…Emir of Kano, Obi of Onitsha, others laud occasion
From Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
The people of Ogidi in Idemili North Local Government Area of Anambra State recently rolled out drums to celebrate the first Ofala festivalN of their new traditional ruler, Igwe Alex Uzo Onyido (Ezechaumagha of Ogidi Kingdom) after 18 years without a monarch in their community.
The colorful event attracted many prominent persons in the country and beyond, including Obi of Onitsha, Igwe Afred Achebe and other traditional rulers, the representative of Emir of Kano, Alhaji Sanusi who was represented by Prince Alhaji Muhammad Bello Ado Bayero and other Emirs as well as politicians, businessmen and academicians.
Igwe Onyido became the fifth monarch of Ogidi Kingdom after he emerged the new traditional ruler on August 27, 2016 in a free, fair and peaceful election.
He was formally presented with certificate of recognition and staff of office on November 18, 2016 by Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State.
The Ogidi kingdom has four quarters namely Akanano, Uru, Ezinkwo and Ikenga from where a new Igwe is selected for the community.
The first Igwe of Ogidi, Chief Walter Nwatakwochuka Amobi 1, reigned between 1904 and 1925, Igwe Benjamin Olisaemeka Amobi 11 reigned between 1944 and 1974, Igwe Benedict Vincent Obiora Amobi 111 and Igwe Walter Ifediora Amobi 1V reigned between 1993 and 1998.
It was after the last Ofala festival of the late Igwe Walter Amobi 1V that the community was thrown into turmoil as a result of series of ligations and counter ligations among the Ogidi town union, the Uru quarters and the Amobi family which lasted for 18 years.
The community has been without a king until the judgement of a High Court at Ekwulowbia in 2012 that gave powers to any qualified Ogidi male child to contest the Igweship position.
The community also got another judgement at the Federal Court of Appeal which gave the union power to conduct an election for the Igweship of the community where Igwe Onyido emerged victorious and thus was crowned and presented with the traditional scepter of office on August 30, 2016, according to Ogidi custom and tradition.
On the morning of the Ofala day, there were the traditional firing of canon gunshots to herald the event and followed by the Ufie music.
After that followed the arrival of high chiefs, Council of Ndichie, and Ichies to the Ofala arena, which preceded the arrival of Igwe Onyido in procession with his cabinet members, Ndichies with the booming of 21 canon gunshot salutes and Igba Eze troupe.
As they arrived, the traditional ruler went round the arena to
acknowledge cheers from his subjects and well wishers, and later danced together with his cabinet members and council of chiefs.
Igwe Onyido used the occasion to confer chieftaincy titles of high chiefs to 13 natives of the community, including Chief (Dr) Obiora Okonkwo, Chief Samuel Anyanwutaku, Chief Obi Anoliefo, Chief Emeka Onyido, Chief Victor Ekwuemesi, Chief Okwuchukwu Ugolo, Chief Cletus Onwuzulike, Chief Augustine Chukwuka, Chief Obumneke Osakwe, Chief Tochukwu Okeke, Chief Obi Mbaekwe, Chief Chris Iloabachie and Chief Chinedu James Okeke for their contributions to the development of the community.
He also gave merit awards and certificates of recognition to some members of the community and other Nigerians for their support andcontributions to the community, urging them to shine and make the community proud in their areas of endeavours.
Addressing the people of the community, Igwe Onyido charged them to sustain the existing peace in the domain by being law abiding citizens, urging them not to engage in activities that are capable of denting the image of the community.
He expressed gratitude to the people of the community for finding him worthy to be their king, stressing that “be rest assured that I shall try my utmost to justify the trust and confidence reposed in me”.
Igwe Onyido promised to preserve the customs and tradition of the people such as observing the annual Nwafor festival which marks the end of the farming season, the annual New Yam festival which marks the beginning of the harvesting season, as well as recognising the membership of an age grade by every Ogidi male indigene, initiation into the masquerade society of young male children, and being careful in handling the religious and sensitive aspects of the customs.
The traditional ruler called for the prudent management of the interest free loans to successful and responsible trainees of the skill acquisition centre donated to the community by the state government.
“A committee of trusted Ogidi indigenes shall be appointed and charged with the responsibility to manage and disburse the pool of funds intended for the loans. Agricultural endeavours such as crop, poultry and fish farming shall been given priority. To this end and to the proposed endowment fund, I as the Igwe of Ogidi, will make available, with immediate effect, the sum of N20,000 and hereby call on all well meaning sons and daughters of Ogidi who are capable, to continue to this fund.