From Isaac Ojo and Ifeoma Ejiofor, Nnewi
The people of Ojoto community, the headquarters of Idemili South Council of Anambra state have raised the alarm over the likely negative spiritual and economic consequences that might befall them if Igwe Gerald Mbamalu goes ahead with his proposed Ofala festival later this month.
Almost in tears, the citizens at a press conference yesterday, appealed to Gov Willie Obiano, the security agencies in the state and other well-meaning citizens to prevail on the Igwe to suspend the Ofala celebration to a later date.
They urged Mbamalu to first of all proceed with cleansing the land, purification and appeasement of all the revered gods and deities in Ojoto as well as the land he had offended through his recent conducts.
The citizens made up of the Elders Council, Otu Omenana and the Youths led by Chief Anthony Uzokwe(Nnanyelofor) alleged that Igwe Mbamalu “was yet to be properly coronated/enthroned as Igwe Ojoto as enunciated in our Constitution. We are therefore urging that all the required processes be diligently complied with to extricate the community and her sons/daughters from the likely spiritual, cultural and traditional consequences of these aberrations.”
He noted that it would be unwise for a community to throw itself into an everlasting catastrophe because of the aspiration of one man.
“This”, he went on, “is the summary of why we, as Otu Omenana in conjunction with the youth and Elders of Ojoto have continued to write, alert, caution and warn of the likely consequences.
“Having watched things deteriorate under Mbamalu, and having formally written him on several occasions without response; we were constrained to sent emissaries to visit Agu-ukwu Nri -the citadel and custodians of the Igbo culture and tradition. There we narrated these matters, they didn’t mince words to say that they were abomination of atrocious level and that the gods of the land must be appeased to save Ojoto from spiritual, physical, social and economic catastrophe.
“On our return, we met stakeholders and intimated the Igwe with the outcome of our visit to Nri. He again ignored us.
“Also, whereas Article 35 of the Constitution of Ojoto authorized the conferment of only four 4) honourary chieftaincy titles on citizens/non-citizens of Ojoto by the Igwe during Ofala, Mbamalu has already lined up about Seventy-five(75) such beneficiaries. This is sacrilegious.
“More so, he has no mandate yet to confer any chieftaincy title on anyone since he has not undergone through the constitutional processes of emergence, coronation and enthronement as our Igwe. Consequently he has no reason to confer any title on anyone because such chieftaincy title would amount to waste and would carry no value.
“Again, for nearly a week now tension has remained very high in the community over the criminal excavation of sand/laterite at Mmili John Rd, Ndiabor village over the visible environmental horror the act has already become to the residents and the more it would be in future, many well-meaning citizens including the Ojoto President General, Chief Donatus Anozie have spoken out and written to the company and owners of the land, to no avail. So far, Mbamalu has said nothing.”
But when he was contacted on these allegations and untoward events Igwe Mbamalu dismissed the allegations of committing abomination in the community, pointing out that, “…they are accusing me of committing abomination when am the chief custodian of all Ojoto laws, culture, tradition and values. Whatever I declare to be an abomination becomes abomination and when I said it’s not, then no one can say anything to the contrary. After all, is it not curious and suspicious that all I did that they now categorized as abomination (alu) were recorded and presented to the world by me. And I carried out all I did together with the PG, Chief Donatus Anozie; but they are not mentioning his name at all.
“They were done in effecting the Covid-19 protocol as mandated on all traditional rulers and President Generals in the state. More so, I carried out all the actions with the PG, so why have they now gone to visit him but refused to come to see me. My gates and palace have remained open to everyone round the clock.
“Some of the members of Uzokwe-led Otu Omenana have pulled away and have been visiting me freely. A tour round Ojoto would show massive development especially roads construction by our citizens in the diaspora who have chosen to rally round my zeal and efforts”, Mbamalu went on. He pointed out also that no fewer than thirty citizens of the community were already lining to be given chieftaincy titles by him during the coming ofala.