The Ruler ‘Onojie’ in Esan Tradition.
-The Coronation of the Onojie of Urohi by Prince Kelly O. Udebhulu.
Today, 26 day of January, 2019, the Kingdom of Urohi in Esan west local government of Edo state, Nigeria, trado-politically witnessed the coronation and presentation of Staff of Office by the state governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, to the new king, popularly known as “Onojie” in Esan dialect and tradition.
Urohi Kingdom has common boundaries with Ekpoma on the North, Ujiogba on the South-East both in Esan west local government, Uhi/ Ugieghudu on the South both in Uhumwode local government of Edo state. Politically, Urohi is ward 8 in Esan west local government of Edo central senatorial district of Edo state. Around twelve kilometers away from Ekpoma, the headquarter of Esan west local government.
An Onojie or traditional ruler according to Esan tradition is defined as an individual who, by virtue of his ancestry, occupies a ‘sacred stool’ of a community and this person will be selected to it in accordance with the traditions and customs of the Esan community. Simply put, he is the traditional leader of a specific traditional community across Esanland who exercises authority over a number of inhabitants of the area in accordance with customary law of a defined jurisdiction.
According to the Traditional Rulers and Chiefs Law as enacted on the 24 day of August, 1979; the Law in its preliminary sections defined a Traditional Ruler as “the traditional head of an ethnic unit or clan who is for the time being the holder of the highest traditional authority within the ethnic unit or clan and whose title is recognized as a traditional ruler by the Government of the state”.
Importantly, to ascend to the throne, this individual must be the heir apparent to the throne being the Crown Prince who is traditionally the first biological male child of the present Onojie whose by nature call, joins his ancestor. Simply put, the Onojie as the ruler of the community derives his traditional position by right of being the first son in the royal lineage. The Onojie’s stool is inherited through kinship ties according to the Esan tradition. It doesn’t deviate away from the kingship’s lineage, if it happens, it is an extraordinary circumstance.
This person has traditional authority over the people who live in that community. He regulates the social behaviour within the community that he has control over. An onojie is not in control of service delivery as it is the local government’s responsibility.
However, an Onojie performs a wide range of functions for his community, ranging from providing safety and security, safeguarding tribal sovereignty, allocating and distributing land and settling land disputes, providing spiritual leadership and the administration of justice among his people.
Conclusively, Urohi Kingdom thanks everyone that contributed to the success of this great coronation ceremony and would remain grateful to you all.