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As Prof. Chukwuemeka Ike Joins His Ancestors...... By Izunna Okafor

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By Izunna Okafor



It was Haruki Murakami who once said that death is not the opposite of life, but a part of it —an aphorism buttressed strongly by George Eliot's apothegm that "Our dead are never dead to us, until we have forgotten them."


It is on these long-standing witty sayings that the Nigerian literary community received the her first shocking news of 2020, that foremost Nigerian novelist, who was also the Traditional Ruler of Ndikelionwu Kingdom in Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra, Eze Prof. Chukwuemeka Ike has gone asleep.


The news which ushered in the dawn of the second Thursday of the year was hitherto faulted and scored a grapevine, to the credit of two points —the source from which it came, and the terminology with which it was broken. 


By way of reaction to the news, it was rightly argued that, in Igbo land, Traditional Rulers do not die. In other words, in Igbo land, it is wrong for one to say that a Traditional Ruler is dead; instead, one could say that the king has joined his ancestors, is sleeping, is resting, or has fallen asleep.


Secondly, no one is authorised to disclose such information (that the king is sleeping) except the affected community's cabinets or Council of Elders, in agreement with the members of the royal family or the ruling dynasty, as the case may be. 

Although, people, especially the closest relatives or community members may be aware that the king has fallen asleep, they won't dare disclose it or tattle over it, pending an authorised disclosure by the right source.


Little wonder why, when interviewed on the hideous development, a stakeholder from the Ndikelionwu Community, Prince Emma Okoli-Ijeoma said, “'As far as I am concerned as a member of the ruling house in this Ndikelionwu Ancient Kingdom, I am saying that Prof. Chukwuemeka Ike Eze Ndikelionwu, the 11th of Ndikelionwu is not yet dead!

In our tradition, nobody opens his mouth to tell outsiders that the Traditional Ruler is dead. You don’t say it because according to the customary law of Anambra state, king doesn’t die!


"If at all there is anything of that nature, one would say the king has joined his ancestors. It is not the duty of anybody to tell outsiders that the king is dead. It is after the royal family has met and agreed before such thing would be announced. Not just a rifraf would come and say what he doesn’t know!


"So I am saying that as far as the royal family is concerned, we have not announced anything to the public, that is, if something really happened."


Also, in most cases, the Elder In Council may not even announce the news, except a replacement or heir is found, especially in a situation where the crown is rotational.


These formed the basis upon which the news of Prof. Chukwuemeka Ike joining his ancestors was held in the air on arrival.


Be it as it may, succeeding sunset and sunrise have unmasked and unearthed the rock.


As Nze Prof. Chukwuemeka Ike rests on in his ancestral home and palace, Ndikelionwu, literary enthusiasts, fans and some other stakeholders in the country have continued to register their feelings and pour their tributes to the legend.


Breaking the news, the Anambra State's Commissioner for Information and Public Enlightenment, Mr.  C-Don Adinuba said, "Goodnight, Prof Chukwuemeka Ike. We all drank from the fountain of The Bottled Leopard as students to assuage our curiousity for mystery. We were stunned by the shenanigans of Expo ’77 and thrilled, to no end, by Sunset at Dawn.


“As you join your ancestors, let’s pray you never stumble from The Chicken Chasers or undone by Conspiracy of Silence. Adieu, a great man of letters, a king who wore humility like a robe.”


On his own part, the Executive Governor of Anambra, H.E Chief Willie Obiano said, "I am saddened by the death of HRM Eze Chukwuemeka Ike. He was always a regal presence around us here, bringing his wealth of experience to bear on the deliberations of the Traditional Rulers Council. We shall sorely miss him. But we shall also find strength and consolation in his exemplary life and the legacies he left for mankind through his literary works and stellar contributions to the traditional institution in Anambra State.”


Former PDP Presidential Candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar said, “I mourn one of Nigeria’s prolific novelists and traditional ruler of Ndikelionwu in Anambra State, H.R.H. (Prof.) Chukwuemeka Ike.


“He will be remembered for his classics: "Toads for Supper" and "Sunset at Dawn" among others. May he rest in peace."



In similar tones, other literary enthusiasts and concerned Nigerians have also bared their minds thematically on the development, ruefully registering their reactions to the news and their tributes for the legend, as collated below:


Denja Abdullahi, immediate past President of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA) says:


"Prof. Ike's death was sad all the same but it was not a shock because he was an old man. He was a contemporary of all other first generation of Nigerian writers and his death was like the end of an era. We could say that the last of the titans has gone home.  


Tributarily, Abdullahi said, "Prof. Chukwuemeka Ike was a productive writer of several novels with interesting stories and catchy titles. You could locate his works between the popular and literary fiction genre. He was a very good satirist of the human condition.I feel that he was not celebrated enough like some other people feel. It may be because of his self-effacing nature and unwillingness to indulge in needless literary and critical controversies.


"He has gone beyond just being a writer to contribute to the development of the Nigerian Book Industry through his Nigerian Book Foundation. He was always there anywhere you invite him to if it had to do with writing,writers and the books. 


"Prof Chukwuemeka Ike will live eternally in the minds of all of us through his evergreen stories of the foibles of man."



Mr. Oseloka Henry Obaze, a published author, poet and literary enthusiast says:


"The passing of HRM Prof. Chukwuemeka Ike, Eze Ndikelionwu is numbing.   He was an exceptional, gifted, resolute and most unassuming person.  I was privileged to be considered his friend and welcomed freely into his palace. He was chair of my book presentation in 2018. 


His tribute: "Eze Chukwuemeka Ike lived life fully and made enduring contributions to our educational system, literature, cultureand traditional institution. He motived many writers, even those who never met him personally. 


