THE OBUZO IN IBUSA: THE ARGUMENTS AND OUTRIGHT SUBMISION
By Austin N. Izagbo
I have followed with interest the many comments and various opinions shared on this platform on PLACE OF THE OBUZO, THE DIOKPA IGBUZO, THE OBUZO – IN- COUNCIL, THE IZU IGBUZO & THE ICDU.
I commend the zeal and passion with which the discourse is engaged. I however frown on the choice of words deployed by some of us in pushing their views. We do not need to trade insults to move our town forward. I however think that some of these opinions are either borne out of ignorance of SPIRIT & LETTERS OF THE MUCH TALKED ABOUT WHITE PAPER or outright mischief to keep our community in a state of continuous acrimony.
FACT ONE :- The Government of Delta State DID NOT IMPOSE the Obuzo institution on Igbuzo. The change from GERONTOCRACY to new MONACHICAL Leadership model WAS THE CHOICE OF IGBUZO COMMUNITY. The struggle and agitation for this change dates back several years culminating in the Government of Delta State’s involvement at finding a solution to this age long agitation with the SETTING UP OF THE OZEGBE COMMISSION OF ENQUIRY INTO THE TRADIONAL LEADERSHIP OF IBUSA IN 1992. This Commission SAT in Igbuzo for weeks HEARING VARIOUS PRESENTATIONS from concerned Igbuzo indigenes. TONS OF MEMORRANDA WERE PRESENTED FOT & AGAINST THE NEW CHANGE. Suffice it to acknowledge that this was FACILITATED BY DR. JOHN ANAZA of blessed memory, who was a key figure in the Ibru Administration then . Unfortunately this Government couldn’t get to publishing its position on the OZEGBE Commission before the Military Coup of 1983 that truncated that Govt.
Subsequent Govt. Administrations in Delta did nothing on that subject until 1995 when the Ibrahim Kefas came on board and fortunately had another Igbuzo in that Administration – yours sincerely Austin Izagbo.
Igbuzo again leveraged on their son in Government to RESSURRATE THE DEMAND FOR LEADERSHIP CHANGE IN IBUSA using the auspices of the DR. GODWIN NWABUEZE LED ICDU WORLDWIDE NEC. network. A FRESH MEMORANDUM OF RRQUEST FOR THE OBUZOR INSTITUTION WAS SIGNED BY THE THEN DIOKPA OGNUZO. THE ODOGWU.THE UWOLO .THE IYASE ( Izase Okonicha who signed this request is still alive today ), THE DIOKPAS OF OUR TEN QUARTERS/ VILLAGES and the then IKWELE IGBUZO.
Brethren. there is therefore nothing in the White Paper that was not Government acceptance of “the Ibusa Request “. For emphasis please let’s note that a GOVT WHITE PAPER IS LITERALLY A GOVT’s ACCETANCE OR DENIAL OF A GIVEN REQUEST PUT BEFORE THE STATE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL FOR DISCUSSION AND APPROVAL. ( put figuratively, it is a Government’s position on a given request like our case in point ). This position of Government becomes law upon its being Gazetted.
Please see the following Government Documents on this issue :-
1) THE OZEGBE COMMISSION OF ENQUIRY ON IBUSA TRADITIONAL ADMINISTRATION.(1992)
2) THE ICDU MEMORRANDUM/ REQUEST FOR THE OBUZOR INSTITUTION.(1995)
3) THE DELTA STATE GOVT WHITE PAPER ON THE OBUZOR INSTITUTION OF IBUSA (1995)
4) THE ENABLING LAWS ON THE OBUZO INSTITUTION :-
DELTA STATE LAWS OF NIGERIA – (a) nò 6 of 1995.
(b) nò 7 of 1995
(c) nò 8 of 1995
(d) nò 9 of 1995.
ALL OF THESE ARE IN THE PUBLIC DOMMAIN AND I URGE US TO BE BETTER INFORMED OF THIS PROCCESS IN ORDER TO ARTICULATE OUR VIEWS FACTUALLY.
WHAT THEN ARE THE AREAS OF CONFLICT ?
