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The Obuzor Of Ibusa

The Obuzor is the king of Ibusa and it is located 6 miles from Asaba, the present capital of Delta State, Nigeria. The title of "Obuzor" means "the first" or "number one" by the meaning of this title it may literarily be interpreted to be the number one citizen of Ibusa. Kingship is not strange to Ibusa as at some point in the history of the town, several sons of the town had been known to declare themselves the King of the town, though using elements of force to achieve this feat. The self-declaration of Ezesi as the King of Ibusa claiming to derive his authority from the then Oba of Benin is best memorable to history.

According to tradition, a coup was plotted against him by his chiefs because of the frequent interference of his wife as the tradition of the town forbids the involvement of women in the traditional affairs of the town. King Ezesi was said to have fled to Ejeme-Unor, an Anioma community in Delta State , and never returned, though his subjects would, notably the last "Ohene" the Chief Priest of Oboshi River who died in January 2009, and has since been buried. Thus the Ibusa community has tasted monarchical system of government as well as republican or the typical stateless nature of the Igbo. Gerontocracy is also not strange to the people of Ibusa as the political system by which the oldest man in the community becomes the ruler has also been with the people.

This system was in place until the Ibusa Community Development Union (ICDU) devised the Obuzor political system for the town. The introduction of the Obuzor institution became one of the most controversial and turbulent period in the modern history of the town, for the reason I have pointed out in series of my previous write-ups. First, monarchical system of government as relatively strange in the modern history of the town should be counted responsible, second, the crafters of the institution in my opinion did not do a fine and exhaustive job because it was the institution was created in the manner that the Diokpa and Obuzor have to share certain kingly responsibilities, it is in this instance that who presides over the Izu Ibusa between the Diokpa and Obuzor remains an issue yet unresolved till today, thus the Obuzor institution is a fine but not thorough idea. Third, some people blame what they term the overbearing character and nature of the present Obuzor on his subjects to be the reason of controversy still trailing the stool. There are still a number of indigenes who maintain that the idea of Obuzor was to assist the Diokpa and not to rein as a new king of the town, they call this institution "Onu Diokpa"

Whatever Obuzor means to different people, the institution by the decision of the Supreme Court of Nigeria 6-9 of 1995 and created by the legal notices of 6-9, Edict No. 1 of 1996 and official document has come to be recognized as the King of Ibusa by both the Delta State Government and Federal Republic of Nigeria. What it now means for the people is sit down and fashion out a peaceful and practicable means by which the community will be moved developmentally.

As noted earlier in this write-up, the Ibusa Community Development Union (ICDU) is the architect of Obuzor following the popular belief in some quarters that the town was facing challenges in traditional leadership.

By 1995, it was agreed that with gerontocracy political system of government then in place in the town, the Diokpa was too senile and infirmed to attend to modern businesses, it was also reported that many "Onu Diokpas" (Diokpa's messengers) availed themselves of opportunities to make decisions on behalf of Diokpa. Some of these "Onu Diokpas" may have also become more influential than the Diokpa whom they were to represent.

The Ibusa community Development Union (ICDU) then took it upon himself to set up a committee to evolve a political leadership for the town in which the following were members:

The Umuekea Family Union, Lagos Branch should be given tremendous credit for the roles it played in making the Obuzor institution a reality in the community. However, the generality of Ibusa indigenes should be encouraged to continue working towards the advancement and possible transformation of the institution for we know that even the oldest and longest monarchical institutions in the country are not without certain faults.

Today, HRH Obi (Professor) Louis Chelunor Nwaoboshi is the Obuzor of Igbuzo, as stated here he has come to remain as the paramount ruler of the community by the irreversible and irrevocable judgment of the Supreme Court of Nigeria which so recognizes him, and we can do nothing to upturn it but constructively work towards the betterment of the institution. After all, like the children of Israel under Prophet Samuel, we requested for a king from the Delta State Government and got one.

The traditional administration of the Ibusa community is recognized as thus:



Obuzor in council

Please take note that by the ruling of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, the three Otus were autonomatically transformed to ruling houses, and emergence of Obuzor must rotate according to among these Otus based on seniority i.e. Otu Odogwu, Otu Uwolo and Otu Iyase. The present Obuzor is from Otu Odogwu, and in accordance with the said judgment, the Otu Uwolo will eligibly produce the next Obuzor for the community and it shall be the turn of Otu Iyase.   

By Emeka Esogbue 


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