"He has immortalized his name and his footprints will linger for years to come.  May God grant him eternal rest and his dear wife HRM Bimpe Ike, the fortitude to bear the loss."



Okeke Chika Jerry, an author, publisher and literary arts promoter says:


"I was in deed shocked when I heard the sad news over the radio. I wished he stayed a bit longer so that this generation of ours will have tapped a lot more from his wealth of wisdom. 


"But I believe Professor Ike is not totally dead and he will never die completely because all his works are still breathing all over the world. "Rest in peace Papa ndi authors."



Odili Ujubuońu, award-winning author and literary enthusiast says: 


"This is a huge loss. Chukwuemeka Ike was a great inspiration to a lot of writers who came after him. The choice of subject matters he treated in his novels spoke a lot about the kind of man he was and the whole essence of his writing.


"He was never complex in his style and or his plot and that led us easily into the wonderful worlds he created. These worlds would live forever with us. Through them, we would keep remembering him. May his gentle and kind soul find eternal peace."


Reginald Chiedu Ofodile, author and international award-winning actor says:


"I received news of his demise with sighs. I'm told Professor Ike is asleep, which is a correct phrase to apply to a traditional ruler. His subsiding into sleep did not shock me. He lost his only child three years ago. It must have been a massive blow, and he was also in his late 80s."


Tribute: "Eze Ike was an engaging, fluent and satirical writer. He created fascinating characters and witty, wicked situations. I remember 'Sweetie' in TOADS FOR SUPPER, 'Peace Bozo' in THE CHICKEN CHASERS, 'Mrs Ikin' and 'Dr Okoro' in THE NAKED GODS... and many others.  I recall his books appeared under the FONTANA imprint, not the AFRICAN WRITERS' SERIES."



Prof. Sam Uzochukwu, Igbo Poet and Novelist says:


"Prof Ike's death is indeed a loss to the nation, particularly to the literary class.Though he lived to old age, death, particularly of an icon always evokes shock to the living; so I feel shocked by his death as his other admirers .


"Prof. Ike was among the respected writers, in the same class as Chinua Achebe, for which Umuahia Govt college was renowned. He produced novels that dealt with topical issues of his time. 


"Above all, Prof. Ike was a man imbued with tenacity of purpose. He never wavered on any issue he was convinced about. This quality of his was manifested when I worked with him, a few years ago, on an Igbo project for which we were appointed by the Anambra State Govt.

May the Lord grant him eternal rest, amen."





Untill he slept off, Eze Prof. Chukwuemeka Ike (born on April 23, 1931) was award-winning and pioneer Nigerian writer, known for a mixture of lampoon, humor and satire, a writing style believed to be tied to his Igbo cultural upbringing.


He attended the Government College, Umuahia, where he started writing for the school magazine, The Umuahian, which published his first ever written story —‘A Dreamland,’ a work which set his foot on the literary space.

Some eminent Nigerian writers who attended the school include Chinua Achebe, Christopher Okigbo, and Ken Saro Wiwa, among others.


A graduate of the University College, Ibadan, Prof. Ike made a plethora of impacts and left great legacies in the literary and academic fields, and was conferred the Nigerian National Order of Merit (NNOM) Award which is Nigeria's highest and most prestigious national prize for academic and intellectual attainment, making him the second Novelist to receive the award since its inauguration in 1979, the first being Prof. Chinua Achebe.


Prof. Ike's works include Toads for Supper (1965), The Naked God’s (1970), The Potter’s Wheel (1973), Sunset and Dawn (1976), Expo ’77 (1980), The Bottled Leopard (1985), Our Children are Coming (1990); Conspiracy of Silence  (2001), among other publications.


Away from the literary flank, Prof. Ike served as an academic in different roles such as a lecturer at the University of Ibadan, registrar at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), and visiting professor at the University of Jos.


He was also the President of the Nigerian Book Foundation, as well as the first Nigerian to be the registrar of the West Africa Examination Council (WAEC).


Ike slept at 88.


As Prof. Chukwuemeka Ike peacefully joined his ancestors, Nigerian literary community, fans, and the world at large heartily bid him farewell and wish him eternal repose in the world of immorality.

Goodnight great man.





About the Author:


Izunna Okafor is an award-winning Nigerian Novelist, Poet, Journalist, Essayist, Editor, Translator, Publicist, Igbo Language Activist and Administrator who hails from Ebenator in Nnewi South L.G.A of Anambra State Nigeria. He writes perfectly in English and Igbo languages, and has published several books in both languages.

Izunna has received over 25 awards, and has over 2000 articles published online, both nationally and internationally. 

He can be reached via: izunnaokafor70@mail.com


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By Peace Uchenna Okpalanma



The Society of Young Nigerian Writers, Anambra State Chapter is set to hold her first reading for the year 2022 as one of the literary activities to herald and open the new year.


This was contained in a statement released in Awka on Thursday by the Anambra State's Coordinator of the association, Izunna Okafor.


According to him, the reading is aimed at giving writers (both the burgeoning and the established) a platform and opportunity to read, discuss and analyze their works, other literary works and literature in general with fellow writers, as well as encouraging and promoting reading cultures. 


He noted that the reading, which is slated to hold this Saturday, January, 22, 2022 at the Anambra State Central Library, also known as the Prof. Kenneth Dike State Central E-Library, beside Aroma Junction, Awka, Anambra State capital, starting 10 AM. 


On who and who are invited to the reading, Mr. Okafor noted that the reading, just like every other readings the Society has been holding every month, is open to every writer or literary enthusiast, notwithstanding whether the person is a published author or not.


He said: "Everyone is invited, both old and new members of the forum, writers and literary enthusiasts from any part of the state or the country; as long as the person has interest in being part of it, he is much welcomed.


"Participation is free; all we require is that the person be punctual to the reading and to come with materials (books or manuscript) to read."


