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By Daniel Ohamadike
In what was a floodgate of criticisms and condemnation, as Eze Christopher Offia led Council of Ndieze Igbo Lagos State,Chief Sunday Stainless Ossia’s Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Lagos State Chapter, some Igbo Leaders and Stakeholders, on Monday,Ostracized the Factional President – General, PG of the Igbo Speaking Community in Lagos State, Chief Sunday Udeh, over what they described as destruction of Igbo Cultural heritage,incessant shameful Ezeship coronation and installation of an alleged Fraudulent and Criminal element, as Eze Ndigbo in Part of Amuwo Odofin Local Government Area, Lagos State.
At a press briefing held on December 11,2023, at Old School compound, National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos, the Igbo Leaders through their Secretary General, Eze Remi Anyamele, lampooned the embattled PG, accusing him of vagaries of anti – Igbo activities.
They Stated thus: “The Council of Ndieze, Lagos, has resolved to maintain a very warm, cordial, friendly and brotherly relationship with their Host ( Lagos State) and that they see the action of this Sunday Udeh,as one putting Ndigbo at daggers drown with Lagos State and this action of his, must be stopped by every legitimate means”.
Continuing In that regard, the Council of Ndieze Igbo Lagos went ahead to excommunicate Chief Udeh , Saying that, ” in the bid to achieve this, Chief Sunday Udeh, has been declared a Personae Non Grater, and therefore Ostracized by the Council of Ndieze Igbo Lagos and by extension, Ndigbo “.
Eze Anyamele explained that” Chief Udeh and his cohorts have no right or mandate of Ndigbo to Coronate anyone,as it is the exclusive reserve of the Council of Ndieze Igbo Lagos”.
He referred to media publications concerning December 5th, 2023 arrangement of Chief Sunday Udeh’s newly coronated Eze Ndigbo in Festac, Eze Prosper Chukwuemeka Chukwuka, before Justice Lifu’s Federal High Court 9, Over alleged charges bordering on criminal conspiracy, stealing and other fraud related cases against Ndigbo in Lagos.
He said : “Information reaching Ndieze Igbo Lagos is that this Eze is now cooling down in Ikoyi Prison in handcuffs.You heard me well,he is now in prison.what is more interesting, embarrassingly though, is that the Eze, before his incarceration, paraded himself as Eze Ndigbo of certain area in Amuwo Odofin ,which has been debunked by critical stakeholders, including Chief, Barrister Fabian Onwuhalu, an emeritus Ohanaeze President domiciled in Amuwo Odofin “.
While reading what amounted to a Riot Act to those Ezes they said have been scammed by Udeh, Eze Anyamele who Stated that Diaspora Ezeship title has been streamlined with Ohanaeze Ndigbo world Wide, to viz : “Eze, Ezeigbo, Your Highness, etc”,warned that henceforth, No Eze in diaspora is permitted to put or address himself with His Royal Highness and His Majesty prefixes or appellation.
He said : ” On a more serious note, the Council of Ndieze Igbo has met in the past, to streamline discourse around Ezeship in diaspora.On that note, the Council of Ndieze Igbo, after due consultation with Ohanaeze World Wide and our Igwes in the East, agreed to be guided by the following rules among others ; (A), To adopt the title of Eze, Ezeigbo, Your Highness etc.This is because an Eze is a legitimate Custodian of the culture and tradition of his people or Community in diaspora.(B), Never to go by the titles – His Royal Highness, (HRH), HRM, His Imperial Majesty , etc.This is because Royalty belongs to the owner of the Land”.
Blaming Chief Sunday Udeh, Anyamele continued: “It must be pointed out that one Chief Sunday Udeh, has continued to Crown people who he had arrogated such prohibited titles to, who have also gone ahead to commit all manners of infractions on their people and neighbours “.
Projecting Chief Udeh as a Jobless man without any known means of lively hood, the Council of Ndieze Igbo Lagos, said that they were angered by the shame and embarrassment Chief Udeh caused them and Ndigbo living in Lagos , Over his alleged incessant shameful Ezeship coronation .
They also condemned an alleged impersonation of their group through music album and record released recently : ” The said Sunday Udeh, has continued to dupe unsuspecting Igbos under the guise of coronation and he is not likely to change, since he has no other job.This Sunday Udeh and his Igbo Speaking Community Ezes , have gone ahead to release a record impersonating the Council of Ndieze Igbo Lagos, and this record is trending currently”.
Earlier , Barrister Fabian Onwuhalu, an emeritus Ohanaeze Ndigbo President, Lagos State Chapter, had expressed his anger over how Chief Udeh and his cohorts,were making mockery of the Igbo Nation, cultural and traditions,through his said relentless financial pursuit through reckless coronation of alleged criminal element as Eze Ndigbo in Lagos state.
Addressing the Igbo Leaders , Barrister Onwuhalu, who is also known as “Agu na eche Igbo”, noted that the polarization and multiplicity of about five Ezes in each Lagos state local government Areas,is an aberration that must be checked by genuine Igbo Ezes, who he described as custodians of Igbo culture.
He recalled how he initiated and involved Ohanaeze Ndigbo World Wide leadership during his time as Ohanaeze Ndigbo President, who came, appointed late Guy Ikokwu and Onowu Everest Ozonweke as Chairman and secretary respectively, who were able to regularize the Ezeship institution with first beneficiary being Eze Gabby Dimude of Apapa LGA.
