The Types Of Chiefs And Their Roles
Loosely defined, a chief is an individual who, by virtue of appointment or ancestry carry out designated duties in accordance with the traditions and customs of a community. In Idumuje-Ugboko, the chiefs are regarded as the representative of the people. They act as the eyes and the ears of the Obi and the medium of his extended authority at the grassroots level. The Obi appoints the chiefs, and most often, must follow laid-down customs.
There are precisely two forms of chieftaincy systems in Idumuje-Ugboko:
- The Palace chiefs
- The Onotu chiefs
The Palace Chiefs
The palace chiefs whose roles revolve around the palace are usually permanent ‘fixtures’ at the palace. The number of these chiefs are indeterminate. They are appointed at the discretion of the Obi.
Their primary roles are to:
- Settle trivial disputes e.g. slander
- Intervene in financial disputes
- Resolve adultery issues
- Adjudicate on minor disputes
The palace chiefs are appointed from the four villages. The constitution of the palace chiefs and the villages they come from is set out below.
The Onotu Chiefs
The Onotu chiefs are the bastions of traditionalism. They are regarded as the warriors of the community. The Iyase or Prime Minister heads this group. He is closely followed and supported by the Odogwu. Other designations within the Onotu chiefs are the Isama, the Ozar, and the Uwolo. A recent realignment within the palace chiefs necessitated the promotion of the following palace chiefs to the Onotu chiefs – the Ozoma, the Esogba, the Usuma, the Ogwude and the Obaseki.
The Onotu chiefs have sweeping powers. Their far-reaching powers include, but are not limited to:
- Arbitrating on land matters
- Intervening in situations that threaten life and/or property
- Overseeing changes to designated access route across farm tracks, streets or intra-town roads
The Onotu chiefs and the corresponding villages they come from are shown below.
HRH Chukwunonso Nwoko IV
The Obi Of Idumuje-Ugboko