By Chinenye Ozor
Nsukka: A journalist in Enugu State has been recognised as traditional ruler of his community. He is Herbert Ukuta. Ukuta was recognised as the traditional ruler of Igga ancient kingdom by Governor Ifeanyi Ugwanyi amid fanfare in Uzo Uwani Local Government of the state.
The recognition brings to three the number of journalists serving their communities in the state.
The former Editor- in- Chief of the state- owned Daily Star newspaper was recognised as the traditional ruler of his community in Enugu metropolis before Igwe John Akor mounted the throne of his fore fathers as the traditional ruler of Nimbo, also in Uzo Uwani. Akor was former Managing Editor of the defunct Community Concord in the area barely two years ago by the administration of Sullivan Chime.
Igwe Herbert Ukuta was formerly with Vanguard Media Limited before the Igga community cashed on his vibrancy and openness and asked him to become their monarch.
The community which is famous for its rich culture and tradition has not had a traditional ruler since the demise of the late Igwe Fabian Ukuta (Agbalakata 11) in 1995.
At a brief reception in honour of the new monarch at Igga, thousands of the people of the area rolled out the drums to thank God for giving them their choice as traditional ruler. The ancient gong (ikoro) was sounded just as people carrying elephant tusks blew the trumpet to announce the ascendency of the new monarch as youths and teenagers celebrated. Elephant tusks and gongs were usually seen in the community to announce victories at wars with hostile communities or during celebrations to announce the arrival of new monarch for the ancient kingdom .
Aged men and women and teenagers lined up along the routes leading to the village square with sambas and gongs, in display to herald the triumphal entry of the king after he was given his staff of office and certificate of recognition by the state government. The joy of the community was expressed on the faces of the indigenes and visitors alike as different cultural dances and masquerades led the new king round the market square to prove to doubting Thomases that there was an eagle on the Iroko.
The community halted motorcade of the king, asked him and forced him to walk round the market square on foot, wearing a name tag bearing Igwe Otokpee of Igga land.
Speaking to South East Voice, Igwe Ukuta said that he was the Regent of the community from 1995 when his father died till 2012 when he was coroneted as the king, adding that the community’s council of elders presented him to the Uzo-Uwani Local Council Chairman, Cornell Onwubuya who in 2013, wrote an acknowledgment letter that there was no dispute with the then governor of the state Sullivan Chime who in turn directed the then Commissioner for Chieftaincy Matters, Pastor Emeka Abugu to expedite action but Abugu allegedly reneged, paving the way for dissident groups of the community to avert the installation of the generally accepted traditional ruler of the community.
He noted that the traditional stool of Igga community was not hereditary but based on merit in conformity with the norms and values of Igga land, pointing out that few dissident groups sowing seeds of discord started calling for an election which was not the practice in the community for ages in the selection of monarch of the community.
Ukuta, however, expressed gratitude to Enugu state governor Hon. Ugwuanyi and the entire people of the state for the staff of office and certificate of recognition given to him as traditional ruler.
The monarch extended his hands of fellowship to all indigenes of the community and asked them to join hands with him and his cabinet to move the community forward. He promised that his position as traditional ruler would engender peace, unity and love in the entire community irrespective of individual differences.