Opinion

How One Eh Eta Functions In Eleme Communities

The traditional structure of the family unit is replicated at the town level thereby instituting many offices which include One-Nkiken, One Eh Eta, One Nkporon, Okwunyoa, Okwunkporon, Okwuegbara and Mbaeta.

The function of One Eh Eta (Paramount Ruler) is mainly administration and consists of matrimonial complaints, legitimacy of children and relationship with other communities. Oneh Eh Eta presides over certain aspects of yam title ceremonies marriage and the issue of authority for the burial of the dead.

He presides over the customary judicial session called Owenkporon which handles more sensitive and critical cases. Oneh Eh Eta is the head of the delegation of Okwnkporon while attending the meeting of the Nkporon Nchia or Nkporon Eleme. Oneh Eh Eta after due consultation with Okwunkporon has the right to announce the procedure for farming each year as well as confirm dates and periods for customary feasts and scarifies. The tenure of Oneh Eh Ea is for life and it has not been the practice to select him from among the youths.

Oneh Eh Eta after going through the ritual selecting or selection and traditional installation cannot be deposed for the immediate installation of another.

There is only a general principle for the selection, presentation and installation of Oneh Eh Eta because each primary community (town) in Eleme has its peculiar process as handed down from ancient times in Ogale. The Onehnkiken is usually from Ekpengbala sections. The position of Onenkiken is confined to the lineage of family of the original founder of the community and there is no compromise about this fact, as this is the only traditional office in Eleme that is hereditary. The Kaloloa family in Ogale is a good example. In Ogale, the Onenkiken performs or retrieves all the function of Oneh Eh Eta upon his dismissal and is expected to summon a meeting of Okwueta and complain to them that he has been straining himself in performing the two functions of Onenkiken and Oneh Eh Eta. His appeal is that he be relieved of one burden by appointing an appropriate person to the vacant office. Okwueta will consult and give him a date which must be Okoo (local market day) for the selection. The venue for this selection differs from community to community. The important thing is that the office is not hereditary and so no particular family becomes the focal points.

One person is selected at this special meeting and in the manner that is applicable to that community and the candidate is immediately sent for, and he is expected to show this gratitude and acceptance by providing all the materials that are customarily required. Onenkiken presides over these ceremonies of acceptance. Either two days after (Obon) or the fifth day (Okon), the Oneh Eh Eta is expected to perform the ceremony called Obankporom which is conducted by the Oneh-nkporon for that community.

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