By Emma Amaize
WARRI- THE Ovie of Uzere Kingdom in Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta State, HRM, Isaac Odhiwhu Udogri I, weekend, said that by the tradition of Uzere community, nobody can oust him as the paramount ruler until he joined the ancestors.
Also, the royal family of Uzere Kingdom, (Ediagbor ruling house), yesterday, threw its weight behind the monarch, saying in a statement by its head, Odio Pa Macaulay Osiobo; secretary, Mr. Anthony Owhoro and treasurer, Mr. Peter Igbogi: “The kingship of Uzere, as at date, is the inalienable right of the ruling house and only the demise of the King (Ovie), can relieve us of such right.”
Reacting to his purported dethronement by a group of Uzere people, he said those who contrived the abominable charade knew before hand, that it was an impracticable enterprise to overthrow a reigning Ovie.
He said: “Normally, once a king, Ovie of Uzere, is installed, he cannot be deposed unless he joins his ancestors. Let me give you an example. HRM, Etuede II, who was my predecessor, was on the throne for some years before Uzere people said they didn’t want him and one Mr. German Odede was allegedly made king in 1956.
“The case started in 1956 and went on for more than 20 years up to Supreme Court, which held that from all available records pertaining the stool of Uzere Kingdom, a reigning Ovie could not be dethroned untill he joined his ancestors. So, German could not be made Ovie and this man, Etuede II, ruled till he joined the ancestors. By the tradition of Uzere community, if the Ovie does not join the ancestors, another one cannot be installed.”
He confirmed that hired assassins had been on this trail recently and that he had received death threats from people over the Uzere crisis.
He blamed the crisis in his kingdom on a popular chief in the area, who was bent on causing mayhem because he lost his bid to become a member of Delta State House of Assembly. He insisted: “I remain the Ovie of Uzere Kingdom until I join the ancestors.”
He said the chief, whom he alleged was a kidnap baron, wanted to control Uzere Kingdom by all means, including using an armed group. He said the chief was the one who mobilised people in the kingdom to protest against Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company, SNEPC on November 29, 2011, because he was desperate for funds to pay his debts.
The monarch, who said that hired protesters by the chief, razed his palace on November 29, 2011 because he said that dialogue, rather than violence, should be employed in dealing with the oil firm.
On the incident that led to his exit from the kingdom since November 29, 2011, he said: “Everything I had in my life was burnt. I spent close to N30 million renovating my palace. I had expensive cars, they burnt all of them. So when I came to Warri, I decided to leave everything to God, let God judge them.
“After about two weeks, I discovered that they were sending hired assassins after me in Warri. They were sending me text messages. They wrote a petition against me to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. I decided at that point that I would not leave the matter to God alone. I wrote petition to the state government, the Presidency, and the National Security Adviser who directed the Inspector General of Police to investigate the matter. Based on that, they were arrested. When they were arrested, they were taken to Abuja. They then said they want us to settle, I said, let them settle.”