When Two Nnewi “Elephants” Fought, The Nnewi “Grasses” Suffered
Peaceful co-existence is an ingredient for progress and prosperity when there is peace in a society, things fall into place. The progress that will invade that particular Community will appear contagious but in the real sense, it’s the teamwork that peace will bring among the inhabitants of the society that will culminate into visible progress.
In remembrance of the International Day of Living Together in Peace celebrated every 16th of May. We will celebrate the peace the People of Nnewi enjoy, while we remind ourselves of how we came to enjoy the peace that we currently enjoy as a people.
How It All Began;
All the habitats of Nnewi have been always known to be living in peace and harmony from the with each other from the days of Ikenga. For Ages, Nnewi people were known for their hospitality, friendliness and peaceful co-existence.
While Isu was in power as the first son of Ikenga, internal wars were non-existence. Though they had issues among themselves; such issues have been always resolved amicably, among themselves without external influence.
Nnewi crisis started in 1986 , the crisis emanated from controversies surrounding the parts that make up Nnewi and autonomy , the controversies surrounding who the ruling class were, Controversies surrounding the power of the three non-crowned Obis, Controversies surrounding the concept of Agbanano and people who are their supposed members, the last but not the least, the controversies surrounding the use of Aba Ogwe Staff plus other internal issues.
Efforts were made by some governmental bodies and individuals to restore peace in Nnewi. When the crisis became critical and unending, the Anambra State Government had to intervene by setting up two committees, the committees were; Nnewi Peace Committee under the Chairmanship of His Lordship, Rt. Rev. L.M. Uzodike, the Retired Bishop of the Niger and The the Nnewi Drafting Committee under the chairmanship of Rt. Hon. Dr. A.A Nwafor Orizu, the first president of the Nigerian Senate.
These two committees took a bold step with all sense of devotion and patriotism. They devised strategies and means to tackle the problem from the grassroots. All their efforts seem to be futile as some centrifugal forces maneuvered, pervaded and manipulated the Peace Committee.
When the Government sensed what had happened, they suspended their progress file. A letter was forwarded to Anambra State Government by the Peace Committee chairman which was totally unacceptable by Government.
It was made clear to the Government that the Nnewi crisis can never be resolved so long as there is disunity among the ruling class in Nnewi which are the Otolos. The Government decided to direct their efforts and energy towards wading off Otolo dispute which has its bone of contention between two families ;
Onyebuchi/Orizu family represented by Igwe K.O.N. Orizu 111 and Nwakanwa/Nwosu Family represented by Chief B.C. Nwosu (Dike Anagbalu Izu).
Rt. Hon. Dr. A.A Nwafor Orizu succeeded in bringing all the Nnofor village in the Royal Palace of the Obi Nnewi for the “Unification Ceremony” where both families accepted the peace initiatives brought up by a 20-man committee which was headed by the Obi of Mbanagu Otolo, Chief B.C. Ugochukwu (Eze Nwa mmadu).
The peace progress made by the Committee was boosted by the role of two eminent sons of Otolo, Chief Augustine Ilodibe (Ekenedilichukwu) and Chief Prof. AB.C. Nwosu, the Anambra State Commissioner for Health. This ceremony marked a step towards lasting peace in Nnewi Community.