Genuine Igbo Leaders, Stakeholders and Residents were last week enraged with anger, following what many described as shameful debasing and distortion of cherished Igbo tradition and cultural by few Igbo “Shylocks and Judases” in Lagos state, who have for the sake of stomach infrastructure, commercialized the hitherto respected Eze Ndigbo title in diaspora, allegedly, selling such title to rich fraudster, armed robbers and drug barons for selfish reasons.
This controversial incident was the alleged coronation on Sunday 12th, November 2023, by Chief Sunday Udeh,a factional President General of the Crisis ridden Igbo Speaking Community in Lagos , who was said to have single handedly ferried a controversial Igbo business Man, High Chief Prosper Chukwuemeka Chukwuka, also known as “Ogbuagu”, to his obscure office located at 6, Anjorin street, Lawanson, and coronated him amidst protest by notable Igbo Leaders,stakeholders and residents, as a new Eze Ndigbo in Festac town, after allegedly extorting and or collecting the sum of N2million from him.
Some of the protesting Igbo stakeholders, Leaders and residents, expressed regrets over what they described as an ugly situation and explained the implications.
Spearheading the protests is a renowned lawyer and notable Igbo Leader and former President of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Lagos State, Barrister Fabian Onwuhalu, who in his statement made available to our Correspondent, stated thus: “THE VERY HIGHLY RESPECTED AND REVERED EZENDIGBO HAS BEEN THROWN TO THE MUD BY CHIEF SUNDAY UDEH WHOSE TURBULENT AND CONTROVERSIAL TENURE ENDS IN FEW MONTHS. I weep for the unparalleled greed of the Igbo nation.”
Calling for a mass protest against Chief Udeh and his Ezeship candidate, High Chief Chukwuka, Barrister Onwuhalu in collaboration with some Igbo residents,who created a WhatsApp group for the purpose of the protests, alleging that they were duped by Chief Chukwuka, said thus: “A FACTION OF IGBO SPEAKING COMMUNITY LED BY ONE CHIEF SUNDAY UDEH WANT TO INSTALL THE NOTORIOUS FRAUDSTER MR. PROSPER CHUKWUMA AS EZENDIGBO OF FESTAC TOWN TOMORROW… AT HIS HOUSE AT Q CLOSE, HOUSE 7, FESTAC BY 7AM, As Chief Sunday Udeh was deceived that Mr. Prosper Chukwuma is a genuine businessman, let us come out enmass to protest at the entrance of Q Close by 7am to stop installing 419er as our Ezendigbo to save the already battered image of Ndigbo in Lagos State. #athiefisathief# #prosperisafraudster##athiefcannotbeoureze#.”
Barrister Onwuhalu in another statement Stated that : “Chief Sunday Udeh has finally desecrated the age long traditional institution of Eze in Lagos State by installing a known notorious fraudster as Ezendigbo in Festac Town on 12/11/23 due to his insatiable appetite for ill-gotten money. The man who was purportedly erroneously crowned in a hidden area somewhere in Lawanson Area, Surulere very far away from Festac where he resides, has duped many Igbo people in Festac and other areas in Lagos State. He is a regular guest at various police stations and commands, as well as the EFCC and Anti-Fraud units in Lagos State, courtesy of his dubiety.”
“Precisely, on my clients’ instructions I wrote petitions against the man to EFCC and the AIG FCID, Alagbon, Ikoyi Lagos State wherein he was detained recently, while the investigation is still ongoing. Infact, at Alagbon FCID, I witnessed a barrage of about ten other victims who trooped in to be joined in the investigation. Among them was a woman who was defrauded of several sets of her Brazilian Hair ,which the man procured on credit for the wife, but refused to pay the poor woman. However, the wife who was physically present ,was ordered to pay for the wigs or else she too would be detained and she complied almost immediately and paid the poor widow.”
“The total sum defrauded the victims mainly of Igbo extraction was almost a hundred million naira including the sum of about sixteen million naira (N16,000,000.00) value of bounced cheques issued to Chief Frank Ufoegbunam, a chieftain of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Amuwo Odofin LGA in a business transaction. Presently, the victims of the rogue Eze numbering over one hundred people including Ndigbo who live in diaspora have established a WhatsApp platform to recover their stolen money.”