Okafor, who himself is a published author, further noted that reading is indispensable and essentially recommended to any burgeoning writer who wants to grow in the literary field, and is equally important to the established writers, if they must maintain and sustain their interest and relevance in the field. 


He then invitingly called on every writer and literary enthusiast from around the state and beyond, to attend and be part of the reading, as the need and the benefits therein cannot be overemphasized.


Society of Young Nigerian Writers is a forum for young/established writers, and literary enthusiasts in Nigeria; and has branches across the 36 states of the Federation. 


The Anambra Chapter of the forum has been the literary body hosting the Chinua Achebe Literary Festival and Memorial Lecture which holds annually every November 16 (Achebe's date of birth), since 2016.


It also holds her monthly reading every 3rd Saturday of the month at the Anambra State Central E-Library, Awka, the state capital.


According to Okafor, further enquiries on the reading can be made through:

synwanambrachapter@gmail.com

Or 

08163938812

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The Significance of social groups to an individual and the society written by Valentine C. Muoma

When a thing or phenomenon is tagged significant it means the thing is imperative, important, relevant, necessary, consequential, essential, etc which means that social groups are necessary for the development of an individual and the society.

A group can be defined as a number of things or persons being in some relation to one another. 

A group can also be defined as subset of a culture or of a society. According to Wikipedia, There are four main types of groups: 1) primary groups, 2) social groups, 3) collectives, and 4) categories. 

1) Primary groups Primary groups are small, long-term groups characterized by high amounts of cohesiveness, member identification, face-to-face interaction, and solidarity. Such groups may act as the principal source of socialization for individuals as primary groups may shape an individuals attitudes, values, and social orientation. Three sub-groups of primary groups are: kin (relatives) close friends neighbours. 

 2) Collectives In contrast, spontaneous collectives, such as bystanders or audiences of various sizes, exist only for a very brief period of time and it is very easy to become an ingroup member from an outgroup member and vice versa. Collectives may display similar actions and outlooks.

 3) Categories Categories consists of individuals that are similar to one another in a certain way, and members of this group can be permanent ingroup members or temporary ingroup members. Examples of categories are individuals with the same ethnicity, gender, religion, or nationality. This group is generally the largest type of group

4) Social groups Social groups are also small groups but are of moderate duration. These groups are often formed due to a common goal. In this type of group, it is possible for outgroup members (i.e., social categories of which one is not a member) to become in group members (i.e., social categories of which one is a member) with reasonable ease. Social groups, such as study groups or coworkers, interact moderately over a prolonged period of time. In the social sciences, a social group can be defined as two or more people who interact with one another, share similar characteristics, and collectively have a sense of unity. Social groups come in a myriad of sizes and varieties. For example, a society can be viewed as a large social group. The system of behaviors and psychological processes occurring within a social group or between social groups is known as group dynamics. 

Socialization Socialization is the process of internalizing the norms and ideologies of the society.

 Socialization can also be defined as a process whereby an individual learns to adjust to a group (or society) and behave in a manner approved by the group (or society) 

Socialization encompasses both learning and teaching and is thus, The means by which social and cultural continuity are attained.

 Humans need social experiences to learn their culture and to survive. Socialization essentially represents the whole process of learning throughout the life course and is a central influence on the behavior, beliefs and actions of adults as well as of children.


Significance of social groups to an individual and the society. Membership of social groups are very essential for the following reasons:

i. social groups help the people know themselves better, interact, learn more about their history and cultural values.

ii. Social groups also helps to promote love and unity between the members of the community.

iii. Social groups enables the people come together to fight external aggression.

iv. Social groups helps the people come together to meliorate the challenges confronting them such as rebellion, financial challenge, land dispute, marital crises, family crises, nymphomania, psychological trauma, etc

v. Social groups come together to establish a force that help in the maintenance of law and order in the community.

vi. Social groups gives the people the privilege to partake in the decision making process of the community.

vii. Social groups endorse persons who adjudicate on the abnormalities truncating the progress of the community.

viii. Social groups contribute to the development of the community by sponsoring projects for the provision and maintenance of the infrastructural facilities of the community.

ix. Social groups ensure that the customs, traditions, values and norms of their people does not go into extinction.

x. Social groups helps in the preservation of the cultural artifacts of their people.

xi. Social groups aid Ekistics. Ekistics is the scientific study of human settlements and the planning and design of cities and other communities. 

REFERENCES

 1. www. Wikipedia.com: Groups and the types of groups

 2. www. Wikipedia.com: meaning of social groups 

 3. www. Britannica.com: Meaning of socialization

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By Odogwu Emeka Odogwu


The award-winning young Nigerian writer and journalist, Izunna Okafor has clocked 28 years old, with laudable feats, goodwill and achievements.

In an interview with newsmen, Okafor (born January 9, 1994), said his life has indeed been a testimony, looking back to his background, where and how he started.

Recalling and recounting how hideous it was for him in his early years, particularly in his teens; he appreciated God for His marvelous work and infinite mercies.

He went memory lane to narrate how he studied his primary school (at the Community Primary School, Ebenator) and some parts of his secondary school (at the Community Secondary School, Ebenator) barefooted, and with tattered school uniform, to the credit of his family's background.

According to him, being a son of a palm-wine tapper, hunter and electrician in a rural village; he started struggling his way out early in life, precisely during his secondary days when he began to do some handiworks, such as cutting palmnut, hunting, clearing bushes for farmers, tilling the ground/farmland, packing/dumping sands (in rivers), among things.

It was from these, which he said he was doing after school hours, that he saved money to publish his first book, ‘Ikem's Adventure’ back then in 2012 during his secondary school days —a single act that did not only pave way for metamorphosis in the taste of his life story, but also eventually landed him on the track of greatness where he rides and resides till date.

