ASABA CUSTOM IN GRAVE DANGER – AS A DIOKPA’S BONA FIDE RIGHTS ARE THREATHENED
The first son born to any man in Asaba (as indeed to any man in Ibo Land) is known as the Diokpa/Diokpala. Such a son enjoys the pre-eminent status of being the primary heir of the man in the event of the man’s death whence he will be immediately saddled with enormous responsibility including ensuring a befitting burial for the deceased and therefore taking care of all the family members including his father’s widow(s) and all his siblings. The rights, privileges, responsibilities and significant role of the first son in the family are collectively called primogeniture. Our apex court confirmed that the Diokpa/Diokpala is the primus inter pares – i.e. the first amongst equals just as the land tenure law remains that any sale of family property without the consent of the first son is totally null and void.
A CASE STUDY OF LATE CHIEF DR. SONNY I. ODOGWU IDE AHABA
- The historic city of Asaba in Delta State of Nigeria is blessed with many heroes, dead and alive. Among these is the unmistakable star and business magnate, the consummate commercial tactician and boardroom strategist, Chief Dr. Sonny Iwedike Odogwu, who, until his death in November 2018, held the coveted title of Ide Ahaba of Asaba.
- The late Chief was a family man who acknowledged paternity of all his children inclusive of those born to him before his celebrated marriage in 1962. He openly acknowledged all of his children before his kith and kin in Asaba. Hence, there was no content when the first son of his loins, Ogbueshi Capt. Jimmy Nnamdi Ikemefuna Odogwu, a retired American trained commercial pilot, was traditionally regaled by the natives, with the customary white headband and white feather, exclusively worm by the acknowledged first born son of the deceased for the traditional funeral rites. All the children of the deceased openly queued behind the new family head.
- Trouble started when without the consent of Ogbueshi Nnamdi Robert Odogwu (Diokpa) the family of late Ide Alaba published an official announcement of the glorious exist of Chief Sonny Iwedike Odogwu and signed on behalf of the family. See page 45 of Vanguared Newspaper November 21, 2018. The publication caused great uproar and embarrassment to the family and to the town in general as everyone who cares knows who the Diokpa The anomaly was corrected after all by the publication by the rightful Diokpa. See page 44 of the Punch Newspaper of January 18, 2019.
- Sadly, this same family head, Ogbueshi Capt. Jimmy Nnamdi Ikemefuna Odogwu has become the victim of uncanny plots and open death wish. The latest being an attempts to lure the state to prosecute him alongside other relations over unfounded and spurious allegations of heinous crimes. This gentle man has been traumatized and dehumanized simply because he is the first in line to the vast estate of the late Ide Ahaba.
- The truth of the matter is that the position of Diokpa in a family is not open for contest as the choice of the candidate for that position remains exclusively with God. If the truth should be told, there is clear twelve years gap between the two claimants being that the family records confirm the birth of Captain Nnamdi Jimmy Odogwu to be in 1950 and that of Kenny Odogwu to be in 1962. Once paternity is acknowledged, the issue of who is the Diokpa in Asaba custom remains WHEN AND NOT HOW the son is born with the doctrine of priority in full application i.e. the first in time is stronger at law.
- The serial gang up against the bona fide Diokpa, the trumped up criminal charges against him, the determined threats of assassination as well as the several court suits instituted against him, all constitute great abomination and terrible scandal of the family and desecration of the norms, traditions and customs of our ancient Asaba town. Moreover, these actions go to publicize the total absence of social, cultural and moral rectitude of the perpetrators. Whilest surrendering our lives to God, we wish to put the general public and the security against on notice on who to hold responsible should anything unto ward happen to us or any member of our own immediate family.
- All overtures by the Diokpa to harmonize the family and carry every member along have been serially and arrogantly thwarted by late Chief Sonny Odogwu’s immediate family for reasons best known to them and has opted for a destructive path for the family thus bringing avoidable bitterness, division and shame not only to the family but also to the town.
Take notice that the probate registries at Asaba Delta State and Lagos state have lodged caveats, prohibiting the grant of letter of administration in respect of the interstate properties of late Chief Dr. Sonny Odogwu to anybody without the consent of Ogbueshi Capt. Jimmy Nnamdi Odogwu the incumbent family head. The general public is hereby wanted in their best interest to desist from all illegal transactions without the consent of the family head, to avoid unpleasant legal consequences.
Ogbueshi Capt. Nnamdi Robert Ikemefuna Odogwu
Eldest Son (Diokpa) of Late Ide Ahaba
FOR THE FAMILY