Nando, an agrarian community in Anambra East Local Government Area of Anambra state, was thrown into crisis early 2020 following the transition of their monarch, HRH Igwe Nnalue Nnaba Aghaeze to the world beyond. Some capitalized on the opportunity to divide the kingdom and take away the throne from the family or kindred originally destined to wear the crown.
The journey started in January, when the community reached a census to crown a traditional ruler barely one year after the transition of their late monarch, HRH Igwe Nnalue Nnaba Aghaeze.
Aghaeze who joined his ancestors in 2020 after a nine-year reign, was succeeded by his cousin, HRH Igwe Francis Ibi Mmadu Emesim Aghaeze, a 65 year old businessman and farmer.
Unlike other climes where the stool rotates among villages, the ancient kingdom rooted in culture and tradition inherited from their progenitor, has a hereditary Igweship stool.
But unlike in some places where the hereditary system favours only the direct children of the demise, Nando traditional institution is centered around Umuezeora Agbudu kindred (family) recognized as the first son of Iguedo, the wife of Iru, the founder of Nando.
The eldest of the family, Chief Boniface Nnaba, who is above 80 year old, whose turn it was to succeed the late monarch, had declined and passed the offer to Francis.
“When I was approached to succeed my late brother, I declined the offer because I am a Christian. This is because there are some traditional rituals whoever accepts the crown must perform which is against my faith. The king is to equally act as chief priest of common Nando deities. I am not ready to do that,” Udealor noted.
Igwe Francis, by virtue of the throne, has the mantle to perform Iba no ogbo (Recognition of age grades), celebration of the life of Eze Nando, as well as to officiate celebrations of about four significant deities in Nando as chief priest.
The new monarch was crowned by leaderships of two other exalted institutions in the community, which are also hereditary in nature, Chief Ozodigbo Akwobi, the Okpalaeze Nando, and Chief Pius Anwobu, the Okpala Ezue of Nando.
According to Ozodigbo, the three oversee the affairs of the community in diverse ways, officiating public deities and other festivities, personally or by proxy, while acting as checks and balances with purposes of maintaining peace, law, order, unity and progress of Nando.
“We bestowed him with the crown and the staff of office as Nwaeze which is now known as Igwe Nando. All our positions are hereditary offices, usually headed by the eldest of our respective kindred. We work together for the common good of Nando. The thrones are too sacred that anyone does not merit them or that takes them by force is usually struck dead by God. Once it is your turn, you shall be contacted to come to assume the office. If you decline, it shall be taken over by the next person following you by age,” he explained.
To Chief Pius Anwobu, the Okpala Ezue of Nando, who advised the new monarch to tow the pact of peace and justice, assured that the community would officially write to the Transition Committee Chairman of Anambra East LGA for onward presentation to the state government for issuance of certificate of recognition.
“One special thing about our traditional stools is that once it is your turn, you shall be contacted to come and assume the responsibilities. It is not what you fight or campaign for. I was at Abuja when I was called upon. The eldest of Umuezeora rejected the throne due to his Christian faith and it was taken over by the next available person. In my own case, I appointed someone else to perform other traditional rites, while I officiate those not contrary to my Christian faith like crowning of the Igwe and others,” Anwobu added.
The retired civil servant, who praised the Nando rich culture, said the three institutions exist to resolve issues affecting the community and her people collectively and individually, expressed optimism that the reign of Igwe Francis would usher in a new dawn.
An illustrious son of the soil, Chief Emejulu Okpalaukwu Okpalaezeukwu, averred that the unique hereditary traditional institutions were instrumental to their peaceful coexistence and progress, which according to him, were second to none in Africa.
“Nando is a spiritual kingdom. There was a time some persons tried to destroy it but they were unsuccessful. The various institutions are equally recognized by our constitution. Our kingdom is not the type anyone can abuse. People have tried in the past to even usurp power or throne from Igwe but were frustrated. Once you declare intention to run for the Igweship throne, you shall be truck dead,” Okpalaezeukwu maintained.
A cabinet member of the new monarch, Chief Emeka Asike, who incidentally is the President General, Omambala cultural centre in Texas, US, said he would support the community leadership to reposition their culture so it can attract international and local recognitions.
“I call on our Igwe to tow the line of peace. I will not stop in helping my people in a little way I can. I and my groups, will help him to succeed. The three arms of Nando; Eze Nando, Okpalaeze ukwu and Okpalaeze Nando will never be relegated. As a cabinet member and a titled man, I am working to see a time when ozo title ceremony or institution shall be greater than Knighthood,” Asike stated.
In their separate interviews, some community leaders, Prince Jokin Osita and Mr. Ucheora Anwuobi, advised those aggrieved over the outcome of the Igweship coronation to shield their sword and support the new monarch to move Nando forward, praying for God’s wisdom to guide and lead him to a successful reign.
“It was a great news that after the tussle to the Igweship throne, our people gave peace chance to reign. I wish the new Igwe successful tenure. I am begging all those probably aggrieved that the throne did not come to them to bear with the fate and join in moving Nando forward. Our Igwe needs our supports not distractions,” Ucheora added.
HRH Igwe Francis Ibi Mmadu Emesim Aghaeze, while assuring Nando of peace and harmony, stressed that his reign shall champion good relationship between the community and the three tiers and alms of the government
“Power belongs to God. When my four elders passed the throne to me, I was instructed by god not to allow it pass by. It is an act of God. I will never disappoint him and my people for the opportunity granted unto me to serve as Igwe. My reign shall bring peace, love, unity and development in Nando. I will make sure that Nando is giving adequate support to our governor, Chief Willie Obiano and whoever succeeds him. We will also support the Local Government and Federal Government to bring development to us. ” he concluded.