A second son and third child in the family of Mr. Josephat Okafor Udeze and Mrs. Susan Okafor Udeze in Ebenator, Nnewi South Local Government Area of Anambra State, Izunna Okafor, is an award-winning young Nigerian novelist, poet, essayist, journalist, editor, translator, publicist, Igbo language activist and an administrator.

He graduated from the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, where he studied Public Administration. He also holds O.N.D in Public Administration from the same school.

A published and best-selling author, Izunna books include 'Ikem's Adventure' (his first book) published in Nigeria in 2012, during his secondary school; 'The Curse of A Widow' (his second novel), published in 2013; 'The Faithful Children' (his third book), published in 2014 (which received outstanding recognition in the Ezenwa Ohaeto Prize for Young Nigerian Novelists 2015); 'Ajọ Enyi,' his debut Igbo novel and fourth book, published in 2015. 

With 'Ajo Enyi', he became the first person to win the Nigerian Writers Award 2015/2016 as the Indigenous Writer of the Year. Also, with Ajo Enyi, he won the Pita Nwanna Award for Igbo Literature in 2015; and also got shortlisted for The 2015 Young Nigerian Writer of The Year, and the 2017 Nigerian Writers Award.

His other books include ‘Nzúzù M Egbuo M’ (Igbo novel), ‘Educated Illiterate’, and ‘Teach Me Grammar’.

He has been published in many anthologies, nationally and internationally; has thousands of articles/essays as well as poems and short stories published online to his credit. 

A diglot writer, Izunna writes perfectly in Igbo and English languages, and has published widely in both languages. 

He has won and been nominated/shortlisted for a number of awards, which include:

He graduated from Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, where he studied Public Administration. He also holds O.N.D in Public Administration from the same school.

A published and best-selling author, Izunna's books 'Ikem's Adventure' (his first book, published 2012, in his secondary school days) 'The Curse of A Widow' (2013); 'The Faithful Children' (published 2014  and given outstanding recognition in the 2015 Ezenwa Ohaeto Prize for Young Nigerian Novelists); 'Ajo Enyi' (Igbo novel, published 2015).

With 'Ajo Enyi', he won the 2015/2016 Nigerian Writers Award as the Indigenous Writer of the Year; won the 2015 Society of Young Nigerian Writers Award/Pita Nwanna Award for Igbo Literature; and also got shortlisted for the 2015 Young Nigerian Writer of The Year, and the 2017 Nigerian Writers Award.

His other works include 'African Blood' (a short story), 'Nzúzù M Egbuo M' (Igbo novel), 'Educated Illiterate', and 'Teach Me Grammar'.

He has edited and co-edited over 25 books and anthologies (published nationally and internationally).

He has been published in many magazines, anthologies, journals, etc, both nationally and internationally; has thousands of articles/essays as well as poems and short stories published online to his credit.

A diglot writer, Izunna writes perfectly in Igbo and English languages, and has published widely in both languages.

He has won and been nominated for some prestigious awards which include:

The Nigerian Writers Award/Indigenous Writer of the Year 2015/2016

Pita Nwana Prize for Igbo Literature 2015

Society of Young Nigerian Writers Award Nigeria

Heritage Icon Award/Young Writer of the Year Federal Republic of Nigeria, 2016

Merit Award from the Society of Young Nigerian Writers (2016)

Award of Recognition from Students Union Government, Unizik (2017)

Nigerian Writers Award/Young Writer of the Year 2015/2016

N.Y.S.C. Essay Competition 2012

SLAM Hero Youth International Award/Innovative Youth of the Year 2016

First Prize Winner, NAPAS Essay Competition, 2016

The Future Award Africa 2016

Anambra Exclusive Youth Choice Award/Youth Writer of the Year 2016

Award of Academic Excellence from National Association of Public Administration Students (2016)

Inspire Award /Outstanding Youth in Academics 2017

NAPAS Academic Icon of the Year 2017

Anambra Campus Award 2017/Campus Writer of the Year 2017

Award of Excellence from the Society of Young Nigerian Writers 2016

Anambra Exclusive Youth Choice Award/Outstanding Youth of the Year 2017

Youth Writer of the Year 2016

Starlett Entertainment Award/Creative Writer of the Year 2016

Young Author Award, 2018

Creative Crew Africa/Young Talent of the Year 2018, among others

Campus Best Writer of the Year, 2018

Campus Best Journalist of the Year 2018

Young Achievers Award/Best Young Writer of the Year 2019

National Light Staff of the Year 2019

Anambra Media Excellence Award/News Reporter of the Year 2019

Recognition Award, Anambra Through A Lens, 2020

Amazon Masterclass Award/Most Resilient Male Student 2021

Anambra Media Excellence Award/Best News Reporter of the Year 2021

ACORP/Awka Diocese Media Personality of the Week (November) 2021

South East Media Award 2021

He also has some certificates of award, recognition and participation, the most recent of which include:

Certificate of Recognition from the ImpactField Global Initiative (2018)

Certificate of Award from the Applex Art and Creative Crew Africa (2018) 

Certificate of Completion for the SprinNG Advancement Fellowship, 2020

Certificate of Participation, Naija Haiku Poetry Workshop, 2020, among others.

Amazon Masterclass Certificate, 2021, among others


At the age of 21, Izunna was nominated for The Future Award Africa 2016/African Prize For Education, which is one of the biggest and most prestigious African youths awards.

Aside being a creative writer, Izunna is also an Igbo language activist who has played and continued to play great roles in sustaining and promoting Igbo language and culture. He preaches and takes the 'gospel' of Igbo language and the need for its sustenance to every nook and cranny, ranging from schools to churches, radio/television stations, and to other public places, being part if his own contribution and strategic measures to ensure that the language does not go extinct as predicted by the UNESCO in 2012.

