By Ononye VC
The recent announcement by the family of former Nigerian Ambassador to the United Nations,Mr Arthur Mbanefo of their intention to celebrate “the centenary of the Odu-Osodi title in the family” including a centenary thanksgiving service,has been debunked and viewed with serious concern by the Onitsha Traditional Council,Ime-Obi Onitsha,warning the family to desist from such claims.
It would be recalled that the former distinguished Nigerian Ambassador to the United Nations Mr Arthur Mbanefo took the Odu title after his forefathers but was sanctioned in 2004 by the Obi in Council under His Majesty Igwe Alfred Achebe,following alleged damage he was said to have inflicted on Onitsha sacred institution of monarchy during the reign of the late Obi Ofala Okagbue.The damage was not stated in the statement.
In a widely circulated statement signed by the Onowu – Iyasele Onicha, Chief Engr Okechukwu Ononye,it was recalled that the former Ambassador Nnabuenyi Arthur Mbanefo was duly divested of the esteemed position and title of Odu- Osodi of Onitsha on 9th July 2014 by His Majesty,Obi Nnaemeka Achebe CFR.
According to the statement, “the flyer(intended for the celebration)is,therefore misleading on two counts.Firstly,the Odu title in the Mbanefo family,which started in 1919,terminated in 2004 and did not last one hundred years as being claimed.Secondly,the notation of tenure of January 1995 to the present time under Arthur Mbanefo as Odu-Osodi 111 is false since he lost the title in 2004”.
” We are also aware that Ndichie titles are never exclusive to particular families and,definitely, not the Mbanefo family”the statement added.
The statement pointed out that the former Ambassador has not deemed it fit and proper to seek reconciliation with the Onitsha community for the alleged damage he inflicted on Onitsha sacred institution of monarchy during the reign of late Obi Ofala Okagbue.Rather he challenged the authority of the Obi of Onitsha in divesting him of the title in the courts of law and has not succeeded.
The statement further pointed out that the former Ambassador may celebrate the Centenary of his grandfather becoming Odu-Osodi in 1919 but that any impression that he remains an Ndichie Onicha,what more,Odu-Osodi is provocative and will not be tolerated.
The statement reminded Onitsha indigenes that the former Ambassador, “Nnabuenyi Arthur Mbanefo having not restored himself to a state of amity with the Onitsha community, remains under the sanction of Iso Aru (isolation)” warning that any indigene who fraternizes with him would be sanctioned by the Obi in Council.
In a brief telephone interview, a close aide to the Obi of Onitsha, Nnanyelugo Anionwu confirmed the development.
When asked if it did not infringe on the rights of association of the Mbanefos as provided in the Nigerian Constitution,another palace source who spoke on condition of anonymity said the statement was only to keep the records and history of Onitsha customs and tradition straight.
Trinitas had looked out for reactions from the Mbanefo family but none was forthcoming as at press time.
But the issue is now awash in the social media where some commentators are for and against the position of Onitsha Traditional Council.
Trinitas welcomes counter reaction from the family.
By Ononye VC