and relinquish his claim to the throne. However, there was still no consensus on who should be Eze Aro as divisions persisted between and amongst the families.

Following the inability of the royal family to agree on a consensus candidate after almost three years, the Okennachi Kindred developed a framework to select an Eze Aro and on the 22 of September 2023, the report was presented to the Princes/Representatives of the 3 royal family units. The royal families approved the template to be used for the selection and were full of gratitude to the Okennachi Kindred for their intervention. However, it should be noted that even at the meeting the Royal Family Units were encouraged to produce a consensus candidate from among themselves before considering the option of selection by the kindred committee.

The meeting resolved to pursue the selection option only if the three royal families failed to agree on one consensus candidate. A deadline of 5th October 2023 to submit names of their best candidates was set if they didn’t agree on one candidate. Before the 5th October 2023 deadline, Okennachi Kindred had received nominations in writing for the throne of Eze Aro. The panel received the following nominations: From Asi Eko Oke – Prince Obioha Ogbonnaya Okoro; From Kanu Okoro Oke – Prince Godwin Idei; and Oji Okoro Oke – Prince Oke Kanu Oji & Prince Eberechukwu Oji. The two nominees from the Oji Okoro family were requested to reconcile and present one candidate leading to Prince Oke Oji stepping down for Prince Eberechukwu Oji to be the preferred candidate of the Oji Okoro family unit.

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After the submissions of nominations, the President General of Okennachi Kindred had to constitute a panel of 7 Okennachi kindred sons observing the three traditional units constituting the kindred to evaluate the candidates. With two candidates left, on the night of 17th October 2023, the panel advised the duo of Princes Goddy Idei and Eberechukwu Oji to meet privately and agree on one candidate with a proviso that they would only be evaluated if they failed to reach a consensus.

On 18 October 2023 when the proceedings resumed, the candidates were asked by the panel the outcome of their consultation. They both confirmed they could not agree on one candidate. They then both agreed to submit themselves to be evaluated. That is, they both voluntarily offered themselves to participate in the selection process by the committee. Both candidates took turns and promised to support each other, which may emerge as the winner. The entire people
present were jubilant at the pervading sense of
peace and unity. Everybody, the candidates inclusive, proceeded to Ukwu Ovo Aro ( Aro Ancestral holy place) where Mazi Prince Oji Kanu Oji, the oldest Prince and Head of the Royal family poured libation for peace and made a covenant for both. It was all smiles and camaraderie. The libation ceremony at Ukwu Ovor was captured in pictures and video.

Thereafter, each candidate was given a chance to market himself and answer questions. During these presentations, 2 persons were allowed to be present for each candidate. The 2 persons were also allowed to make statements in support of their candidate. Mazi Philip Kanu Okoro and Mazi Okoro Idei spoke on behalf of Prince Goddy Idei. Mazi Oji Kanu Oji and Mazi Kanu Okoro Kanu Oji were for Prince Eberechukwu Oji.

After the presentation of their profiles and taking questions from the two candidates, the seven-member selection panel did their evaluation and returned a verdict of 5 to 2 in favour of Eberechukwu Oji. In other words, Prince Eberechukwu Oji is the person the Okennachi kindred selected as the Eze Aro Designate.

Gentlemen of the press, permit me to inform you that before the commencement of the selection proceedings on the 18th of October, 2023, Okennachi Kindred received communication from Eze Ibom Isii, Mazi Kanu nwa Kanu and Eze Ezeagwu N’Okwaragwu dictating to Okennachi who should become Eze Aro and who should not – a responsibility totally outside their competence. Their main point was the bogus theory that ONYE NNA YA DI NDU ANAGHI ACHI EZE. The duo ordered Okennachi Kindred to select Prince Goddy Idei and went ahead to threaten that any candidate short of him would not be recognised by them.

The action of the duo of Eze Ibom Isii and Eze Ezeagwu N’Okwaragwu was entirely meddlesome and a breach of the independence of the federating kindreds in Arochukwu. Besides, the action was also in violation of the 2 January 2015 vow entered and signed by Aro traditional rulers and Nzuko Arochukwu Patrons and validated by consent judgement of 26 October 2015 by Justice S.A. Nwakanma of Abia State High Court, Umuahia that “…That NO Kindred Eze should interfere with internal village administration and selection of Eze Ogo…”

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The Panel considered this communication and resolved to proceed arguing THAT THE GREAT ARO ANCESTOR, NNACHI, WAS ALIVE WHEN HIS SON, OKE, BECAME EZE ARO. Also, it was agreed that Mazi Prince Oji Kanu Oji, being the oldest and head of the family, had waived his right as Okwara Ezi and that confers traditional rights on the beneficiary.

Today as I speak, Prince Eberechukwu Oji in line with the Arochukwu tradition of crowning an Eze, having fulfilled being accepted by Nde Oke at Oror, presented and accepted at Utughugwu with the traditional rites performed, presented to and accepted by Bianko and Amaja ( that is having been accepted by the three units of Okennachi kindred) Prince Eberechukwu Oji immediately stands as Eze Aro Designate. This is Aro tradition.

It was therefore in shock and utter disbelief that Okennachi Kindred learned that Prince Goddy Idei who failed at the selection process ran to Eze Ibom Isii on the 20th of October to put what he called Okpu Arunsi on his head and called him Eze Aro. This is unheard of in Aro Tradition. It is not only an abomination, this is pure gangsterism, a total illegality and a nullity. The Eze Aro stool is not for gangsters.Goddy Idei is an impostor since it was not him that Okennachi Kindred selected to be Eze Aro.

