By Izunna Okafor, Awka
The Governor Chukwuma Soludo-led Anambra State Government has again warned Mr. Augustin Chukwuezugo Ndigwe (popularly known as Uzu Awka) not to dare celebrate new yam festival as the traditional ruler of Awka.
The Governor gave the warning through a statement that went viral on Sunday, October 1, 2023, signed by the State Commissioner for Information, Mr. Paul Nwosu, and in in which he also warned Mr. Ndigwe to stop parading himself as the traditional ruler of Awka kingdom, as there is a government-recognized monarch in the community, whom had already officiated the community’s new yam festival for the year.
The statement also warned that the state government would not hesitate to sanction the impostor according to the relevant laws of Anambra State, if he goes on to parade himself as the Awka monarch.
The statement read in full: “It has come to the attention of Anambra State Government that one Augustin Chukwuezugo Ndigwe alias Uzu Awka is still parading himself as the authentic traditional ruler of Awka. Not only that, he is also taking steps to perform one of the major harvest season’s traditional rites known as New Yam Festival or “Iwa ji” of the Awka people, thereby threatening the peace and tranquility of the town. The State Government will not tolerate this.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the State Government wishes to state emphatically that the only recognized Traditional Ruler of Awka is His Royal Highness, Igwe Obi Gibson Nwosu, Eze Uzu II of Awka whose recognition by the State Government has not been withdrawn and he is the only one empowered by section 15 of the Traditional Rulers Law of Anambra State 2007 to preside over such festivals or carry out any of the functions of a traditional ruler in Awka. It is a criminal offence for any other person to do so by virtue of section 20 of the Traditional Rulers Law of Anambra State 2007
“The said Augustin Ndigwe is not the recognized Traditional ruler of Awka and should henceforth desist from parading and portraying himself as the Traditional Ruler of Awka or attempting to usurp the rights of the legitimate and duly recognized Traditional Ruler, His Royal Highness, Igwe Obi Gibson Nwosu.
“Any such unlawful act in any part of Anambra State would not be condoned by the Anambra State Government and the State will not hesistate to sanction the impostor according to the relevant laws of Anambra State.”
Meanwhile, this reporter, Izunna Okafor recalled that the Governor had also issued the same press statement (word to word) to the same self-acclaimed monarch, September 10, 2022, after which he (Ndigwe) still continues to parade himself as the traditional ruler of Awka till date; hence the questions: What has happened one year after? And, to what extent has government backed up this warning with actions?