THE STORM ON SOME TRADITIONAL STOOLS IN IKA LAND

There can be no cohabitation of people within a geographical aggregation without a typical way of life. This is what history and experience has taught us. Society is a collection of certain persons, perhaps of uncommon origin who cohabit in some particular geographical space over a long period of time and fashioning for themselves, specific or general ways of doing some things and in consensus, developing certain codes of conduct and manners of reprimanding and punishing deviance. What is imperative to note here is that the people that make up a community subsist together over a period of time, and they act in concert on certain issues. The laws that guide communities are such that evolve over a long period of time and which have been adopted to suit their purposes and sort their problems. It is therefore mandatory that as a freeborn of any community, one must make him or her self susceptible to control and amenable to the rules. There cannot be a choice in the matter, else, those tested and accepted laws of the people, held sacrosanct over a period of time becomes a mockery of itself.
The Chinese man can easily be distinguished from a typical American man by simple virtue of their physical appearance, their mode of dressing, language, ways of greeting, types and choice of food, some ethos and social norms. These are all attributes of their diverse origin, background and tradition which they hold dear to heart but which were possibly not part of their establishment. The fact does not arise for any of these people to challenge such traditions, more so, if like the Monarchical families of Britain or the Orientals one is born with the revered blue blood. It must be established here that Africa holds its Royal stool in very high esteem despite the vicious albeit surreptitious attack by different religions, including Christianity and Islam. In Nigeria, it is easy to differentiate a man from the Northern part of the country from others from the West or East, all by the notable differences in their choice of religious practices, language and mode of dressing; irrespective of the recognisable diffusions and exceptions.
From pre-historic and pre-colonial eras, nations and communities have had different ways of governance and social administration. Such systems range from gerontocracy to oligarchy to monarchy, feudalism, autocracy and to democracy, to name just a few. In each type, there are peculiarities and expectations. In Africa, what was predominant was the monarchical rulership over communities. The Kings and Queens were born to royalty and accepted their fate in good plight. They were the true custodians of the peoples’ culture by virtue of their birth. They had no choice in this matter and would only be crowned when the time comes according to laid down rules and procedures. Such procedures had trappings of rituals in accompaniment so as to have the Obi or traditional ruler fortified against all evil people and to guide him against demonic influences. The stool of the King is an embodiment of tradition in governance and is held in reverence and awe. Unfortunately, the people are beset with emerging anomalous situations across Ika nation in recent times, where not only Christian religion but Westernization is making mockery of some Royal stools.
It is part of the requirements and expectations of the people that when an Obi is to be installed, he has to pass through certain rituals; He also has to abide by those rules and regulations surrounding his stool. The acceptance to become a king hardly leaves him with the option of picking which of the rules to accept and which to jettison. For instance, to become a Reverend father in the Catholic church, someone must mandatorily pass through a seminary and take the Oath of celibacy. This is a hard choice to make, we know, but that is the rule of the order. In like manner, if nature places anyone in the blue-blood league, it becomes fundamentally imperative that he or she must to a large extent abide by the requirements of Royalty. It is irreconcilable that on the one hand you want to be a king and on the other, you want to bend the rules and tradition of the people to suit your whims and caprices. This is the root of the storm that has beset Abavo, Agbor and Igbodo kingdoms in Ika land. You cannot be more catholic than the Pope, neither can an embodiment of the tradition of a given people decide unilaterally or by fiat to change processes and rules he met, no matter how much power he thinks he wields.
To become a King is naturally mandatory especially in Ika land as the practice dictates that a First son would in the eventuality of an incumbent Obis demise would automatically become installed. However. if a given Obi’s to be has become too sophisticated or over religionized that he cannot bring himself to rule, then he could perpetually opt for Regency in representational capacity or abdicate and allow the people to consult and choose another king. Part of the larger problem is that of the King betrothing a virgin for a wife to beget another Obi. This is not negotiable and history has revealed that any Obi who vitiates this rule, often set ambers of discord alight as has been shown in some of the existing cases of succession struggle. Another aspect of the culture which has kept mouths wagging is that of marrying in his own stock. My question is what is, wrong in that? The Obi of a given people must be proud enough to make his own subject his first wife. this does not preclude other women from his harem, afterall, the woman who must marry a King must first know that he is entitled to more than one wife. If the Obi made a mistake while in school by promising his girlfriend marriage, and unfortunately that girl is not of his clan, then the girl either accepts to play the second fiddle in order to respect the tradition of the people, find her way, or marry the King against the wishes of the people and face the dare consequences. Not even the attempt by some of these Obis to hide under the cloak of Christianity can obliterate the looming consequences. If those consequences do not happen in his time, definitely his posterity will reap the unripe fruit. God has made it categorical even in his teaching that what belongs to Caesar must be given to Caesar and that which belongs to God should go to Him. There can be no case of serving God and mammon at the same time. The consequence of such ambivalence on the people and their tradition is too grave to be over looked. A child cannot show his father the boundaries of their farmland; it has always been the other way round. The Obi is the chief custodian of the tradition of the people. When he allows other imported cultures to override his, then he has succeeded in backstabbing the people. It is sheer pettiness to want to approbate and reprobate at the same time. The Obi does not dictate to the king makers how he wants to be crowned. There are rules and it is only imperative that an intending King abide by them or take the hard option out.
It is high time the errors on monarchical stools are corrected; else they will fester and grow tap roots that may never be easy to uproot. Our young Obis should not rubbish the dignity and majesty attached to their inherited offices. The moment an Obi begins to involve himself in political matters, he is inviting disgrace to the stool. Let us take a cue from the ways and manners of the Oba of Benin. There is no doubt that modernity and Christianity are catching up with a lot of things, but the tradition of a people must to a large extent be kept sacrosanct. If an Obi decides to become a Pastor, then he should step aside as he has lost the temerity to maintain the royal stool. Let us not wallow in self deceit, thereby putting the continuity of our tradition in terrible jeopardy.

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