Kings, they say, are gods on earth. Their reign secures the lives of those they govern and so their environment reflects power and elegance.
Eze Sir I.O Kanu, the Egwukwu of Afara Ukwu is a man of endearing taste who has built his palace in a way that shows forth his supremacy in Isiama Afara Ukwu, Umuahia.
While it is also known that two captains cannot be in a ship, the bond between Nnamdi Kanu and his father is admirable such that there seems to be room enough for another king. The continued agitation for the freedom of Biafra – particularly of the South-East and South-South region in Nigeria – by Kanu has changed the ambiance of the Eze’s Palace. Below are some of the major things that assures your arrival at the palace of Eze Kanu:
1. Police vans and helicopter:
Before approaching a sign post – Eze Kanu Drive – carefully marked in bright green colour, you will see police vehicles littered around the popular Ojukwu Bunker which leads to the palace.
Inside the vans, some dark blue and one a mix of light blue and white colour are police officers watching every movement around the palace.
Also, you would hear helicopters hovering in the sky – a surveillance measure, perhaps, the federal government has put ensure peace in the area.
2. Biafra paintings on walls and electric poles:
On the walls of major streets in Umuahia, the Biafra paintings cannot be missed too. However, these painting are rampant in Isiama, the hometown of the IPOB leader. If on your way to the palace and have that feeling of being lost, the paintings is a clear sign you on still on track.
3. Biafra themed canopies:
Just at the entrance of the palace you will see semi-Biafra themed canopies which many plastic chairs under it. The chairs are used by visitors mostly IPOB members from far and wide who are waiting for security clearance before seeing the ‘supreme leader’ of the group.
4. The crowd: The mammoth crowd usually at the palace to see and possible have a chat with Nnamdi Kanu is unbelievable.
The crowd including members of the IPOB from different locations and states across Nigeria and sometimes foreigners.
The troop in en mass and are always seen waiting patiently for their turn before they can have their time to the IPOB leader.
5. Scores of security men dressed in all black:
While the crowd can be said to be overwhelming, the security operatives who are all dressed in black including their women do not seem perturbed. At the gate these operatives search men and women, old and young who seek access into the palace.
They are also saddled with the responsibility of inquiring from every visitor the motive of the visit and determined whether or not you need to see Kanu popularly called Onyeisi by all in the area.
6. An Israeli flag, a big and Small Biafra flag:
These flags in located inside the palace tells you you have arrived.
Right in front of the door that leads into the sitting waiting room of Onyeze – Kanu’s father are three flags.
A huge Biafra flag which is hoisted by a team of security personnel in the palace and a smaller Israeli and Biafra flag lying side by side to each other.
The big Biafra flag is hoisted at 6 am every morning and is taken down at 6 pm every day.
On the days Kanu is not around or maybe traveled, the flag is flown at half mast until he arrives.
When you get to the door, the operatives after having being screened at the gate opens the door for you.