Ikpeazu pledges support for traditional institution
From Chuks Onuoha, Umuahia
Okaiuga Alaike Autonomous Community in Ohuhu, Umuahia North Local Government Area of Abia State, the country home of former Niger/Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Chairman and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain, Chief Onyema Ugochukwu, played host to men and women from all walks of life recently.
It was the one-year anniversary of the autonomous community. The even was used to honour prominent sons and daughters and others who have in one way or the other contributed to the advancement of the town.
Historically, the community was a union of Ekeokwuru and Umukabia communities, but for some exigencies and political reasons, the leadership of Umukabia opted out of the union, giving rise to Okaiuga Alike, now homogeneously made up of people of the Ekeokwuru community.
However, the community was part of Nkwoegwu Autonomous Community, which was under the leadership of the late Eze Ikechi Nwadinobi.
When it gained autonomy, the first traditional ruler was Eze Samuel Nwaubani, before Umukabia got its own autonomy.
The present Okaiuga Alike was retained by the Ekeokwuru community otherwise called Umule and Umunso, which comprised seven villages.
The community today is under the leadership of Eze Innocent Adiele Nwaigwe, the Ike-Uga11 of Okaiuga Alike Autonomous Community.
He was said to have emerged from an open ballot/plebiscite conducted by the Ministry of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs at the Ekeokwuru Community School ground on July 22, 2016 after which he was issued with staff of office on September 28, 2016.
Therefore, one year after on September 29, the people returned the same venue where the plebiscite was conducted to hold the anniversary.
Speaking during the ceremony, Eze Nwaigwe called on the sons and daughters of the community to come up with useful advice that would make the community great.
“Ours is a new palace with teething problems that will require the assistance of good-spirited individuals and groups to take off in a sound footing. We place high premium on the security of lives and property and as the custodian of culture and tradition of our people, we will spare no effort at ensuring that our common cultural identity does not go into extinction,” he promised.
Also speaking, Abia State governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu urged the people of Okaiuga Alike to remain law-abiding and peaceful; reminding them that development only comes to peaceful people and places.
He said that his administration was determined to develop every rural community in the state.
Ikpeazu, who was represented at the occasion by his Deputy, Sir Ude Oko Chukwu assured the traditional ruler that his government would always come to their aid.
The Chairman on the occasion and former Minister of State (Defense), Col Austin Akobundu (rtd) said that Okaiuga Alaike community was one of the most peaceful areas in the country, adding that the reign of Eze Nwaigwe would attract wide-spread growth of individuals and infrastructure in the area.
The occasion was used to honour and recognize some of those who have contributed in one way or the other to the development of the community and the state at large.
Senator Ben Uwajimogu from Imo State and nine other people were honoured with various chieftaincy titles by the traditional ruler.
Eze Nwaigwe recalled that the awardees had been playing vital roles in his life as well as the development of his community.
He pointed out that he had been enjoying the support of his subjects from the day they made him their traditional ruler even as he solicited a sustained support from them.
He promised to attract uncommon development to Okaiuga Alike while also urging those he gave chieftaincy titles and other awardees to remain good ambassadors of the community and Abia State in general.
In a vote of thanks, Chief Onyema Ugochukwu, who holds various chieftaincy titles, including the prestigious Onwubiri Imo title and Ikoro Ohuhu, urged all to be part of the development of the community.
“Eze Nwaigwe as I know him does not record offenses against anybody. It is a contest that has been lost and won; we are brothers and sisters and should work for the advancement of this community. I extend an olive branch to all that we should allow the sleeping dog to lie,” he said.
He said that now that God has used his own hand to select the person that would be leader of his people, those who did not give their support to the Eze should join the train to assist in any way they could to move the community forward.
Those who received chieftaincy titles were Senator Ben Uwajimogu, representing Imo North Constituency in the upper chamber of the National Assembly (Ome Udo Igbo Gburugburu), Chief Tunde Olusola (Nwanne di na mba) and Engr Nsima Ekere, MD of Niger Delta Development Commission.
Others that recieved special plaques of honour were Chief Onyema Ugochukwu and his wife, Mrs Eleonu Ugochukwu; Chinedu Eke, Sister Chinyere Achinivu, Lady Udechukwu Ugochukwu and Ezinne Matilda Uwadileke.
The event, which was attended by over 30 royal fathers, also witnessed rich cultural display by various groups while the Deputy Governor of Abia State, Sir Ude Oko Chukwu, traditional rulers and other great individuals assisted the traditional ruler in the cutting of the one-year anniversary cake.