By Chioma Ndife
The Orsumoghu Community, an agrarian locality in Ihiala Local Government Area of Anambra State, has elected Chief Elochukwu Mbanefo as its new traditional ruler, 35 years after the demise of the last ruler.
Fides gathered that the last traditional ruler of the community, His Royal Highness, Igwe Wilfred Okafor, Ozuruoha I of Orsumoghu Ancient Kingdom ruled for eight years before his demise in 1985.
The newly elected monarch, Igwe Mbanefo, a pharmacist and industrialist, was unanimously elected by 90 delegates from the nine villages that make up the community.
Speaking shortly after his installation, Mbanefo expressed delight that the community found him worthy to shoulder their responsibilities which he said he never lobbied for.
The traditional ruler further expressed joy that in spite of the rancour among villagers, no life was lost to the kingship tussle as all issues were settled in court before the election. He attributed it to the peaceful and civil nature of indigenes of the community.
‘It was fate that brought me this far and made me traditional ruler,’ he said.
The monarch pledged to lead and serve his people without fear or favour, and also discharge his duties without consideration of his personal gains.
He further promised to leverage on the developmental strides of prominent indigenes in the areas of agriculture, educational trust funds, youth reorientation and empowerment as well as boost commercial activities for women for the overall development of the community.
Earlier, the President-General of the community, Chief Chika Muomaife explained that the community had been without a ruler for many years following the disagreement over hereditary system of succession by the various villages.
‘Around 1975 to 1976, more than 80 per cent of Orsumoghu people came together and said they would no longer accept the heriditary system and that they wanted a rotational type of igweship.
‘The zone that had been producing Igwes rejected the proposal by the town which lingered till 2015 when I was elected the President-General. But because I am from the village that had produced traditional rulers, so many of the indigenes thought I will take moves to install myself as the traditional ruler and I made the promise that the town will come up with a new constitution which will enshrine a rotational system of igweship. This promise has been fulfilled today with the election and installation of a ruler from another village,’ Muomaife said.
He said the installation of the new ruler will enable the community receive benefits due to them from the state government.
According to him, the community has lost out in many developmental programmes of the state government which was solely designed for the benefit of different communities to be manned specially by the traditional ruler.
The president-general expressed optimism that with the installation of a traditional ruler, the community will now benefit from such programmes.
In an interview, the Ikenga of Orsumoghu Community, Engr. Emeka James Okoye said the election of the monarch marked a new era and has ushered in peace and progress of the community.
‘The unanimous support which the traditional ruler received from the delegates from nine villages during the election that was monitored by DSS, Police., Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs in Awka and the Press, shows the oneness which the community will begin to enjoy,’ Okoye added.
He tasked the monarch to keep the people united and project the community in good light through his activities and programmes.
In his remarks, the eldest man in the community, Chief Obiegbunam Ozuba, while expressing delight at the election of the monarch, expressed satisfaction with the turnout of the election.
‘I am delighted that after many years, Orsumoghu came together to elect a king which projects a new beginning and better future for the community after 35 years,’ he said.
Contributing, High Chief Azuka Walter Akubuo, tasked the new Monarch to initiate activities that will bring peace in the community, togetherness of the youth and Council of Elders.