“It is trite to note that some of his fraudulent activities are already in court meaning that he may be sentenced to terms of imprisonment soon. The corruption in the Police Force has been shielding this fraudster as he spends most of the fraudulent income to service the protection by the very senior police officers in Festac Area and Zone 2 commands and FCID Alagbon which has made his prosecution seem like passing a Carmel through the eye of the needle. The said police in order to fortify him more against the wrat of his victims deployed combatant and battle ready mobile policemen who guard the notorious fraudster 24×7 hours.”
“These facts were brought to the notice of Chief Sunday Udeh repeatedly by me on 10th & 11th November, 2023 upon which he assured me that the known wayo man will not be Ezendigbo, but was however sceptical about the Two Million Naira already collected from the man which he did not want to return.”
“Presently, the man in his characteristic manner is billed to bribe one Ezigbo in Kirikiri, Eze Anthony Elui,this evening to endorse the abomination orchestrated by Chief Sunday Udeh. I shall forward the messages from the WhatsApp platform set up by the victims which I sent to Chief Sunday Udeh and other Stakeholders”.
Some of the Whatsapp chats culled from the alleged fraud victims of Chief Chukwuka, as forwarded by Barrister Fabian Onwugha to our Correspondent, reads: “Address 1st Avenue Q close house 7 please 🙏 let’s be there on time”;
“My people even thieftency title he took is not recognized, it was given to him by one fraudster chief.”;
“Oga I will call you he will soon be prison”;
” Do know the big Igbo people that’s in Festac, any body can claim Igwe or Ezendigbo in Lagos”.;
“Please can we invite press to come over.”;
” Please sir this a platform for the 419man advice me.”;
“Please 🙏 what is the next action.”;
” Mobilise them to call the press and be there in time”.;
“The man cannot be Eze in Festac or anywhere in Lagos State. Happy Sunday.”;
” These are the messages forwarded to me from the platform of all those people in Festac duped by Mr. Prosper.”;
“Please 🙏 let’s call press to be there on time“.”
Not spearing some alleged collaborators of Chief Sunday Udeh’s in the alleged untoward Ezeship coronation, Barrister Onwuhalu lashed at an Oriade LCDA Igbo Leader Nze Edwin Egboka, alias “EZEZIOKWU”, Saying thus:
“And 1 am ashamed that you, the Chairman of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Oriade LCDA is fraternising with a notorious 419er just because of money not minding that to your knowledge, he had duped one of your stakeholders Chief Frank Ufoegbunam and in your fraternity with the known wayo man you had not bothered to use your position to compel him to refund the over N16,000,000.00 (Sixteen Million) to Chief Frank Ufoegbunam.”
“How do you care for the interest of your members who have been duped by Fraudster vis-a-vis your relationship with Mr. Prosper? Happy Sunday.” This is the message I sent to Ohanaeze Chairman Oriade LCDA”, Barrister Onwuhalu said.
On the legality of his public statements against Chief Udeh and Chief Chukwuka, the fiery human right lawyer, Barrister Onwuhalu, said thus : “What I have started here is the truth and I stand by it. I am even contemplating going to court to stop the man from so acting and parading himself as Ezendigbo. He can go to court if he thinks he has any modicum of integrity and character to protect”.
Throwing his weight on Barrister Onwuhalu’s campaign against the alleged shameful coronation, another notable leader, an APC Chieftain and Eze Ndigbo in Ikeja, Lagos, Eze Uche Dimgba, popularly known as Okpotemba, expressed his solidarity to Onwuhalu while condemning the bastardization of revered Igbo Culture of Eze Ndigbo in diaspora, saying;
“Chief Sunday Udeh does not have any legitimate or good means of livelihood.That is why he is creating confusion and causing problem everywhere.Whereever Ohanaeze Ndigbo crowns an Eze Ndigbo, Udeh will go there to coronate his own.Funny enough, Chief Sunday Udeh did not win the Igbo Speaking Community election as President General but we supported him after he promised and assured me, Stakeholders and other Igbo Leaders that he will cease causing confusion amongst Igbo groups and stop coronation of Diaspora Eze Ndigbo in Lagos state, with out express permission and consultation with principal stakeholder,Igbo Leaders”.
Eze Okpotemba, regretted that despite all the warnings, Chief Udeh has flagrantly disregarded it and went ahead to be crowning people indiscriminately, thereby desecrating the culture of Igbo people, just because of his stomach infrastructure.
