By Tony Eluemunor
Many readers have bombarded me with requests for an update on the boy king, Obi Chukwuka Noah Akaeze of Ubulu-Uku kingdom. On this, Mr. Malachy Uzendu, the Editor of the Authority newspaper stands out. He phoned me several times to ask for what he called the revelation of the present status of the “World’s Youngest Monarch.”
He added that the king should be told that his influence reaches beyond the Ubulu-Uku, Aniocha LGA, Delta State vicinity, as the good wishes of all people of goodwill accompanies him all through life.
On one occasion, he reminded me that the dastardly kidnapping and murder of the boy-king’s father makes it imperative that the story of the development of the Obi Akaeze into a man is kept in the public space just to show that the forces of darkness did not prevail over good. I totally agreed with him, yet…yet there were a lot of other things to consider. First and foremost is the safety of the boy-king and his immediate family members.
The king’s father had been kidnapped and was taken into a forest where he was murdered. Seven years down the line, the trial of the suspected kidnappers has been going on in fits and starts. This year alone, it has been mentioned just twice in court; in February and June, and on both occasions was adjourned without any hearing.
It will come up again on 3rd of November. If for any reason, yes, any reason, it will be adjourned on that November date and to a 2023 date, it will mean that nothing was heard in court about that case all through year 2022.
So, nobody will blame Obi Akaeze for being circumspect about his affairs. Yet, early this month, he not only stepped out of his cocoon of safety and comfort where he lives in the United Kingdom, to honour an invitation of Ubulu-Uku people in the United States of America.
The young Chukwuka Noah Ofulue was just 17 when his father became a victim of murder most foul. He was in secondary school for crying out loud. Yet, as he was the first son of the murdered Obi, he was called upon to take his place in the circle of life by succeeding his father as the occupant of the revered throne of Ubulu-Uku; a throne that is traced without any doubt to the much-storied enigmatic man called Ezemu. Every community in the Aniocha North and South Local Government Areas of Delta State have their stories about the feats of Ezemu. Ezemu as a name is still relevant and revered among the Binis even today.
Well, the boy who became king of Ubulu-Uku seven years ago, is now a strapping young man. His height, well over six feet tall, is intimidating. In those seven years, he gained admission into a university, studied law on Delta State scholarship, and after that he set about studying for his Master’s degree in the same field of Law.
When he was graduating as a first degree student, and I mentioned that fact, many Ubulu-Uku people resident in the UK wanted me to name the university and the date so that they would swarm the university to tell the king that he would never walk alone. But I was advised against doing that for security reasons.Then on the 3rd of September, the “Apkele wind-instrument peculiar and special to the Anioma people of Delta State sounded and resounded in Atlanta, the capital of the state of Georgia, USA.
The Apkele? Yes, but unfortunately I know of no English translation for it. You may equate “Uboh with a guitar, and the “Egede is just a drum, but the Apkele? It is peculiar to the Anioma people and its sound rouses the people to almost a frenzy. That my Anioma people have been martial by nature (please remember the Ekumeku War, the first open rebellion against British colonialism in Africa and it lasted close to 30 years) is a given.
And if I get the story right, Ubulu-Uku was about the last Aniocha town to fall. Also, before the civil war, the Aniomas dominated the officer cadre of the Nigerian Army (with eight colonels). The role of Apkele alone in helping the Ekumeku heroes square up against the British, despite being out-gunned, for three decades, needs to be looked into.
The boy who became king at age 17 is now 24 years old. The school boy of seven years ago, now has a first and second degrees in law in his pocket. He is ready to take on the world. His attendance at the USA convention of the Ubulu-Uku Development Union, was a coming out of sorts. Watching video clips of the king at that even, I kept remembering Diana Ross’s first solo music album; The Boss. A track there announced: “Coming, I’m coming out, I want the world to know, got to let it show.
Yes, the boy-king of seven years ago is now a man formidable in stature, learning and character. And the Ubulu-Uku people at the Atlanta event testified to that. But Nigeria has to show that it is a country under the rule of law and not a jungle by concluding the trial of those suspected to have a hand in the murder of the Obi of Ubulu, seven years ago.