The Regent in-Council of Ojoto Community in Idemmili South Local Government Area of Anambra State, High Chief Sir Gerald Mbamalu, has stated that the town has not crowned anybody as its traditional ruler and therefore has no substantive monarch.
Mbamalu known as Asato III of Ojoto dismissed those claiming that Ojoto has an Igwe-elect, saying that those bandying such information were being economical with the truth.
Speaking at his palace when he performed traditional rites for the New Yam Festival, the Regent prayed: “There is seedtime and harvest time. This is when to know God loves us by allowing yam seedlings have good yields. That means Ojoto people will never go hungry. We thank God for his blessings. We hope that next year would be greater. We ask for peace in the entire Ojoto Akanasato because without peace and love there can be no progress.
“According to our customs and traditions, Ojoto is eating yam today. The Regency Council, on behalf of the Igwe that embarked on a journey has to eat first before the whole Ojoto people. The Regency Council, traditionalists, town union and entire Ojoto Akanasato are here to celebrate the Ufiejioku festival”, he said.
At the Ufiejioku ceremony held at Oye Ojoto Market, which is part of the New Yam Festival in Ojoto, Mbamalu said that the process of selecting a new king for the town has been put on hold in compliance with the directive of the state government and Anambra State High Court.
He told the crowd that “as at today the Regent in-Council is the highest authority in Ojoto town, since the process of selecting a new traditional ruler has also been put on hold due to possible security threat in the community.”
Mbamalu said that at the appropriate time when they dispense the matter in the court and if the state government gives directive, the Regent in-Council in line with the Constitution of the town will set machinery in motion for selection of a new traditional ruler.
He commended the state government for showing concern for the peace and security of life and property in Ojoto and for being bold enough to stand on the side of justice to tell the world the truth that government is not aware of any Igwe-elect.
Mbamalu queried: “How can we select a traditional ruler without the approval of the state government, how can we select an Igwe without involving the Regent in Council and the people of Ojoto who are the owners of the throne. The state government, the Regent and the entire people of Ojoto must be involved in the process. The Igwe Ojoto is not who you select and coronate in an uncompleted building.”
The Ojoto Regent seized the opportunity to campaign for the reelection of Governor Willie Obiano urging the people to make sure that they deliver Obiano at the polls to enable him continue the good works he is doing Anambra State which includes adequate security, improvements on Agriculture, prompt payment of workers and community development projects going round the entire communities in the State.
On the relevance of New Yam Festival in Igbo and, the Regent stated that it was a period of celebrating fruitfulness of their crops, especially yam which according to the Igbo is the “king of all crops”.
He explained that the festival is an annual exercise meant to thank God for a successful planting and harvesting, saying that with the celebration, every village and family in Ojoto can begin to eat the new yam.
Other members of the Ojoto Regent in-Council who aligned with the Regent that the community does not have a traditional ruler included Prof. Victor Anosa, Chief Michael Okigbo, Chief Donatus Anozie, Vice President-General Ojoto Akanasato, Chief Okey Obingo, and Ichie Anumba Joe Obimma