The Ogbonachiani (Ruling Age Grade)
The Ogbonachiani or ruling Age Grade comprises men of an age group appointed by the Obi of Onitsha to be the watchdog of the people's right and liberties.
The appointment has no guidelines, but is made out of the Obi's volition, consequent upon the character and the experience of the members of the such an organization.
Nevertheless, the age-group should not be less than sixty years to enable them utilize their ripe experience in life, in the execution of their duties.
The assignment varies. They act as policemen in watching the public behavior of social organizations such as masquerade groups, dancing societies, youth clubs, village committees and market women. They see to it that higher ethical standards is maintained throughout the town, and any public misdemeanor by a group of people is queried and if necessary, brought to book or reported to higher authority. The Orokwute or council of elders is the counterpart of the Ruling Age Grade on the village level.
In effect, the function of the Ogbonachiani is to provide measures of checks and balances in order to ensure the rule of law, and democratic principles.