Finally, Obi Okonjo II Takes Possession of 150-year-old Ogwashi-Uku Palace

todayFebruary 12, 2022 1

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Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba

Traditional ruler of Ogwashi-Uku, Aniocha South Local Government Area of Delta State, HRM Obi Ifechukwude Aninsi Okonjo II, has taken formal possession of the ancient palace of the kingdom which has been under legal contention for decades.

This followed a judicial Certificate of Final Possession issued to the Ogwashi-Uku royal family by the law courts based on the 2007 judgement of the Supreme Court granting the Umu-Obahai Ruling Family of Ogwashi-Uku the ownership rights of the ancient palace.

Although the Supreme Court judgement was given in 2007, verdict on the final appeal was given in October 2021, the monarch told journalists yesterday at his palace in Ogwashi-Uku on the 7th February 2022 execution of the court order.
The final possession of the ancient palace brings to an end the 36 years legal tussle between the traditional family of Umudei and the royal family of Umuoba Obahai, the age-long custodians of the Ogwashi-Uku stool.

Obi Okonjo II, however, denied certain reports especially in the social media that he had stormed Ogwashi-Uku with a horde of heavily armed security operatives to take over the ancient palace, which had not been occupied by his predecessor on the throne, the late Obi (Prof) Benjamin Chukwuka Anisin Okonjo, because there was a usurpation that lasted for more than 100 (one hundred) years.

He said that the police were compelled to get reinforcement to take over the ancient palace simply because a group of persons, mainly youths, who were armed with dangerous weapons, had attempted to prevent the court bailiffs from executing the Warrant of Possession from the courts in Asaba.
“What happened was that on the 7th February, 2022, legal officers from the courts, specifically bailiffs from Asaba, came to Ogwashi-Uku for an execution ordered by the courts. There was a Warrant of Possession for the ancient palace of Ogwashi-Uku.

“The family was in a legal tussle for 23 years with Umudei, who are our relatives. In 2007, a judgement was given by the late Justice Osaji; and, that judgement gave the rulership of Ogwasi-Uku to Umuoba Obahai Royal Family. Specifically, there was a Warrant of Possession given as far back as 2007.

“We could have executed that warrant at the time. However, the sleeping Obi, late Prof. Chukwuka Aninsi Okonjo I, felt that it would be premature to do that since the people had a right of appeal. They subsequently went to the Court of Appeals.”
He said that the Umudei family proceeded to the Supreme Court after again failing at the appellate court between 2009 and 2010.

“They appealed to Supreme Court and the case was held on 1st November, 2021. The Supreme Court, led by Justice Mary Odili, delivered a judgment dismissing their appeal to the Apex Court,” the Ogwashi-Uku monarch explained, noting that the Umudei family was asked to hand over “all the symbols, emblems as well as property belonging to Royal Family, including the old palace,” to the Umuoba-Obahai (Okonjo) family.
Nevertheless, the Ogwashi-Uku king said that there was no cause for alarm as he will continue to regard all the people, including the litigants and appellants as one under the Ogwashi-Uku kingdom, assuring that he has not derailed from the socio-economic blueprint he promised his people at his coronation.

Obi Okonjo II, who also noted that the over 150 years old palace was in a deplorable state with significant encroachment on the palace grounds, hinted at an elaborate reconstruction and expansion plan that would give Ogwashi-Uku a modern and befitting palace.

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todayFebruary 12, 2022

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