1) THE PLACE OF THE OBUZO ……… The OBUZO is the PRESCRIBED AUTHORITY and TRADITIONAL RULER OF IBUSA. See First Schedule Delta State Traditional Rulers & Chief Edict (1979) as amended …”Delete Diokpa Ibusa and Replace with Obuzo Ibusa…(Specifically as Clan Head or Prescribed Authority) with clearly defined functions.
2) STATUS OF DIOKPA IGBUZO …..
The REPLACED THE Diokpa Ibusa ad Clan Head BUT Provided him with some specific functions that are strictly CUSTOMARY ie setting of dates for traditional festivals and rites like IWAJI & IFE JI OKU. This function equally cascades down to the Diokpa Ogbes for such functions as regards IWU , OLOR. INE etc.
The law empowers the DIOKPA IGBUZO to convene ” IZU IBUSA. THE PARLIAMENT OF THE PEOPLE ” but with War Lord i.e. Odogwu, Uwolo or Iyase to Chairman such meetings ( This is as against the old order of Onu Diokpa )……
I do not know of the last time Igbuzo held AN IZU IGBUZO This aberration was discussed at the last ICDU National Conference at Igbuzo on the 31st of March 2018. This was a Conference that had in attendance the Diokpa Igbuzo, Iyase of Igbuzo, the Ikwele, Delegates from the 23 branches of the ICDU Worldwide, the President General of the ICDU Women Wing, Special Delegates that encompassed the Creme de la Creme of our community , the Igbuzo Youth Council. Igbuzo Students Association and even the Clergy. We had two distinguished Rev. Fathers of Igbuzo indigene in attendance. The Iyase in particular led the discussion on THE NEED TO CONVENE AN IZU IGBUZO in compliance of the law. Little wonder therefore that this issue became of the focal points of ICDU CONFERENCE COMMUNIQUE. The Communiqué was duly and respectively delivered to His Highness the Obuzo of Igbuzo, the Diokpa Igbuzo, the Uwolo, the Iyase, the Ikwele all the Diokpas of our ten Ogbes all the ICDU Branches. Ibusa Clubs & Societies the Ibusa Think Tank and all our Professional groups. To each of the COMMUNIQUE was attached a copy of the much talked about White Paper with an appeal to all and sundry to please lend support to The Diokpa of Ibusa, Onowu , Plus Nwanze who after many years of dual or triple recognition of Diokpas of Ibusa depending on the side of divide that unfortunately bedeviled our town in the last 25years had the good fortune through the instrumentalist of The Think Tank, the ICDU , and other peace loving Igbuzo stakeholders, was then and still is the sole recognised Diokpa Igbuzo by general concensus with the withdrawal of other claimants to that God given status.
This situation of near achievement of peace in Igbuzo, short of the conveyance of the Izu Igbuzo possibly propelled our revered Diokpa Igbuzo to call for the Izu Igbuzo of 7th July 2018 that I believe has triggered off these concerns and comments.
I WILL COMMENT ON THIS MEETING IN MY NEXT CONTRIBUTION BUT PERMIT ME TO ADDRESS A FEW OF OTHER SORE POINTS.
DIOKPA Igbuzo’s WELFARE
The Diokpa Igbuzo hitherto, like other Gazzetted Rulers in the state was on the PAY ROLL OF THE STATE ; but this new dispensation the law provides for payment of monthly stipends to the Diokpa by the Palace as the Office of the Obuzor is now paid by the State. Consequent upon this. the law enjoin the Diokpa Igbuzo to convene the IZU ANI ” Not less than three times in the year during which the Obuzor is by the law to deliver , “a State of the Community affairs at least ones in a year” . The follow of communication is for the War Lord who chairman’s and presides over the IZU IGBUZO to convey the necessary decisions of the Parliament (Izu Igbuzo ) to the Palace through the Obuzo – In – Council which has the Obuzo as Chairman.
4) THE OBUZO IN COUNCIL. ……. The law empowers an 18 Membership Council clearly defined ……. Obuzo ….Chairman
Omu …… Member
0ne Representative from each of the ten Ogbes in Igbuzo to be elected or appointed by each Ogbe.
The Obuzo to appoint one special member as Secretary of the Council. ( I DOUBT IF THIS BODY HAS EVER FUNCTIONED AS PROVIDED BY THE LAW ).
Dr. Austin Izagbo, the President-General of Ibusa Community Development Union (ICDU) writes from Lagos