What were you doing at the age of two? Me, at the age of two, I was just that kid who was still struggling to talk properly. I couldn’t even spell, write or read. I was just being a kid. Oh, well! This wasn’t the case for Ikenchukwu Keagborekuzi I. In 1979, when he was two years old, Agbor Kingdom in Delta State, Nigeria, crowned Ikenchukwu Keagborekuzi I as their King.
You are now thinking why would a Kingdom crown a two-year-old kid their King? Well, let me get you through the true story of how Ikenchukwu Keagborekuzi I became King at the age of two, a world record.
Ikenchukwu Keagborekuzi I was born in 1977 to a Royal Family. His father, King James Obika Ikenchukwu was the reigning monarch at that time. In 1270 AD, under the reigning of King Dein Owuwu, Agbor Kingdom established a hereditary succession and it became the kingdom’s custom for who would be next in line for the throne.
The Kingdom of Agbor flourished in economic, social, and political sectors so it became one of the few kingdoms in the 1200-1300 AD to remain independent. The Kingdom, since its existence, has been ruled by three dynasties; The Ogiso, Ogene and Dein dynasties. The Dein dynasty, which is the current ruling monarch has been ruling the Kingdom for decades of years. King Dein Owuwu (late) who was the founder of the Dein Dynasty ruled the Kingdom for over 37 years (1270 to 1307 AD). His son, Dein Owuwu was crowned King and ruled for over two decades.
The Dein Dynasty ruled for many years before passing the Royal mantle to the Keagborekuzi family, the current ruling monarch in the Kingdom of Agbor. King Keagborekuzi, the father of the current King Ikenchukwu Keagborekuzi I, ruled the Kingdom of Agbor for 11 years before his death in 1979. His death was the birth of history. His son, King Ikenchukwu Keagborekuzi I was born in 1977. At the time of his father’s death, he was only two years old and he was the next in line to become King. Owing to the Kingdom’s hereditary succession custom, two years old Ikenchukwu Keagborekuzi I succeeded his father and became King of Agbor Kingdom. He became the world’s youngest monarch at age two.
At the age of two, he was guided by his closest family members and kinsmen to oversee the affairs of the Kingdom. As time passes by, security concerns began to rise and the young king was taken abroad where he lived for 25 years before returning to his kingdom as a full-grown adult. Upon his return to the Agbor Kingdom, he maintain peace and equality and implemented reforms to improve the quality of life for his people.
“Really, my stay abroad affected the development of the Kingdom 100%. We are talking about 25 years of not having their King around. Certainly, my long stay abroad caused huge problems and we are still dealing with them because the majority of Agbor people grew up without knowing their King, so they don’t know what it takes to serve a king anymore. Now we’re learning almost from scratch,” Keagborekuzi I told Punch Newspaper.
King Ikenchukwu Keagborekuzi I, now 44, has expressed his dissatisfaction with the elders and elites of Agbor and their unwillingness to work with him in developing the Kingdom. He said, “Let me tell you the truth, if the elite in Agbor cooperated with me, I would have made Agbor like Dubai. If they (elite) would work with me in Agbor; in five years I would make Agbor so beautiful and functional that the Federal Government of Nigeria would be forced to know it’s so possible.”
Irrespective of the challenges the 44-year-old King is facing, he continues to be one of the most popular and diplomatic traditional Kings in the West African nation. His Western exposure and education have earned him a place in the Western world and he’s well respected. He was a guest of honour and speaker at both the Belgium King’s Day and Spanish King’s Day celebrations; he notably hosted the late Queen of England, during her visit to Nigeria, in his Kingdom.
He is not only a King, he is an educator. In 2006, at the age of 26, the former president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo named him the Chancellor of one of Nigeria’s biggest universities – making him the youngest Chancellor of any university in Africa.