He has also been featured in many radio and television stations across the country on this mission.

In addition to these, Izunna is also a renowned journalist and columnist currently working with Anambra Newspaper and Printing Coporation, the publishers of National Light Newspaper, Ka Ọ Dị Taa (which is the only Igbo Language Newspaper in Nigeria) and Sportslight Xtra.

He also writes for Igbo Radio which is an online Igbo language news hub headquartered in Canada, and also freelances for other media/publishing houses, both the online and print media.

Izunna is the Coordinator of Society of Young Nigerian Writers, Anambra State Chapter, which is a literary body that hosts Chinua Achebe Literary Festival, an annual literary event held in memory and honour of Late Prof. Chinua Achebe, since 2016.

He is the Editor-in-Chief of Chinua Achebe Poetry/Essay Anthology which is an international anthology annually published in honour of Achebe. The most current editions of the anthology include 'Arrows of Words (for Chinua Achebe)', and 'Achebe: A Man of the People', ‘There Was a Man’, among others.

In April, 2020, Izunna was appointed the Project Coordinator, Writers Against COVID-19 Movement. He is the editor of the COVID-19 Poetry/Essay Anthology, titled 'Ripostes of Locked Down Voices', which is the first international anthology of poems and essays on COVID-19.

He has served as a judge in many national and international writing-related competitions.


He is also an alumnus and 2020 Fellow of the SprinNG Advancement Fellowship, being championed by the SprinNG Literary Movement.


He edits and publishes an annual Special Valentine Poetry Collection, which are all available online for free download.


During his undergraduate days, he was also an Editorial Board member of the FAMASSA Magazine.


He is Ambassador of TFA Africa in Nigeria; and Ambassador of Read Across Nigeria in Anambra State.


An alumnus of Unizik, he is also a former Secretary General of the National Association of Public Administration Students (NAPAS), as well as the current National Secretary General of the Society of Young Nigerian Writers.


Today, Izunna Okafor marks his 28th birthday.


Congratulations to him.

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From Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Awka 


Barely one week after some elders of Obinagu Village, Ugwuoba, Oji River Local Government Area of Enugu State bitterly complained to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi over land grabbing by the Enugu State Housing Development Corporation; another village in Ugwuoba Eziachi has accused the same Enugu State Housing Development Corporation of malicious land grabbing and contempt. 


Eziachi village, led by the oldest man in Ugwuoba Community, (Otuchalu Ugwuoba) Chief Emeka Tagbo alongside other elders decried the bad image the leadership of Enugu State Housing Development Corporation, led by the Managing Director, Mr Chimerie Agu, is causing the people's Governor, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, by grabbing people's land without due process. 


The 110-year-old Otuchalu Ugwuoba, Chief Tagbo wondered why Enugu State Housing Development Corporation should be rubbishing the good image of Governor Ugwuanyi by dabbling into communal land politics and constituting nuisance for the state government and the Governor.


He asked the Enugu State Housing Development Corporation destroying their farms, cash crops and property worth several millions of Naira to stop forthwith as that has caused untold hardship and agony to so many families whose building projects on their lands have been truncated. 


Chief Tagbo, flanked by the Chairman of Eziachi village, Prince Emmanuel Chukwu Nwokeabia, 95  year-old Chief Atuba Nwammuo, and 85 year-old Chief Nwachukwu Fidelis, among others, requested Governor Ugwuanyi to intervene in the numerous unnecessary land grabbing in Ugwuoba axis of Enugu State by instructing the Enugu State Housing Development Corporation to follow due process in acquiring land for its housing development, which nobody is against but which its modus operandi is totally condemnable. 


Chief Tagbo questioned why communities that have no land in Eziachi village should hand over their ancestral land and that of other communities to Enugu State Housing Development Corporation and they went into development without recourse to the land owners and their neighbours who also have land in the 150 hectares Ibrahim Abacha Estate Ugwuoba.


The Ugwuoba oldest man told Governor Ugwuanyi to call them to a meeting to hear their own side of the story with all documentary evidence, even as he reminded the Governor that Agolo/Okpuno had no boundaries with them or their neighbours at Obinagu end, adding that the natural boundaries have been the stream/river. He wondered why the Enugu State Housing Development Corporation allowed itself to be decieved by the people of Agolo/Okpuno village.


“We don't know Enugu State Housing Development Corporation; and Enugu State Housing Development Corporation doesn't know us. Our houses, cash crops, farmlands, church buildings among others have been destroyed. The Governor needs to intervene on this matter before it becomes something else,” Chief Tagbo concluded in tears. 


Corroborating the lamentations of the oldest man in Ugwuoba, the Chairman of Eziachi Village, Prince Emmanuel Chukwu Nwokeabia said his village gave no government agency any land and should be spared of the embarassing scenario, harrasment, intimidation and mental torture, by meeting the community for a peaceful resolution of the imbroglio. 


He wondered why the MD of Enugu State Housing Development Corporation, Mr Chiemerie Agu would be conniving with people outside their village to sell their village land to the extent of chasing them away forcefully from their aboriginal land.


Eziachi village Chairman continued: “Why is Enugu State Housing Development Corporation bent on forcing us to leave our land? They want us to abandon our houses and run. They are not considering that we have houses there. But it's not feasible unless they want to spill our blood by killing us. They want our children homeless.”


He reminded Governor Ugwuanyi that the case is in court, even when the Housing MD is claiming they have been settled. He asked Governor Ugwuanyi to investigate how the MD settled the people of Eziachi. He also wondered why MD of Housing Development Corporation is creating bad blood for the government of Enugu State?'


