Eleme (Rivers State) July 26, 2019
The people of Eleme kingdom, during an emergency general assembly on Thursday 25th July, 2019, condemned in its entirety the alleged attempt by its regent Emere Dr. Philip Obele to impose himself on the people of Eleme as the king of Eleme (Oneh-Eh Eleme XI).
They revealed that in Eleme custom and tradition when a king dies, the stool goes to the land priest till after the second memorial service of the late king, which is usually after a year of his death.
They alleged that Emere Dr Philip Obele took advantage of his appointment as the acting king of Eleme by the Rivers State Governor to make himself the Oneh-Eh Eleme XI. This is generating tension in the community and if not well managed,could lead to a split up of Eleme kingdom.
H.R.H Appolus Chu, the paramount ruler of Okori Eleme, a contestant for the same stool (Oneh-Eh Eleme XI) in his address to the people at his palace advised the people to toe the line of peace, and respect and protect the culture of Eleme in their bid to enthrone a new king.
According to him, any kingship selection process in any kingdom that disregards the tradition, norms and values of its people could best be described as a ‘rape’ of the people’s culture, a situation, he said, could rob a community of its peace and unity.
He said that the people of Eleme had for some time now engaged measures towards a peaceful enthronement of a new king to fill the vacant position of the Oneh-Eh Eleme XI following the demise of the last ruler His Majesty S.O Ejire in Dec. 2018.
It will be recalled that H.R.H Dr Philip Obele was named the Regent of Eleme on Jan. 10, 2019 by the state Governor Nysom Wike during the burial of Late King Samuel Ejire, the last Oneh-Eh Eleme.
The governor’s appointment had raised eyebrows as stakeholders of the kingdom considered the office of a regent in the Eleme leadership hierarchy as alien to the custom and tradition of Eleme, that the Land-Priest of Agbonchia, Prince Obo Abbey was the only eligible person to take charge of the kingdom pending the selection/election and crowning of a new king.
H.R.H Appolus Chu explained that in line with the tradition and kingship nomination calendar of Eleme culture, the other three aspirants contesting with H.R.H Philip Obele for the kingship stool should have been informed and should have participated in the selection/election process, which also should have come at the right time. They were never informed and the entire process was secretively carried out.
“What Philip Obele did by gathering few of his friends at the Eleme Market Roundabout to act and make the unsuspecting public believe he has been duly selected as our king was indeed laughable.
“We were four aspirants interested in the throne of the king of Eleme kingdom; Paul Obele, (my humble self) Appolus Chu, Bebe Okpabe and Philip Obele,
“If the selection was anything to go by, all the four aspirants would have been informed, but, I wasn’t informed, my palace and secretariat were open yet no such memo or information came in.
“The big questions are “which of the clan heads actually selected Dr Philip Obele as he so claimed and why the hurry, why at Eleme Market Roundabout rather than at the Eleme town hall as had been the practice?
“Why this emptiness, lack of inclusion, and sidelining of key players and stakeholders? Why the anger on the faces of our youths and residents of Eleme over this kangaroo selection process?
“As long as I and my people are concerned, we are yet to conclude the process, what Philip Obele did on Wednesday July 10 at Eleme Market Roundabout in the name of kingship selection was a sham orchestrated by desperate minds,” he said.
The people of Eleme advised the state governor not to issue a certificate of recognition to H.R.H Dr Philip Obele as his selection process has largely been rejected and declared null and void by the Eleme people. The people of Eleme- men, women, elders, youth and stakeholders, never met in the town hall to deliberate and select/elect their king, which is what the custom and tradition say.
Efforts made to reach H.R.H Dr. Philip Obele to react on the matter proved abortive.