The chairman of Ele Divisional Council of Chiefs in Ogu/Bolo Local Government Area of Rivers State has said that one Mr. Fred Tiene Itawo doesn't have birthright to become king in Ele Community saying he is not a “legitimate son” of the community.
Chief Stephen Omubo-Perefi who stated this at a press conference by people of ancient Ele Kingdom at Ancient Ele Town Square on Thursday said Fred Iyawo who wants to become king in Ele Community is not a member of the community and does not have right to chieftaincy or kingship in Ele Community.
Chief Omubo-Perefi said: “The man, Mr. Fred Tiene Iyawo is not an Ele man. This is going by the import of Okirika Native laws and customs which is applicable to every community in Okrika clan, Ele inclusive. It is in our customs and tradition that when a man marries a woman legally (Iyaa Marriage), all the offspring/children of the marriage belong to the man's family and they do not have any right of chieftaincy or kingship in the mother's family. Now the exception to this will be that during the marriage arrangements, the bride's family demands what is popularly referred to as “Nyengiju” (giving of the third child) from the groom's family and if it is so settled and agreed, then the third child from that marriage is usually given to the mother's family. This child is legitimate to inherit mother's heritage.
“Late Mrs. Christiana Ikoromasoma Iyawo (nee Tiene) aka Amba was the mother of Mr. Fred Tiene Iyawo. She was given to late Mr. Christian Potter Abaraboye Adikiowerima Iyawo of Chiri house in Ogu in “Iyaa” marriage. Her remains are in the land of Chiri house/compound (and) what was requested at that marriage was that the third child would be retained in Tiene's family who would have full rights and privileges in Tiene family. The persons so given is the Rev Potter Abaraboye Adikiewerima (Iyawo) and no other persons in addition.
From the foregoing, one would see that the making of Mr. Fred Tiene Iyawo as a chief was not a birthright allowed in Okirika custom and tradition. Therefore, Mr. Fred Tiene Iyawo of Chiri house, Ogu cannot today or tomorrow claim or indicate interest in the Amayanabo stool in the Ele Community because of the privilege given to him by his Tiene family”.
The chairman of Ele Divisional Council of chiefs said that the Amayanabo throne in Ele Community was already occupied by HRH Felix T. Okuru-Apina, Ele the VII, saying he was 'coronated' in line with customs and traditions of Wakirike.
He said the people of Ele Community pulled out of an arbitration paid headed by Rev. Potter Iyawo because they saw that they wanted to create more confusion in the bid to make peace between Ele Community and Fred Iyawo over the Amayanabo throne.
He said his people would remain peaceful but want justice and truth.
In his reaction, Mr. Fred Iyawo said it is not true that only one child would be given to mother's family saying that himself and two other siblings were given to his mother's father in Ele Community.
He said he became chief in Ele Kingdom in 2007 and Amayanabo in 2017 insisting that as Amayanabo, he should be addressed as HRH Fred Tiene Iyawo.
He said the coronation of HRH Felix Okuru-Apina was illegal, saying that he took the Amayanabo to court over the issue.