Lamenting , Chief Frank Ufoegbunam, the Chairman of Frank Ufo Motors and Investment Company Nigeria Limited, who confirmed that he is One of the alleged victims of Chief Chukwuka, claimed that he was defrauded of N15.3 million by Chief Prosper Chukwuka, said thus:
“This man, Prosper Chukwuka Chukwuemeka wanted to collapse my business, he is a criminal,he duped many people, mostly Igbo People.He is not surposed to be an Igbo Man, from the way he is acting.I have other people he duped and because of him,we formed a WhatsApp platform called,” Prosper Chukwuemeka Chukwuka Victims”.
Narrating his Ordeal in the hands of Prosper Chukwuka, Chief Ofoegbunam said: “As a business man, Prosper Chukwuka Chukwuemeka approached me to assist him to supply him with some building materials, because then, he was into construction.He issued three different cheques to me, totalling over N11 million but shockingly the cheques bounced because there were dud cheques.I have reported him to many police stations, including Panti CID, Yaba, and even went to Abuja but Prosper continued to block his prosecution by settling the police, he is even moving with police escorts. Like I said, Iam not the only one he defrauded, some of my colleagues have taken him to court”.
However, our Correspondent reported that Chief Prosper Chukwuka, had during his visit to Eze Elui house, alleged that Chief Ofoegbunam was owing him N12 million, he challenged Eze Ndigbo in Oriade to invite Ofoegbunam for confrontation there, which never happened because Ofoegbunam allegedly declined at the instance of his Lawyer.
Bemoaning what he called charades by Charlatans masquerading as king Makers and Igbo group leaders, a fore most member of the Igbo Speaking Community, Chief Donatus Emeka Nwoke, lambasted Chief Sunday Udeh’s penchant for creating confusion with his selfish and worthless coronation of fake Ezes in Lagos state.
“Can you imagine that the news is everywhere that Chief Udeh collected N2 million for this nonsense fake coronation, while the so called Eze Ndigbo that was said to have arranged Igbo Leaders Lampoon Chief Sunday Udeh Led Igbo Speaking Community, Over Alleged Fraudulent Sale Of Festac Ezendigbo Title To Suspected Fraudsterg coronation, took N5 million and N650,000 as logistics. Also Shameful and degrading was the fact that one of the oldest Eze Ndigbo in Lagos, Eze Anthony Elui,of Amuwo Odofin LGA, whose territory was beingg fragmented and who by virtue of his age, should know better, but he chose to soil his hands by collecting gift or bribe of one goat, kolanuts and money”, Nwoke alleged.
Chief Nwoke, also called on Igbo Speaking Community stakeholders to come out enmass to condemn the distortion of Igbo Cultural heritage and vote out Chief Udeh, in the forth coming election of a new President General of the Igbo Speaking Community in Lagos.
When Eze Elui was contacted on the telephone for comment, he became harsh, hostile and cursing the moment the reporter asked about the controversial Ezeship in Festac, saying ” what?, who are you?, please don’t call me on phone again next time, I don’t know you, don’t call me if you are a journalist,I don’t know your voice and you are asking questions,who are you…, he started cursing…”.
However, Eze Augustine Sunday Ojukwu, Eze Udo 11 of Amuwo Odofin, was said to have been matured in his approach, but condemned those destroying Igbo cultural heritage and tradition because of peanuts .He was reported to have said that he was reviewing Chukwuka Festac Ezeship situation with members of his cabinet and would come up with decision soon, as Festac directly falls under Ezeship jurisdiction.
All efforts to contact and get the side of Chief Chukwuka was not successful as at the time of going to press, however Chief Udeh, had in response to the criticisms,stated that he was not aware of all the fraud related issues around Chief Chukwuka.
He was quoted to have said: “I didn’t know Chief Prosper Chukwuka before now.it was Eze Ndigbo in Ijegun/Ijedodo, Eze Chika Nwokedi that brought him to me for coronation as Eze Festac and I suggested Lagos Island, which is vast free of Eze Ndigbo now, the man agreed, but later he came back, insisting on Festac.Besides, Iam not the police, security agency or court to determine who is a criminal.If they have issues of crime with him, they should go to the appropriate authorities “, he said.
Indeed,this type of controversial installation mess and show of shame, investigations have revealed, was created when rivalry over which association is the authentic Igbo group entitled to coronate Diaspora Eze Ndigbo in Lagos state erupted some years ago, between the Igbo Speaking Community, Ohanaeze Ndigbo Lagos State and other mushrooms Igbo groups , which was said to have been ignited by greed.
