Controversy trail ex-minister Onolenmenmen’s Adolor title as Enahoro family kicks
– By Lucky Akhimien
Former Minister for Works and Housing under Former President Jonathan’s administration, Dr (Arch.) Mike Onolemhemhen, was on Easter Monday coronated as the Adolor of Uromi Kingdom by the Onojie of Uromi, His Royal Highness Anslem Aidelojie at the ancient palace of Uromi, Edo State.
The Adolor title was created for the foremost Nigeria legislator and mover of the Motion for Independence, Pa Anthony Enahoro, during the time of the Western Region, and was gazetted in 1979 in the Government Gazette of Bendel State, which inherited the authority of the Midwest Regional Government, which inherited it’s authority from the Western Regional Government, the governing administration at the time Anthony Enahoro was installed Adolor of Uromi. In the Second Schedule (Section 39 (2) ) of the Edict, the Adolor of Onewa and the Adolor of Uromi (both titles that Anthony Enahoro was invested with at the time) were listed among the 48 Uromi Traditional Chiefs for the first time. This was made with the permission of Oba Akenzua of Benin because it involved the use of the title of a former Oba. Normally it is not allowed to award the title of an Oba on any individual but the rule was waived to accommodate towering status of Anthony Enahoro who needed the chieftancy to level up with his peers at the Western Regional government at the time when chieftancy title became a measure of political worth.
During his tenure as Minister of Works, Dr. Mike Onolenmenmen represented the PDP well by aggressive embarking on road constructions and rehabilitation across Nigeria. According to him, 70% of all federal roads were put in proper place during his tenure. This was confirmed by the current Minister in charge of Works, from another party – the APC, Babatunde Fashola SAN, who commended the previous administration for the giant strides in road construction across the country. Iconic former governor of Midwest and Bendel states, Gen. Samuel Ogbemudia, described Onolenmenmen as “The best Minister of Works in Nigeria since Independence”. The Uromi people are particularly proud of their illustrious son for his efforts at reconstructing and dualizing the famous Mission Road from Taxona Junction to Angle 90 Junction in Uromi and lighting it up giving the ancient city a face life and a modern outlook.
While a great majority of Uromi people, Edo people and indeed Nigerians were excited at the development which majority described as “well deserved”, but the Enahoro family seemed to be uncomfortable with this development because, according to the younger brother of Pa Anthony Eromosele Enahoro, the former holder of that title, the title belongs to the Enahoro family and it is hereditary.
In a paid advertorial in Vanguard, Sun and other dailies, Mr. Peter Enahoro, younger brother to late Pa Anthony Enahoro, ostensibly speaking on behalf of the Enahoro family, asked both the Ojuromi of Uromi and Dr. Mike Onolemenmen not to go ahead with the coronation , claiming that the eldest son of Pa Anthony Enahoro, Mr. Ken Enahoro, was the rightful heir to the Adolor title which Peter Enahoro argued was hereditary. In a swift response, the Uromi Traditional Council claimed that the Adolor title was not hereditary but honorary and that the Ojuromi (King) of Uromi was at liberty to award the title to a deserving son of Uromi.
According to Mr. Peter Enahoro, he said “I advise the would-be recipient once more, as I’d previously done in private, that the title of Adolor of Uromi is hereditary and subject to the rule of primogeniture.”
In the swift rebuttal, a statement signed by the Secretary, Uromi Traditional Council of Chiefs, Chief F. Ozah read: “The attention of the Uromi Traditional Council has been drawn to publications in some national newspapers… Much as we are not inclined to joining issues with Mr Peter Enahoro’s vituperations on his wrongly perceived ‘injustice’ to Chief Anthony Enahoro, we are constrained to counter the brazen misconceptions, innuendoes, spurious and defamatory allegations purportedly made by Mr Peter Enahoro … that the Adolor title is not by primogenitor but honorary!”
The statement went ahead to list all the hereditary titles in Uromi Kingdom to include, in order of seniority: “The Oniha, The Iyasele, The Ezomon, The Ezana, The Edohe (traditional head of Onewa principality), The Uwangue, and the Edaiken (the heir apparent).”
Even though the Enahoro family expresses its opposition to the coronation and asked invited guests not to attend, but the coronation held successfully on Easter Monday and Dr. Mike Oziengbe Onolenmenmen, a PDP icon, has been coronated as the second Adolor or Uromi, taking over the title from the first Adolor of Uromi, late Chief Anthony Enahoro.