Contrary to insinuations in certain quarters, the Paramount Ruler of Ibeku Kingdom in Abia State, His Royal Majesty (HRM), Eze Samuel Onuoha, has declared that Senator Theodore Orji, who represents Abia Central Senatorial District “is a true son of Ibekuland.”
Ibeku is the dominant clan in Umuahia North Local Government Area and comprises 15 autonomous communities which play host to Umuahia, the state capital.
Eze Onuoha, who is the Ogurube 4 of Ibekuland, spoke on Wednesday on Senator Orji’s nativity on the heels of media reports controverting the indigeneship of the former governor.
The monarch told newsmen in Umuahia that “Senator Orji is not only a bona fide son of the community, but an illustrious son of Ibeku who we are very proud of. Anybody with a contrary view is only playing to the gallery.”
According to him, anyone disputing the origin of Senator Orji is doing so solely for political reasons, and should be ignored.
Eze Onuoha said that Orji’s contribution to the development of Ibekuland “right from his days as the Chief of Staff to the Governor, Abia State governor and now that he is a senator are unparalleled.”
His words: “T. A. Orji (Ochendo) did for us what no Ibeku man or any Abia governor has done. He brought rapid development to Ibeku. We revere him because he is an achiever, our illustrious son who has done us proud.
“I am the one who gave chieftaincy title to his son, Chinedum, who is also a worthy son of Ibekuland. Nobody will come to say Ochendo is not from Ibeku. He has been advancing the cause of Ibeku people while he was Chief of Staff and when he became governor, he gave us a sense of belonging,” he said.
The octogenarian, who has been on the throne for 23 years, said he would not hesitate to endorse Senator Orji for a second term because of his impressive performance and quality representation at the Senate.
He also endorsed Orji’s son, Hon. Chinedum Orji, representing Umuahia Central State Constituency, as well as Hon. Chukwudi Apugo, representing Umuahia East State Constituency at the Abia House of Assembly for a second term.
“As the custodian of the customs and “Offor” of Ibekuland, I will endorse and give my blessings to Ochendo, his son Chinedum, and Chukwudi Apugo for a second term in office because they have done well so far. If they come to me in 2019, I will lay hands on them and endorse them, and success will follow them.
“Chukwudi Apugo came to me in 2015 when he was seeking election and I laid hands on him and blessed him and he was successful. He has not let Ibeku people down. He has been fighting as a lion to get our share at the House and that is the type of people we need to represent us.
“I am not a politician but as the custodian of the “Offor” (tradition) of Ibekuland, I know what is good for my people and I will not hide the truth from them. I am an independent mind and cannot doublespeak,” Onuoha declared.
On the leadership crisis rocking the Ibeku Egwuasa Development Association (IEADA), the monarch sued for peace and enjoined both parties to work for the overall interest of their people.
The controversy followed the election of Chief Emeka Enyeazu as the President-General of IEADA while another faction also elected Chief Princewill Ukaegbu as the association’s President.
The Enyeazu-led faction has since been recognised by the state government and enjoys support from the people.
Eze Onuoha said that the rift would have long been resolved if the arrowheads in both camps had heeded his advice but noted that it was not late for the tussle to be permanently put to rest.
Eze Onuoha appealed to Ibeku people to be united and “speak with one voice and as a people”, saying that he would love to see a united and undivided Ibeku.”