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Kingship Tussle: Massive protest rocks Ewu as indigenes accuse Delta govt of manipulation



By Peters Monday, Abuja

The ancient Ewu Kingdom in Ughelli South local government area of Delta State has been disrupted with massive protest following the sudden announcement by Delta State government that Clement Oghenerukevwe Ikolo is now the Ovie (traditional ruler) of Ewu Kingdom contrary to the earlier decision of the kingdom.

Angered by the development, the Ahavwa Kingmakers Council, the body saddled with the responsibility of crowning kings in Ewu Kingdom and indigenes of the kingdom have taken to the streets with massive protest to express their dissatisfaction, describing the announcement as vindictive and unacceptable.

Congress learnt that the controversial announcement and recognition of Clement Oghenerukevwe by Delta State government is coming 24 months after the people of Ewu collectively and legally chose and crowned His Royal Majesty Bernard Ivumevwerhaye Awarieta, as the 28th Ovie of Ewu Kingdom.

The Ahavwa Kingmakers emphasised that the procedure for the emergence of a new king in Ewu Kingdom is clearly spelt out in the people’s culture, tradition and edict, and never shrouded in secrecy.

According to the kingmakers, HRM Bernard Ivumevwerhaye Awarieta emerged as the 28th Ovie of Ewu kingdom following a transparent, strict and rigorous screening exercise that eight persons actively participated in. “This was followed by the crowning of HRM Bernard Ivumevwerhaye Awarieta as the 28th Ovie of Ewu kingdom”.

While admonishing the Delta State government under the leadership of HE, RT. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori not to cause unnecessary crisis in the hitherto peaceful Ewu community, the Ahavwa Kingmakers Council, called on the latter to do the needful by withdrawing the cruel announcement, restore the status quo, and respect the revered traditional institution of Ewu kingdom as regards to the choosing and installation of a new Ovie (king).

Speaking to newsmen during the protest, the Osuvie of the Ewu kingdom, Olorogun (Chief) Michael C. Ohwofaria (JP), expressed disappointment at the vexatious manner the Delta State government damningly imposed a non-indigene on the peace-loving people of the Ewu kingdom, even as he queried the government as to what standard it adopted in arriving at the obnoxious decision to spite the people of Ewu Kingdom by imposing a foreigner on them as a king.

Lamenting the sad development, Olorogun  Ohwofaria said, “We are gathered here to peacefully protest against the wickedness of the Delta State government against Ewu kingdom, the person recognized by the government is not a native of Ewu kingdom, he is not a resident of the town, he is from Olomu kingdom.”

Speaking further, the Osuvie of Ewu kingdom stated, “I’m an executive member of the committee that screened the contestants for the position of the king of Ewu kingdom, Eight persons were screened and the person that passed the screening of the committee is Chief Benard Evumevwerhaye Awarieta. Subsequently, he was crowned as the Ovie of Ewu kingdom, and his name was forwarded to the state government for necessary actions.

“Three days ago the communities of Ewu kingdom were ‘bombarded’ with bad news that the state government has announced that it would  present Staff-Of-Office to another person who was screened out of the Kingship contest on the basis that he is not from Ewu kingdom, while the person who passed the screening and collectively accepted by the people of Ewu kingdom,  and had been crowned by the kingmaker of Ewu kingdom in line with the tradition and culture of the kingdom is being denied his right to Staff-Of-Office.

Chief Ohwofaria sternly warned those fueling the illegality, saying, “You cannot use another kingdom’s son to rule another kingdom, it is unacceptable, and we will resist it with the last drop of our blood; we will continue this protest if the government of Delta State fails to discontinue with its wicked decisions of imposing a king on Ewu people.

Lending their voice to the protest, the duo of Chief Christiana Ofuedje, the Okobaro R’ehweya (woman leader) of Ewu kingdom, and Mr. Christopher Onurhe berated the Delta State government for hurriedly taking an unpopular decision targeted at desecrating the royal institution of Ewu people and brazenly  enthroning illegality in the kingdom.

They posited, “In line with the Ewu revered custom, norms and tradition,  we’ve  officially chosen and crowned Chief Benard Awarieta as the Ovie of Ewu kingdom and it’s by that collective action and decision we resolutely stand.”
Continuing,  they implored the governor Sheriff Oborevwori led Delta State government to as a matter of urgent importance, present “Staff Of Office” to the crowned king, HRM Bernard Ivumevwerhaye Awarieta.

Also speaking, former Permanent Secretary in the defunct Bendel State, Olorogun (Barr) Akpoevwrhe Edudje and member of the Ewu Kingmaker family, upbraided the Delta State government for wanting to set a bad precedence that would not see the light of day.

Corroborating the stand of the Osuvie of Ewu kingdom, Olorogun Edudje said, “Chief Benard Awarieta was the king elect and crowned as the 28th king of Ewu kingdom on the 30th of May 2021, in line with the extant traditional laws of the Ahavwa ancestral home. Since then he has been performing his role successfully and to fullest as the king of Ewu kingdom.”

He chided those stirring up chaos in Ewu kingdom, saying, “Delta State government is unwittingly setting fire on Ewu kingdom with attendant great disruption coming to Ewu and Ughelli south council as a whole.

“For purpose of clarity, Ahavwa family – the king makers of Ewu kingdom crowned only one person – HRM Benard Evumevwerhaye Awarieta, it didn’t crown another person to be a king of the Ewu kingdom.”

When contacted for response on the ensuing impasse, HRM Benard Evumevwerhaye Awarieta,  expressed disappointment at the development, wondering why the seat of the Ovie of Ewu kingdom should be in contention. He recalled that the screening process through which he emerged as the Ovie of Ewu kingdom was very transparent and acceptable to the people of Ewu kingdom. Speaking further, he noted that while he reigned as the king, some faceless rivals had been spewing troubles and wanting to arm-twist the government of Senator Ifeanyi Okowa into discrediting his Kingship but to no avail.

He maintained that at the height of the antagonism sponsored by some persons in cahoot with some government officials, a committee headed by Chief Edwin Uzor JP was set up by the Okowa administration to find out the truth about his Kingship. Then after diligent investigations into the process of his emergence as the king of Ewu kingdom, the committee, against all odds, issued its report and recommended to the then governor Ifeanyi Okowa that Staff-of-Office should be conferred on him. He stated that while the implementation of the committee’s recommendation, another committee was set up the then Governor Okowa headed by his Deputy Governor, Barr. Kingsley Otuaru whose recommendations supported the report of Chief Uzor led committee, and the then Deputy Governor recommended to Exco that Staff of Office be presented to HRM. Bernard Awarieta having satisfied all extant laws and traditional rights before the end of that administration.

He further stated that while hoping for the presentation of Staff-Of-Office to him by the new administration led by Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori, he was shocked to hear that the person who was in 3rd position with another person during the Kingship screening process/election had been announced by the Delta state government as the Ovie of Ewu kingdom, purportedly to plant a stranger on the good and peace-loving people of Ewu kingdom.

HRM Benard Evumevwerhaye Awarieta, called on governor Sheriff Oborevwori to withdraw the pronouncement in the interest of fair play, justice and equity, stating that until that is done, the people of Ewu kingdom would not relent in asking the government of Delta State do the right thing, but not to enthrone illegality.