Goddy Idei has political backers who are determined to set the Aro Kingdom on fire. They are not only providing funds, they are mounting vicious campaigns of lies and propaganda to deceive the world. The villains are playing the victim. TRUTH IS UNDER ASSAULT IN THE ARO KINGDOM.

To avoid a clash and blood bath in the Aro kingdom, we sent a petition to Nzuko Aro and the Abia State Government. The Governor invited and held three private meetings with the duo to resolve the matter and when it failed an Investigative Panel of Inquiry was set up to look into the issue and resolve the matter. Eze Ibom Isii was suspended for interfering in the traditional affairs of another kindred and invited to defend his actions at a panel set up by the Government but he refused to honour the invitations.

In the meantime, the candidates were ordered to stay action with their planned coronation activities pending the report of the Abia State panel on Eze Aro. As we speak, Prince Goddy Idei continued to parade himself illegally as Eze Aro leading to his being charged in court for contempt and impersonation.

The Okennachi Kindred considered all these issues in their Annual AGM held on 1 January 2024 and come up with a communique that the Okennachi Kindred after extensive deliberations and review of Aro traditional statuses states as follows:

That there is only one kingdom in Arochukwu and the head of the kingdom is the Eze Aro.

There are three kindred units that make up Arochukwu Kingdom. These kindred units are Okennachi, Ibom Isii and Eze Agwu n’Okwaragwu, and each has a kindred head, while the Eze Aro comes from the Okennachi kindred, the other two kindreds of Ibom Isii and Eze Agwu n’Okwaragwu are headed by Eze Ibom Isii and Eze Eze-Agwu.

That in Arochukwu tradition, custom and practice over the centuries, and recent consent judgement of Abia State High Court, on 26 October, 2015 ,each kindred/village select its Eze/Eze-Ogo without outside interference of any kindred head or village head.

That Eze Ibom Isii’s action in crowning an imposter is a traditional interference in Okennachi Kindred affairs, a breach of the Aro kingdom forebears’ covenant, an abomination that must be remediated through necessary atonement and cleansing.

That Prince Eberechukwu Oji and Prince Goddy Idei, sequel to their nomination by their respective family units of Nde Oke, Oror, agreed to submit themselves to be evaluated and voluntarily participated in the selection process. Both pledged to support whoever emerged winner and consummated the covenant with a traditional libation conducted at “Ukwu Ovo” Arochukwu’s ancestral holy place by the eldest of the royal family, Prince Oji Kanu Oji.

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That the selection of Prince Eberechukwu Oji as the Eze Aro, on 18 October 2023 as conducted by a panel of Seven Okennachi Kindred Eze Aro committee with a verdict of 5 to 2 in favour of Prince Eberechukwu Oji, followed the traditional process and endorsed by the three Otusi that make-up Okennachi is final and irrevocable thus, cannot be revisited or reopened under any disguise.

On the issue of the father being alive, it is noted that the older Princes in line of succession to Eze Aro’s throne in compliance with global cultural realities waived their right to the throne and blessed the younger princes to take their slot. And when an heir voluntarily relinquishes his right it can be conferred on any beneficiary without blemish.

That the tenure of Arianzu Arochukwu by the emergence of Eze Aro designate on 18 October 2023 has ended and seizes to exist and The Head of the Royal family and Okwara Ezi, Mazi Prince Oji Kanu Oji (or the Eze Aro designate, as he permits), shall immediately assume all roles pending the release of Abia State Government investigation Panel report.

That we endorse in totality all the actions of the leadership of Okennachi kindred towards this cause and pledge our loyalty and unflinching support to ensure the realization of a united Arochukwu kingdom based on equity, justice and fairness amongst the constituents. This endorsement and confidence in the Okennachi leadership is further strengthened by the overwhelming majority vote of the delegates to uphold the process that produced Prince Eberechukwu Oji as the Eze Aro Designate.

That Okennachi kindred is poised and committed to uphold the ancient covenants by our forebears as well as the rights and privileges of other kindred and institutions of governance in our domain, so appeal to Nzuko Arochukwu, Umu Aro, and all the kindred to come together so that we can build a new path of harmony, prosperity, and renaissance for our kingdom. We believe that we can begin a new chapter in the glorious story of Arochukwu Kingdom.

That Okennachi Kindred detest in its entirety every action by individuals or groups motivated by political considerations and would take actions as appropriate to insulate the Eze Aro throne from partisan interests and considerations which do not augur well for the stability and wholesome development of Arochukwu Kingdom.

That a petition be sent to the Abia State Government to stop the parade of any imposter as Eze Aro.

That we pledge our loyalty to the Abia State Government and Abia State Panel of Inquiry on Eze Aro matter and supports any due process to unravel the conspiracy leading to the parade of an imposter as Eze Aro.
Those that signed the communique as obtained by the National Ambassador Newspaper are
Mazi Chima Dike
Chairman, Communique Drafting)
Committee (CDC)

Mazi Ernest Onwumere
Secretary, CDC

Hon Nkem Okoro
Chairman, Home Branch

Dr. Henry Onyeador
Coordinator, Diaspora

Mazi Udo Chijioke
President General, Okennachi Kindred