At present, Ezeship coronation in Lagos state,is a free for all, as different individuals, groups are laying claims to the power of installation, moving from house to house for the highest bidders.
No doubt, this craze to Coronate Diaspora Ezes in every nook and cranny of Lagos, is obvious with the alarming numbers of Igbo men without visible sources of income and livelihoods, who are parading themselves in cheap long flowing attires and long beads,as Eze Ndigbo in Lagos state.
Similar controversy over Eze Ndigbo reared its ugly head last weekend , November 11, 2023, in Oriade LCDA of the State following the power tussle between two Ezes crowned in the same LCDA.
An online Newspaper report, had it that the Nigeria Police Force averted bloodshed at Safaya Event Center in Oriade LCDA following the intervention of the Chairman Council of Ndieze, Lagos State, Eze Chika Nwokedi.
The battle the newspaper said, was between Eze Emmanuel Chukwuakalikamadu and Eze Umenwekwe Chukwukadibia, who are laying claims as the authentic Ezendigbo in Oriade LCDA, which has been the bone of contention.
The newspaper publication stated thus: “Trouble was said to have started after Eze Chukwukadibia fixed his Ofala and New Yam festival at Safaya Event Center close to the palace of Eze Chukwuakalikamadu, who had insisted that he is the only Eze Ndigbo in Oriade LCDA.”
“It was gathered that three days to the event, Eze Chukwuakalikamadu wrote a petition to the Area Commander, FESTAC Command that there will be serious trouble if Chukwukadibia holds the event, which could lead to bloodshed in the area because his group will disrupt the event.”
“Follow the report, the Area Commander summoned the owner of the event center and ordered him to cancel the event while forcing him to sign an undertaking that the event has been called off.”
“However, Eze Chukwukadibia had made arrangements and spent huge sums of money in preparation for the event. In the morning of the day of the event, the threat was real and he was ordered to cancel the event.”
“Thus, Chukwukadibia contacted Eze Nwokedi, who is the Chairman of Ndieze and Special Guest of the occasion, who in turn contacted the Police high authorities and Police officers were mobilized to the venue and the event was eventually held but by then many invited guests had stayed away.”
“When our reporter contacted Eze Chukwuakalikamadu, he confirmed that he actually mobilized to stop the event before the Police high authorities mobilized officers to the venue and the event was finally held very late.”
“On why he chose to do such a thing bearing in mind that Eze Chukwukadibia had already spent huge sums of money in preparations for the event, he explained that he had consistently said it that Chukwukadibia is not a King in Oriade and does not live in Oriade under Amuwo Odofin LCDA.”
“He explained that Eze Chukwukadibia lives in Ilufe area of Ojo LCDA and there was no way he will come to Oriade LCDA to be a King and that it is not acceptable by Ohanaeze Ndigbo and stakeholders in Oriade LCDA.”
“If he is claiming to be a King, he should go to Ojo, where he lives and we cannot accept such here because I am the only recognized Ezendigbo in Oriade LCDA” he stated.
“On the part of Eze Chukwukadibia, he insisted that he is the only authentic Eze in Oriade LCDA and that he was crowned Ezendigbo after some years before Eze Chukwuakalikamadu began to lay claim to be Eze Ndigbo in Oriade”.
“He explained that he was duly recognized by Ezendigbo, Lagos State, Eze Christian Uchechukwu Nwachukwu, king makers led by Chief John Uche, Ohanaeze Ndigbo and Igbo Speaking Community in Lagos State and he has certificate of recognition for it.”
The newspaper findings revealed that both Eze Chukwukadibia and Eze Chukwuakalikamadu have certificates of recognition from both Ohanaeze Ndigbo and the Igbo Speaking Community as Ezendigbo in Oriade LCDA.
It was obvious that the confusion was caused by Ohanaeze Ndigbo and the Igbo Speaking Community, which crowned two Ezes in one LCDA.
It was gathered that it is not only in Oriade LCDA that the Igbo Speaking Community and Ohanaeze Ndigbo had caused the confusion of crowning more than one of controversial Ezendigbo in a given LCDA.
It was said to cut across every other LCDA in the State including Alimosho, Mushin, Osolo/Oshodi, Ojo, Badagry, Eti-Osa, Lagos Island and among others.