He said : ” despite my warning to Chief Udeh, through calls and text messages, not to crown the man as Eze because of money,two weeks after Udeh coronated the man in far away Lawanson, Surulere,as Eze Festac, he was arraigned before the federal high court 9, Ikoyi, on criminal charges.The man had series of petitions at Alagbon, Panti, Festac Area Command,were he was detained but because of corruption in police, especially the middle and lower cadre, he uses money to suppress the victims cases, and goes about with police excorts.I also alerted Udeh on how the man serially duped members of FH Club Festac, and was suspended . There is a WhatsApp platform created by about 35 of his victims locally and internationally.He has since his purported coronation, used the title to dupe unsuspecting Igbos and non – Igbos.With his announcement as Eze Ndigbo in court by his lawyer, Ezeship is seen as a criminal entity, which is a negative for our children, who would want to learn our culture through diaspora Ezeship”, Chief Onwuhalu explained .
Contributing to the press briefing, a notable Igbo Leader, Board Of Trustees, BOT, Chairman, ‘Ndieze Udo Nu Na Uzo Ije’ and Eze Ndigbo in Ikeja, Eze Uche Dimgba,popularly known as Okpotemba, washed the hands of Council of Ndieze Igbo , Ndieze Udo na Uzo ije, Ohanaeze Ndigbo World Wide from whatever Chief Udeh has engaged himself into.
He said : ” Ezeship in Igbo land is not all about give me money and I will crown you. Chief Sunday Udeh , does not represent the Igbo Nation, whatever he is doing is not Igbos.Igbos have rejected him and whatever he is coronating is his own business, he can coronate criminal elements but those his Ezes are not our members. Ezes in diaspora are not Royal Highnessess, because Royal Highnessess do not play politics and do not contest election,but Eze Ndigbo in diaspora play politics and can contest election . Our duties as Ezes in diaspora, is to organize Ndigbo for peaceful co-existence with our host community, to guide our people socially, culturally and politically and not to contest with the owners of the land.Late Igbo Leader, Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu who started Ezeship in diaspora contested election.We do not have appellation of His Royal Highness, it is for the owners of the land, we do not contest the right of the land with the owners of the land”.
Debunking erroneous impressions by Udeh, over Igbo Speaking Community’s purported exclusive right to the crowing of Ezes in Lagos state, Okpotemba said it is laughable .
Okpetemba said : ” If Udeh’s claims is anchored on CAC registration, then, it is laughable.Ohanaeze Ndigbo evolves from natural laws and principles and cannot be registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC. As such CAC does not speak for Igbos as a Nation or Ohanaeze.You do not register your village, community, people, state etc with CAC, it has been existing”.
Explaining further, Eze Dimgba pointed out that “Oha – Na – Eze signifys the People and King . “Let Igbo Speaking Community therefore answer, Igbo Speaking Na Eze”.There are many other quasi Igbo groups like Aka Ikenga,etc, why are they not crowing Ezes like Igbo Speaking Community?. Udeh’s Igbo Speaking Community crowned Ezes are not Ndieze Igbo and Igbo Speaking Community does not represent Ndigbo anywhere but Ohanaeze Ndigbo does, because Igbo Speaking Community is an Association of all igbo speaking people “.
Speaking, Eze Offia , who threatened legal action by Ndieze Igbo, Lagos, also X-rayed Udeh’s character, accusing him of taking his personal money and drinks.
According to him, ” Udeh is responsible for 75 percent of the shameful beer parlour Ezeship coronation in the state.He sees diaspora Ezeship as business as usual,As a factional President General of his group, he has marketers and agents who solicits money for coronation”.
The Chairman, who is also the Eze Ndigbo in Ibeju Lekki,noted that the Igwes in the South East and the Yorubas, have mandated them to streamline the institution, but regretted that after their efforts to make diaspora Ezeship attractive, Udeh has dainted it’s image, leading to complaints by the Yorubas, that the number of Ezes in Lagos state, far out numbered the whole of the Obas and Baales .
Other stakeholders who spoke against the alleged reckless coronation of Ezes in Lagos state, were Eze Augustine Sunday Ojukwu of Amuwo Odofin and Chief Anselem Njoku.
Earlier, Eze Gabby Dimude of Apapa LGA Lagos,had tried to exclude himself from the stand of his Council, however, after much persuasion from Eze Offia, Eze Ikem Agbasi of Isolo and Eze Ifeanyi Okafor,(Winco) of Agbyi ketu, he soft pedaled on his protest against the impromptu nature of the briefing.
Concluding, Anyamele list the conditions spelt out for Chief Udeh as follows : ” that Udeh and his group of Ndieze should stop forthwith the circulation of the musical record that they have waxed recently,as it constitutes an impersonation, misinformation and or libel.They have two weeks to stop the circulation otherwise, the council of Ndieze will have a recourse to legal action”.
” That those at the head of this cartel (incessant coronation of Ezes) should know that they have constituted themselves into mere criminals and deviants who are anti – Igbo progress, respect and regard, who of course must be dealt with, for the lost virtues to return to Ndigbo “.
Some of the Ezes and stakeholders at the briefing are : Eze Gabby Dimude, Eze Alex Nwoye, Eze Sunday Ojukwu, Eze Agbasi Ikem, Chief Anselem Njoku, Chief Sunday Ossia, Eze Christopher Offia, Eze Uche Dimgba, Eze Remi Anyamele, Eze Ifeanyi Okafor, Eze Martin Iheme, Eze Emenike Akpaga, King Maker Ossia Igwe,Eze Apostle P.C. Uhegbu, Eze Nwabueze Ohazulike, represented by Ugochukwu, Eze Nnaemeka Agbo, Eze Dr.Enwemadu Livinus Chimezie, Chief Thomas Mbanugo and Mr. Mike Orji , amongst others.