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Sunday, June 23, 2024

Anambra: Hamilton Emeka Ezeonu Remains Authentic Ikemba Nnobi — Indigenes Declare

 

BY RAYMOND OZOJI, Awka

Nnobi community in Idemili-South Local Government Area of Anambra State have unanimously endorsed the Ikemba Nnobi Special Chieftaincy title bestowed on High Chief Hamilton Emeka Ezeonu, a son of the soil whom they all attested has used his wealth and vast experience to transform Nnobi into another London.

Indigenes of the community also categorically declared that High Chief Emeka Hamilton Ezeonu is the authentic Ikemba Nnobi they know and that any other character parading himself or impersonating Hamilton Emeka Ezeonu as Ikemba Nnobi is doing so at his own peril because Emeka Hamilton Ezeonu, according to them, fulfilled all the necessary constitutional requirements for the Ikemba Nnobi Special Chieftaincy title to be conferred on him by His Royal Majesty Igwe Engr. Nick Obi.

Although they said a certain individual is claiming to have been conferred Ikemba Nnobi sometime in 1999 by the then traditional ruler His Royal Majesty Igwe Edmond Ezeokoli.They equally disclosed to this journalist that the Ikemba Nnobi title given to the persona was an honorary award which they said has no effect and of no consequence in accordance with Nnobi town constitution.

The indigenes who spoke exclusively with this journalist maintained that Nnobi Constitution provided for Honorary Awards and Special Chieftaincy Titles. They explained that honorary awards could be given to every Dick and Harry as well as every Tom and Jerry and that an honorary award holder can not be a member of the Igwe-In-Council let alone be a member of Ndi-Ichie or Ndi-Nze Na Ozo or even exchange the three handshake of Red cap chiefs. This is in accordance with Nnobi Town Constitution.

The people noted that Nnobi Special Chieftaincy Titles are given to individuals who have shown an uncommon generosity to humanity through philanthropy and selfless service. They said any Special Chieftaincy Title holder in Nnobi community automatically becomes a member of Ndi-Ichie, Ndi-Nze Na Ozo and the Igwe-In-Council because the individual must have fulfilled the constitutional obligations to Ebenesi, Ngo and Awuda, which are the three quarters of Nnobi community.

The people who described High Chief Hamilton Emeka Ezeonu as pure gold as well as a gift from God to Nnobi town, said he is also a man of impeccable character having deployed his wealth for the betterment and emancipation of the rural populace even as they also disclosed that the persona portraying himself as Ikemba Nnobi has never been addressed as such neither is he an Ozo title holder or a member of the Igwe’s cabinet.

Hence, Hon. Francis Obinna Nwankwo who hails from Umuona village Ebenesi Nnobi told this journalist that he could not fathom the reason behind the sudden unwarranted contest over who is the real and authentic Ikemba Nnobi. He said High Chief Hamilton Emeka Ezeonu took a special title as Ikemba Nnobi and that ever since the entire community has been addressing him as Ikemba Nnobi. He said some persons surfaced recently only to create confusion and rancour in the community on the grounds that someone had already taken the title.

High Chief Hamilton Emeka Ezeonu receiving his Ikemba Nnobi Special Chieftaincy Title from Igwe Nick Obi, Igwe Nnobi.

Nwankwo therefore recalled that sometime in 1999, late Igwe Edmond Ezeokoli gave honorary awards to some persons in the community. He said that the late monarch gave one Amb. Jerry Ugokwe Ikemba award. That the likes of Ifeanyi Okonkwo was given Onwa and one Chief Dave Anaezu was bestowed Odenigbo honorary award. But according to him, as long as honorary award, recognition award and merit award are concerned in Nnobi community, none of them enjoys exclusivity of name because they are not in the same category with special chieftaincy titles.

That for anyone to be in the class of special chieftaincy title holders, the individual must first be an Ozo title holder. Then fullfil the constitutional requirements to the three quarters of Nnobi namely Ebenesi, Ngo and Awuda respectively. Nwankwo further explained that any prospective special chieftaincy title holder also has obligations to the king makers, Nnobi Welfare Organization and the Igwe-In-Council.

But in the case of honorary awards, recognition or merit awards, Nwankwo noted that prospective recipients doesn’t require the rigorous processes involved in the conferment of special chieftaincy titles. He said the candidate for honorary award doesn’t need to be an Ozo title holder let alone be in the Igwe’s cabinet. That as long as High Chief Hamilton Emeka Ezeonu is still alive, no one can contest Ikemba Nnobi special chieftaincy title with him because from available records he is the only Nnobi indigene with that special chieftaincy title as Ikemba Nnobi.

Meanwhile Nnobi palace secretary Chief Ezeobi Ajaghaku, who corroborated what F.O Nwankwo said, opined that High Chief Hamilton Emeka Ezeonu is the only authentic Ikemba Nnobi in Nnobi town. Chief Ezeobi said Hamilton Emeka Ezeonu fulfilled all the constitutional requirements as stipulated in sections 138, 139, 140 and 141 of Nnobi community constitution. According to him, any other person ascribing Ikemba Nnobi to himself is just messing up. The Nnobi palace secretary noted that he has all the necessary documents to back his claims that High Chief Hamilton Emeka Ezeonu is the authentic Ikemba Nnobi and that is final.

Contributing to the debate on who the authentic Ikemba Nnobi really is, Mr. Ifeanyi Okoye, who is a native of Ifite Ogbeadiji village Ebenesi Nnobi, said they have the honorary Ikemba Nnobi as well as the special title Ikemba Nnobi whom he said is a member of the Igwe’s cabinet. He said the only person in the community with the Ikemba Nnobi special chieftaincy title is High Chief Hamilton Emeka Ezeonu, adding that the real Ikemba Nnobi is the one who is a member of the Igwe-In-Council.

Okoye maintained that as an Nnobi man, he has never heard anyone being addressed as Ikemba Nnobi except until the emergence of High Chief Hamilton Emeka Ezeonu. Although he recalled that prior to the conferment of Ikemba Nnobi special chieftaincy title on Hamilton Emeka Ezeonu, the argument was that it coincided with that of Seaman Petroleum whose chieftaincy title was Ike Idemili-North and South but has not taken Ike Nnobi traditional title. That in the end, High Chief Hamilton Emeka Ezeonu was coronated with the Ikemba Nnobi special chieftaincy title, adding that he was part and parcel of his coronation ceremony.

He however mentioned some of the community development projects that High Chief Hamilton Emeka Ezeonu has executed and still executing in Nnobi town to merit Ikemba Nnobi special chieftaincy title. Okoye said they include road construction, renovation and beautification of Nnobi general hospital, empowering Nnobi people in conjunction with the wife, renovated doctors’ quarters, built borehole water facilities for Nnobi people, built police solar power at Divisional Police Station Nnobi, to mention just a few. He said some of his ongoing projects include building of security office at General Hospital Nnobi, stressing that High Chief Hamilton Emeka Ezeonu remains the only authentic Ikemba Nnobi the people of Nnobi know, respect and adore because his philanthropy and service to humanity are second to none; that rather than address him as Ikemba Nnobi alone, it would be very appropriate and most befitting to call him Ikemba Worldwide.

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