For Chief Atuba Nwammuo, natural boundaries have always been river and no one crosses the river to dispute over land. He also appealed to Housing Development Corporation to leave their land for them.


www.odogwublog.com investigation reveals that the Eziachi Community is in court with the Enugu State Housing Development Corporation and its parent ministry, Ministry of Lands and Urban Development and its Commissioner in suit number HOR/34/2018 in an Enugu state High Court, Oji River Judicial Division. Plaintiff and representative of Eziachi village Ugwuoba were Chief Paulinus Udekwe , Prince Emmanuel Chukwu Nwokeabia and Elias Ozor. 


They are asking Enugu State Housing Development Corporation to stay away from their large expanse of land at Amagu, Owelle, Nkpuno, Abonta, Uno-Achalla and Agu Ubulu.


www.odogwublog.com further reports that Eziachi village people described the Enugu State Housing Development Corporation's Managing Director, Mr. Chiemerie Agu as a liar for claiming that the cooperation has settled the village over the land, wondering what he meant by 'that their rightful collective agitation was a “sponsored publications targeted at the Enugu State Government in lieu of the housing project at Obinagu village in Ugwuoba, Oji River Local Government Area of the State''.


They described as a big lie and frowned at the claims by the MD Housing Development Corporation Managing Director that that all the villages, including Okpuno, Agolo, Eziachi, Anaocha and Nkpoga are beckoning on government to hurry up to develop the land while few people from Obinagu are busy trying to lay exclusive bogus claim over the entire land and at the same time tampering with the buildings which were erected by the Corporation.


They wondered if a tenant or someone without locus over a landed property can donate a land or a property he or she has no authority over to another, hence he is asking on what locus, Agolo and Okpuno have to donate their land to Enugu State Governor or government. 


The Community also condemned the desperation to cover up their malacious intent to covet their land by claiming that the raising of alarm for Government to hear their voice and for the Governor to intervene as a sponsored and fallacious publication “The said publication, lacking the consent and authority of the good people of Ugwuoba by asking Governor to visit them to see things for himself. 


www.odogwublog.com had tried severally to speak to the Chairman of the Enugu State Housing Development Corporation, Mr. Chiemerie Agu, but to no avail, only to see a statement credited to him, where he was claiming the agitation was sponsored and spurious, lacking merit and of no effect. 


Agu also claimed in that statement that the agitation was baseless and false narratives, capable of inhibiting development in Ugwuoba Community.


He noted that “many a time, the reason for concentration of social amenities and infrastructure in a particular area, called urban, may not actually be the fault of those in government positions, but selfish interests of few individuals in the community blocking Government from developing their land.”


He referred to Ugwuoba Community's agitation over the acquisition of their land for development as 'unfortunate', noting that refusal of some communities to embrace innovations is a great setback to Development.


That statement reads in part: “In many cases, such decisions are being taken by few individuals who are after their own personal gains as against the overall interest of the community. They could only achieve this, true cheap propaganda, malicious and deceptive publications.


“The said publication was not only fallacious but lacks the consent and authority of the good people of Ugwuoba.”


The MD further stated that “The land in question is a parcel of land lying along Enugu—Onitsha Express road, measuring approximately 150 hectares which was diligently and duly acquired in 1995 by the then Military Administrator, Col. Mike Torre and handed over to the Enugu State Housing Development Corporation with the Certificate of Occupancy, dated 6th June 1996 and registered as no.38 page 38 in vol. 1071 land registry in the office at Enugu.


“Prior to the issuance of the Certificate of Occupancy, there was a notice of revocation which was properly published in the government gazette no. ISSN (1116 -2032) vol. 5 page 12 in notice no. 18 official gazette no. 5 vol 4 of 03/6/1999.


“The corporation commenced development of the land in 1995 immediately after the acquisition and some buildings were at different levels before the change of government which led to the suspension of work at the Estate.


“TlThe Corporation is wondering why the sponsored publication is springing up 26 years after the land acquisition. If not the change of government, the estate would have been a completed project for the past 26 years.


“All the villages, including Okpuno, Agolo, Eziachi, Anaocha and Nkpoga are beckoning on government to hurry up to develop the land while few people from Obinagu are busy trying to lay exclusive bogus claim over the entire land and at the same time tampering with the buildings which were erected by the Corporation.”


While saying that the Coroperation is willing to listen to genuine grievances of some aggreaved people of Ugwuoba, the Corporation admitted the existence of a court case on the land thus: “That the alleged court case was between the villages on who gets what from the compensation and does not have anything to do with the Estate.


“That the Corporation is using this medium to sound a note of warning to the distractors who are deceiving the public that we shall not hesitate to employ legal action against those people for criminal activities, trespass, false information and libel if they fail to desist from such act. The sponsors of these falsehoods will soon be unmasked and their true identities and mischievous intentions revealed.


The Eziachi village Ugwuoba faulted all the claims of the Housing Development Corporation, and warned developers and investors to stay away from the land as no intimidation shall allow them chicken away from their ancestral land for an unknown and selfish Government agents to take over without thier consent and support.

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By Odogwu Emeka Odogwu, Awka


It was tears of sorrow yesterday in Obinagu Village, Ugwuoba, Oji River Local Government Area of Enugu State when some elders of the community bitterly complained of the plans of the Enugu State Housing Development Corporation to forcefully hijack 88.9 hectares out of their 150 hectares of their ancestral land. 


The elders, led by 96-year-old Boniface Igweze decried the destruction of their property worth several millions of naira, including houses, cash crops, farmlands and ancestral deities by the Housing Corporation in order to forcefully take over their Anioma Obinagu Ogboo land for a housing estate, without their consent.


Addressing newsmen in Awka shortly after their village meeting to place ancestral curses on those bent on trespassing on their ancestral land, the elders in their 90's and 80's, appealed to the Enugu State Governor, Rt. Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to use his good office to call the Housing Development Corporation to order in the interest of peace and humanity. 


