The plan to formally celebrate or confer the once revered traditional title of Mr Richmond Okoro by a group of allegedly biased individuals, from Obi Mbieri autonomous community, in Mbaitoli Local Government Area is presently generating tension and controversy.

A stakeholder in the community who spoke on the condition of anonymity   stated that they are shocked and embarrassed by the attitude of some council members of ndi Nze who, because of their selfish and parochial interests- want to ridicule, demean and bastardize the once respected and prestigious traditional title of Nze by making it look like a “Social Club” whose membership is easily accessible.  

According to them, “Historically, the ndi Nze na Ozo is a traditional institution that binds responsible, truth-telling, men of good heart as a group. These men relate with traditional rulers in making critical community decisions as well as carrying out the tasks of consultations with seers onbehalf of the traditional institution. 

Nowadays, people are wondering what has become of that institution as memberships are now extended to anyone who can pay”.

They accused Chief Richmond Okoro who they described as “an author of confusion of accusing the present Sole Administrator (SOLAD) of Mbaitoli LGA, of unilaterally dissolving the Obi Mbieri executive council, “which is entirely false and baseless”.

“What actually happened was that, when Mr. Patrick Emeruem’s tenure as President General of the community expired, the stakeholders convened a meeting at the Mbaitoli Local Government Council headquarters at Nwaorieubi, where they begged and pleaded with the SOLAD to appoint a new President General for Obi Mbieri. Hence, he appointed Chief Samuel Opara, who is the people’s choice.

On assumption of duty as interim PG, Chief Oparaugo was given two cardinal assignments by the SOLAD.

The first one is to ensure that he conducts a free and fair election for the people of Obi Mbieri, while the second one is that he should consolidate the constitutions of the community into one single agreeable document.

But because the true position of Chief Richmond Okoro’s self imposed President General, as neither a PG nor a Stakeholder, in Obi Mbieri, was exposed, Okoro started blackmailing the SOLAD in the newspaper with false, baseless and unfounded accusations that are neither here nor there.

“As if that was not enough, Okoro re-surfaced to mastermind the segregation, unconstitutional and arbitrary attempts to delineate some villages in Ohohia and Obokwe Mbieri through his stooges. This has once again elicited rancor, acrimony destruction of lives and properties, as recorded”.

On whether or not Chief Richmond Okoro is qualified to be an Nze in Obi Mbieri,  a titled Chief in the community who pleaded for anonymity said, “this issue that is presently rocking the foundation of Ndi Nze started when one Chief Mark Nwozuzu, who is a village Head in Obi Mbieri autonomous community, instituted a case against the council of ndi Nze in Mbaitoli LGA at the Imo State High Court sitting at Iho the headquarters of Ikeduru L.G.A. The Court presided over by Hon Justice Opara, in its judgment, declared the Council of Ndi Nze as a “Social Club.”

“To this day, there is no evidence that the council of Ndi Nze in Mbaitoli LGA or elsewhere contested or appealed against that judgment, rather, we learnt that they went into self rehabilitation in order to be accepted into the main stream of the “traditional institution as they were formerly known.

It is therefore highly regrettable and appalling that this revered institution which the grand fathers and great grand fathers of Umuagwu, Obokwe and Obi Mbieri communities built and sustained be bastardize by admitting or trying to admit a man who the entire old Amaike (ime nne ato) know to be unfit, and violent towards women. Is this a strategy for getting the support of those who are still contemplating whether or not to accept the Nze title holders as a traditional institution?”

Continuing, the source stated that, “it was first captured in the piece written by Mr. JC Jan and published in the National Newsbreak newspaper on Monday, July 17, 2023. In that article, he reiterated the popular saying “Ala arighi mma, owu uru onye – nze-Richmond”, but we now say ala ga ariri ri nma. 

When contacted by our reporter, JC Jan said that none of his petitions to ndi Nze on this burning issue was satisfactorily responded to. One is therefore left to wonder; if they apply egalitarian principles in the conferment process or is it mainly on a “who you know” basis? What brings an organization down, is involvement in corruption.

“It was reported that apart from other serious disqualifying criteria met, the man was accused of having used a deadly weapon to injure a lady who came from the Okwurudu /Umunwaji village in Umuahii Obi Mbieri. The information about how the matter was handled is becoming clearer.

“In addition, information at our disposal alleges that one Nze Obiora Amadi kept a blind eye at all the petitions, concerns, and disapprovals against the acceptance of Chief Richmond Okoro into the Nzeship due to unexplainable reasons. If the Nze traditional title is still rooted in tradition and culture, how would a man whose great grandfathers, grandfathers, father, village, and town did not have anything to do with ndi Nze, and have never held the Nze title be admitted into such a notable institution at the middle of the night without applying the doctrine of due process? This is a question we are extending to Nze Nwakonobi, a respectable and trustworthy member of the ndi Nze group.

We wonder if the Ndi Nze is a Social Club. Besides, which constitution did Nze Obiora Amadi and others rely on when recommending Chief Richmond Okoro to be admitted into the group?

We have been combing all corners of Mbieri in search of the missing link. 

A cabinet chief in Obi Mbieri told this reporter that the Obi Mbieri Traditional Institution (Village heads/cabinet chiefs) have denounced any strategy of rewarding a man accused of recklessly hurting and endangering the life of another individual with a weapon, with the membership of any meaningful organization in Obi Mbieri.

They further stated that the Obi Mbieri Village Heads will not attend any Nze ceremony in Obi Mbieri until this aberration is corrected by the Council of Ndi Nze in Mbaitoli LGA of Imo State. Concerned villages may also petition authorities to publicly pronounce this Council of ndi Nze as a Social Club.

When asked about Nze Bon Chinedu, who joined the organization approximately at the same time as Chief Richmond Okoro, one Mr. Iwunze, an elder from Obokwe Eziuhu replied that Obokwe has been in the Nze tradition for over 150 years and that Nze Bon Chinedu’s grandparents are from the Nze lineage. The man who spoke unanimously said that he would not be surprised if the ndi Nze group is sued again unless they put a hold on any ceremony concerning Chief Richmond Okoro as a Nze title holder until an unbiased investigation is conducted”. We sought for answers in their StarPost newspaper publication of Wed. May 10, 2023, but there weren’t.