Igburu clan, situated at North East axis of Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area (aka ONELGA) by the bank of sombreiro river in Orashi region of the Niger Delta. The Ibe clan comprises twelve (12) autonomous communities.
Before the civil war in Nigeria between 1967 through 1970, Igburu clan was like a sheep without shepherd until soon after the civil war when it was deemed necessary to create Eze-Igburu Stool and the incumbent was his blessed memory late Chief S.O. Ogwe, who hails from Obigwe community as the then headquarters of Ali-Ogba, where the founding fathers of Ogbaland first settled before exploration and establishment of other places of abode, which constitutes what is known today, as Ogba Kingdom.
Since 1971 when the Eze Igburu was created, Chief Ogwe was the ‘Eze Igburu of Igburu’ clan until he felt victim to the cold hands of death on April, 2002 after over thirty (30) years on the stool. Of course, Igburu clan mourned for the departed monarch for over 12 calendar months.
However, to fill the vacuum already created, a new course was chanted by Igburu citizens at the autumn of 2004. Searching for the incumbent was politically inclined and contestable.
After normal electoral processes, two personalities emerged from Amah community of Igburu clan in ONELGA. Precisely, on December 18, 2005 election to the Eze Igburu Stool was duly conducted at Omoku, headquarters of Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Council between Chief Sunny A. Eleba and Chief Innocent A. Ugada respectively. In fact, the battle was likened to a drama of two giants.
Normally, according to the tenents of election in a democratic system, a winner would emerge. In this circumstance Chief Sunny Eleba emerged and mounted the throne of Eze Igburu as determined by the electorate and designated Eze Igburu 11 after publication of results.
Traditionally, the official coronation was performed at Obigwe, the ancestral headquarters of Igburu clan on February 18, 2006 by the most elderly of Igburu clan vicinity in the person of late Elder (Okniye) Nwobite of Elieta community in the presence of Igburu representatives from the 12 autonomous communities.
Pertinently, the newly installed Eze Igburu lived to pilot Igburu affairs but for a short while. HRH, Eze S.A. Eleba joined his predecessors to the great beyond on Wednesday eve, June 10, 2009 after a protracted illness at the St. Patrick Hospital in Port Harcourt. The demise of the Eze Igburu has plunged Igburu clan into mourning and has equally created another vacuum which may be technically difficult to fill.
Controversially, not too long after the installation of the late Eze Igburu 11, his contemporary at the conducted election of December 18, 2005 was equally installed as Eze-Ali Igburu of same Igburu clan in the Palance of Oba of Ogbaland at Omoku, which was publicly pronounced on December 14, 2007. This was astonishing to well reasoning citizens of the area. Nevertheless, the contradiction created is that the installed Eze-Ali Igburu also hails from Amah community, and was well supported by same Igburu citizens.
In ‘Things fall Apart’ Prof. Chinua Achebe observed that the people of Umuofia could no longer act as one because the Whiteman has set confusion in their midst and things began to fall apart as the centre could not hold firm. This is the true nature of Igburu clan for installation of multiple leaders created by ignorance, socio-economic and political instability.
At this juncture, it behooves one to pose whether Igburu is weeping for its departed monarchs or weeping for inconsistency in leadership nomenclature and dichotomy in a Kingdom or Ethnic Nationalities that has existed as an entity for centuries? If the latter is the focus, then there is urgent need for appropriate and adequate reorientation and education in the light of this thought provoking issue at stake. In the present dispensation, Igburu clan is in a fist soliciting for enhancing solution.
Without mincing words, it has been asserted philosophically that ‘twenty lumps of yam is too much for a pepper soup’. Igburu clan cannot be tossed here and there because of egocentricism and malice to the detriment of the populace.
Conclusively, one wish to beckon the Rivers State Government and particularly the Ministry in Charge of Local Government and chieftaincy Affairs, the Council of traditional rulers to expedite action and set a machinery in motion to streamline these ugly issues ravaging Igburu clan particularly and Ogba Kingdom in general. How long shall Igburu continue to weep for injustices and who will bail the cat from the socio-economic, political and cultural dungeon!
G.N. Ominyanwa, Public Affairs Analyst, resides in Port Harcourt..