The Elders Council of Obinagu insisted that after 14 days, if Governor Ugwuanyi refuses to intervene as a father and Governor of the state, those trespassing in the land may have to contend with their ancestral spirits and no recourse to them when spirits fight their battle for them. 


Igweze, flanked by other elders including Kenneth Nwangwu, 95 years; Dominic Anochili, 92 years;  Chukwuma Ndibe, 85 years; Pius Madubuchi, 75 years, Chief Daniel Okeke, 79 years; David Ndubuisi, 70 years; and Chief Samuel Nnebeife 67, years; among others, said they have restrained their youths from engaging in violence over the ownership of the land because they believed in lawful pursuits and the Governor's understanding and intervention for peaceful resolution. 


They appealed to Governor Ugwuanyi to call the Managing Director of the Enugu State Housing Development Corporation, Mr Chimerie Agu and all his cohorts to order, as their insensitivity has stretched their patience, hence their resolution to hand over the battle to their gods, aside continued pursuit of the case through all lawful means possible. 


The community elders warned prospective investors and developers to stay clear of their own 88.9 hectares in the Ibrahim Abacha Estate Anioma Obinagu Ogboo Ugwuoba land, to avoid regrets and collateral damages to them, financially, and otherwise including undiagnosed health challenges from their ancestral gods. 


They noted that government at their time was not known to support evil but to stand with the people for a better society, wondering why the excesses of the Housing Development Corporation MD is being condoned by its supervising ministry and the Government of Enugu State, led by Governor Ugwuanyi.


They claimed some of them have died of high blood pressure over the land, as the community has no other land aside that piece, hence Enugu State Housing Development Corporation should hands off their land.


Court Order 


This is coming as an Enugu State High Court, Oji River Judicial Division, presided over by His Lordship, Hon Justice C.V.C. Ezeugwu on 22nd December 2021 granted an order for status quo ante bellum to be maintained with regards to the Anioma Obinagu Ogboo land in dispute.


Justice Ezeugwu, after hearing the submission of O.C. Ugolo Esq for the plaintiff/applicant adjourned to 25th January 2022 for Motion on Notice. 


The order on suit number: HOR/41/2021 was between Fabian Anyaka and Madubuchi Onyeka and four others on behalf of Obinagu village Ugwuoba and Enugu State Housing Development Corporation and Chiemerie Agu, the Managing Director Enugu state Housing Development Corporation. 


On the strength of this State High Court that nothing shall happen on the land till after determination of Motion on Notice. 


Governor Ugwuanyi, MD Housing Development Corporation react


Efforts to contact the developer, Seaman's Global and Ugwuanyi's relative blowing trumpet for Mr. Agu, for possible shedding of light on the matter proved abortive; while calls to the Managing Director, Enugu state Housing Development Corporation, Mr Chimerie Agu were not picked.


Also, several calls to the Governor's SSA on Media, Onyebuchi Louis Amoke were not responded to. Further efforts to reach the Governor on his mobile lines were not successful as the lines were switched off.



Petition to Enugu State Governor


Meanwhile, in a petition dated 30th November, 2021 to the Enugu state Governor, Chief Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, through the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Obinagu village, Ugwuoba through their lawyer, Okechukwu C. Ugolo Esq frowned at the arbitral acquisition of their land - Anioma Obinagu Ogboo land without their knowledge and consent. 


In the petition, Obinagu People reminded the Governor Ugwuanyi that the Anioma land is their's undisputably and it never belonged to Agolo/Okpuno and despite the several attempts to covet the land in court through appeals, Obinagu people remained the true owners of the Anioma Obinagu Ogboo land till date. 


Obinagu people prayer Governor Ugwuanyi and the Attorney General to ask the Enugu State Housing Development Corporation to steer clear their land pending when the proper things are done. 


They noted that Ugwuoba land holdings does not encourage general land ownership but lands are owned individually or by villages.

 

They further reminded that Anioma Obinagu Ogboo land belonged to them Obinagu People by virtue of the judgement in suit number ORCC/18/98: Rev Canon Dr J.O Iloeje and two others versus Innocent Ezeokafor and 6 others, hence the presence of Enugu State Housing Development Corporation is unlawful, amounting to trespass.



Reports have it that Anioma Obinagu Ogboo land has been a subject of litigation between Obinagu people and Agolo/Okpuno communities both in Ugwuoba, Oji River Council Area of Enugu State, but Obinagu won at the Ugwuoba Customary court on 9th November, 1998. 


And all efforts by Agolo /Okpuno to set aside the judgment failed, hence the Housing Development Corporation wrote the community on November 10th, 2014 ,18 years after wrong acquisition of the land in 1996 by the backdoor from Agolo/Okpuno. 


Enugu state Housing Development Corporation in their letter lamented that they were led to believe the said land belonged to Okpuno/Agolo villages of Ugwuoba, hence the Housing Development Corporation had executed a grant of the said land with the 2 villages and actually taken possession and commenced development with a C. of O. issued to the Housing Development Corporation, by Enugu state government. 


The said letter noted that development stalled because of lack of funds but in recognition of the court judgment restoring the title of the land to Obinagu village, thus they wrote the Community through its Chairman stating that they have recognized Obinagu Ugwuoba as rightful owners of the land. 

They equally noted in the letter signed by Barr. Ngozi Chibuoke as the Secretary, and Hon. Henry Achiekwulu as the Chairman of Committee, that all agreements entered into with Agolo/Okpuno villages regarding the land were hereby denounced and declared null and void.


The Enugu State Housing Development Corporation stated that it was desirous of perfecting her title to the land and continuing development of her proposed Ibrahim Abacha Estate and that wise made some requests. 


