Travels with Maurice Archibong
3-time winner, travel & tourism reporter of the year
All’s well that ends well
Recently crowned Eze Ndi Igbo 1 of Ghana, Chief Chukwudi Jude Ihenetu, has said due to the many programmes, calling for urgent execution to protect the interest of Igbo people, he has no time for distractions. Therefore, he and members of the Eze-in-Council are all out to reconcile every member of the Igbo community resident in the old Gold Coast.
Chief Ihenetu, who is also Obuzo Igbozurume 1 of Ghana, was crowned Eze Ndi Igbo 1 of Ghana on September 7, 2012 and his first formal outing as well as Ofala took place last Saturday, September 15. Although Chief Ihenetu’s Ofala could not take place at the original venue, Efua Sutherland (Children’s) Park because the place was sealed off by security operatives, the event, which featured the highly reverred tradition of breaking of kola-nut, pouring of libation and flag-off of consumption of New Yam (Iri ji), among others; could hardly have been more successful.
Interestingly, many bands, including the Yoruba Bazooka Fuji Reformers; Don-Whiskey, Igbozurume Association Choir and Ogene performers, et cetera were on hand to add colour to the celebrations. Also, countless dignitaries turned up to grace the occasion, which eventually took place at Ihenetu’s residence in the East Legon neighbourhood of Accra; with their presence.
These VIPs included Archbishop Azubuike Athan, who; accompanied by several other clerics, blessed the event with prayers; distinguished civil war veteran, Brig.-General JOG Achizia; the first son of the late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, Chief Ojukwu aka Akpunwa; Special Adviser on Igbo Affairs to Imo State Governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, Mr. Cletus Amaraegbu; Eze Emmanuel Okoli Abiama, President of Ndi Eze Uzo-ije; Chief Mrs Nwachimereze, President-General of Royal Daughters of Nigeria Worldwide; Eze Igbo Idimu, Eze Samuel O. Udo; Eze Okpotamba, Chief Ossai Onyemere; Eze IC Dimgba, Patron of Ndi Eze in Diaspora; Eze (Dr) John C. Nwosu, Eze Igbo of Mushin, Lagos; Chief (Mrs.) Ngozi Dimgba; Sir Oliver Akubueze; Chief (Mrs.) Kate Onyechere; Dr. (Mrs.) Joyce Afolabi as well as many members of the Ga (aborigines of Accra) Traditional Council.
Speaking during an exclusive encounter with Travels in Accra, two days after his first official outing and Ofala celebrations, Eze Ihenetu; who was accompanied by Chiefs Cosmas Ikechukwu Iwuala, Isaac Chigbata Ogbonna, Harrison Mba Kalu and Mr. Kelechukwu Ike, Legal Adviser, Ghana Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and author of a book on Nigeria, entitled, Where do we go from 50?; declared: “To God be the glory. No man can unmake that, which God has made.” This was a subtle allusion to alleged plans to abort his installation and subsequent public presentation.
Now, he reckons: “All is well, that ends well”, adding, “Our stuggle has already begun to yield fruit.” Reminding that he is Board of Trustees’ Chairman, PDP Ghana Chapter; this Eze enthusisastically added: “I have been appointed Ambassador of Millennium Development Goals (MDG). Three days ago, I was decorated with a Gold Medal and appointed MDG Ambassador by the MDG President. Also, through my coronation; Imo Transport Company (ITC) has started operating in Ghana.” Chirping in, Mr. Ike (aka KK), explained: “The presence of ITC in Ghana means that, now; our people have the option of travelling at competitive fares.
There are countless Igbos, living in Ghana that would love to go home more frequently but could not do so because they could not afford to pay the fares. Now, with Christmas and New Year celebrations around the corner, our people can take advantage of ITC’s presence to go home.” Speaking further, Eze Igbo 1 of Ghana added that he bore no grudges toward anyone that attempted to scuttle the Ofala, noting that, “This position by a few of our people, shows that we (Igbos) are not a docile race. People have every right to demand explanations,” Ihenetu admitted; while adding: “Now, all I can say is that, God has a hand in my coronation. Therefore, all is well, that ends well.” Chief Ihenetu revealed he has three very important projects to execute.
These are, Building of a Palace, Building of an Igbo Town Hall (Obi Ndi Igbo) and Building of Igbo Learning Centre. Hear him: “The architectural design of these structures are ready. When completed, it will serve as a place where school-age children would assemble every weekend to learn our language and culture while adults may attend classes daily. And by God’s grace, given logistics, little-by-little, the Igbo Learning Centre will be replicated in major cities across Ghana so that our language and culture would be promoted and preserved”.
Concluding, the Eze Igbo 1 declared: “There’s a lot of work to do. So, everyone who is interested in the welfare of Igbo people and the preservation of our culture is welcome to join us. No man is an island or an embodiment of knowledge. So, my focus is on reconciliation so that together we can do the best for Igbo people.”