Sunday, 18 March 2012

On Duty



What a busy busy day we had at the palace today. For me and my fellow Palace Council of Chiefs, it just seemed like one of those days, when the whole country seems to be quarrelling and falling out with each other over one thing or the other and insisting they want their case heard at the palace. It sometimes seems a complete disregard for our judicial system when people would not take the decisions of their family elders as final and request their day at the palace court. People sometimes forget we (His Majesty and the Council) have other things to do, worms to catch and all that (early birds catch the biggest worms).

Take for instance one of the cases before the council today, the young man who would not accept the verdict of members of his family to apologise to his dad for constant rudeness.  

Chief Iredia one of my fellow Palace chiefs, has three wives, the insolent young man in question Idu, is the first son of his first wife, he is however not the chief’s first son by Edo custom, his third wife had borne him a son whilst still his mistress and this child is older than him and therefore claims first son birthright.

It seems the possibility of losing a chieftaincy title to his sibling, quite upsets Idu and as such, he is frequently at loggerheads with his dad, showing utter disrespect and outright rudeness on most occasions. On several occasions, Chief Iredia had brought the matter before his own family members and local elders with a view to settling Idu’s gripes and talking some sense into him but all to no avail so far.  On this occasion, he had apparently slammed the door in his dad’s face. As a chief this could not go unpunished, Chief Iredia had therefore reported the matter to His Majesty. His Majesty had sent for Idu to present himself before the council before the sun came up the next morning.  

As it happened, Idu came before the Council with quite an attitude and a chip on his shoulders. The case presented therefore as  a straight forward one  on account of his demeanour  in the presence of the council; he had shown no remorse and seemed to fancy himself as not at fault; such contempt is frowned upon. On this occasion, we did not have to retire to deliberate on the matter; instead, a verdict was reached very quickly.  On account of his scornful behaviour in our presence, he was issued with a behaviour order. He is to call a meeting of his family elders, bring them a plate of kola nuts and publicly apologise to his dad for any distress he has caused him up till now. Any subsequent complaints from his dad would lead to harsher sanctions.  All penalty levied by the palace must be adhered to; there are no choices in the matter though one may appeal for the matter to be heard again in the light of any new evidence.   

You might be wondering if the above punishment is severe enough for Idu’s offense. Very much so; the reputation of a young unmarried man is at stake here, if he becomes known as a rude young man, very few families would allow their daughters to marry him and worse still he would never be given a position of responsibility in the city not to mention shuns from his mates, who would start to avoid him like the plague. No young man in their right mind aspires to such reputation. In Edo culture, it is better to be respected than rejected by all. 

We hope that Idu will now realise the danger of allowing his unhelpful behaviour to continue to get in the way of his relationship with his dad and that all hurt can be forgiven and laid to rest, now that his matter has escalated to the palace. A young man’s reputation is more important than any pride. If however, problems continue to occur, both parties are free at any time to put in a claim and all the evidence will be considered afresh.   

More cases later.

Oba Gha’to; Okpere!


Long Live the King!