The requests included that the Housing Development Corporation should provide infrastructural facilities, including asphalt roads , electricity and water in the proposed estate; perform the traditional 'Igba Mmanya Ani' ceremony in due course and grant 20 percent of the realized plots to the community as compensation of the land as well as both the community and the company shall execute a formal deal of grant on the said land. The Housing Development Corporation even requested for a date to start implementation of the demands, hence it is wondered what went wrong for the new Housing Development Corporation Managing Director to ignore all the protocols, and insist on taking the land by force. 


History 


This Anioma Obinagu Ogboo land, located along Enugu-Onitsha Express Road, according to the Chairman Obinagu Village, Hon, Onyeka Madubuchi, should be left alone, as they are now uninterested in any form of department, since it has caused their elders sleepless nights. 


Hon. Madubchi said this latest illegal invasion or trespass on the land occurred on 20th day of October, 2021, when the land grabbers mobilized different types of earth moving machines and forcefully entered the land, cleared it and started digging foundations in furtherance of their desire to illegally parcellate and allocate the land to unsuspecting members of the general public who are not aware that the land validly belong to the people of Obinagu village, in Oji River Local Government Area of Enugu State.


He reiterated: "The Obinagu people wish to state that there have been unsuccessful attempts in the past by the people of Agolo/Okpuno Communities in Ugwuoba, Oji River to forcefully take over the said parcel of land (Ani Oma land) which prompted them to file an action in court against Agolo/Okpuno Communities in Suit No. ORCC/18/98- Rev. Cannon Dr. J.O. Iloeje & 2 Ors. V. Innocent Ezeokafor & 6 Ors. It is however instructive to note that the Court in the suit, held that the people of Obinagu village (Plaintiffs) are entitled to the customary right of occupancy over the land. The Court further made an order of perpetual injunction restraining the people of Agolo/Okpuno Communities (Defendants), their agents, servants and/or privies from further entry into the said Ani Oma land.


"On appeal to the Court of Appeal, Enugu Judicial Division in appeal No. CA/E/177M/99, the Court of Appeal set aside the decision of the Enugu State High Court delivered by Hon. Justice A.I. Umezuluike and affirmed the judgment of the Customary Court, Oji River, which held that the Obinagu people are the valid owners of the land. 


"Interestingly, while the dispute over the Ani Oma land between Obinagu village and Agolo/Okpuno communities which started as far back as 1992 lingered on, and to the knowledge of the ESHDC, the self-same Corporation working in collaboration with the Agolo/Okpuno Communities contrived a Deed of Customary Grant where they purported to have acquired the Ani Oma land in dispute from Agolo/Okpuno Communities who are themselves trespassers per the judgment of the Enugu State Customary Court and as upheld by the Court of Appeal," he said.


He further added: "Perhaps, even more interestingly, despite knowing that the validity or otherwise of their title over the Ani Oma land rested on the outcome of the then pending suit between Obinagu and Agolo/Okpuno Communities on the question of which of the villages is the valid owner of the land in dispute, the ESHDC refused, failed and/or ignored to apply to be joined in the case as an interested party. Rather, it stood by, and watch the parties lock horns on the issue until it was resolved in favour of Obinagu Community up to the Court of Appeal.


"Needless to say, the Corporation, by electing to stand by instead of applying to join as a party in the then pending suit, is deemed to have accepted to be bound by the outcome of the suit. This is because, being privies to the Agolo/Okpuno villages from whence it purports to have acquired its title over the disputed Ani Oma land, by virtue of the Deed of Customary Grant. The Corporation is by law not only bound by the judgments and orders made by the courts in the suits, but also by the order of perpetual injunction which restrained her landlord or grantors from further entry on the Ani Oma land.


“Unsurprisingly, on realizing the above correct statement of the law and being at the time, under the leadership of a Managing Director who is God-fearing and law abiding, the ESHDC vide a letter dated November 10, 2014 wrote to Obinagu village, acknowledging that the land belongs to Obinagu village, and that her dealings with Agolo/Okpuno villages regarding the land are denounced and declared null and void.


"The Corporation thereafter solicited to re-acquire the land from Obinagu village but could not finalize their friendly approach with Obinagu village before the tenure of the then executives expired," he added.


The community said that they are thus alarmed that instead of toeing the peaceful and lawful footsteps of the immediate past Administration, Mr. Chiemerie Agu has preferred the path of brigandage by threatening the people of Obinagu village with impunity. 


"In furtherance of these threats, our people are witnesses to the mobilization of different types of machines to aid forceful and illegal entry into the land.


“The people of Obinagu village in their usual peaceful and law abiding disposition, have refrained from taking laws into their hands but have rather commenced contempt proceedings against Mr. Chiemerie Agu and 5 other principal members of ESHDC. 


"Yet, despite the pendency of the contempt proceedings, Mr. Chiemerie Agu and his cohorts without the consent and/or approval of the people of Obinagu village and in total and flagrant disobedience to the orders of the court have forcefully entered into the Ani Oma land for the second time to resume construction works, preparatory to allocate to members of the general public.


"Our people are worried that in spite of the huge damages land grabbing has caused in Enugu State with its attendant crisis, divisions and violence, Mr. Chiemerie Agu is hell bent on pitching the good people of Obinagu village against the Enugu State Government for his primordial and primitive interests. 


"Consequent upon the above, members of the general public are therefore warned to desist from dealing with ESHDC or Mr. Chiemerie Agu in any manner whatsoever in relation to the Ani Oma land along Enugu—Onitsha Expressway.


“For the avoidance of doubt, whoever deals with them does so at his/her own peril. Pursuant to the judgments of the courts, the land belongs to Obinagu village and it is not for sale no matter the amount or consideration,” he concluded.

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