By Nwabueze Okonkwo
ONITSHA – It was all excitement and celebration galore for the entire people of Omor community in Ayamelum Local Government Area of Anambra State as they watched Governor Willie Obiano issue a Certificate of recognition to their illustrious son and Igwe-elect, His Royal Highness, Igwe Chris Oranu Chidume.
The Igweship throne which had hitherto remained vacant for about 10 years now, following the demise of Igwe P. N. Udemezue in 2007, fell on Chidume, an Onitsha-based industrial giant. The late Igwe Udemezue hailed from Aturia village, the third youngest.
The final selection of His Royal Highness, Igwe Chris Oranu Chidume, few months ago, followed the recommendation of a committee set up by the state government to select a popular candidate who will be acceptable by the vast majority of the people in the area to fill the vacant throne.
The state government had set up the committee made up of credible personalities to assess the popularity of all the Igweship contestants, select the popular choice of the people and recommend same for the issuance of the certificate.
The committee which had its members as Dr. Tim Menakaya, Chief Paul Odenigbo, former SSG, Igwe Rowland Odegbo of Nteje, Igwe Christopher Idigo of Aguleri, the state Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Chief Greg Obi, after a thorough job, recommended that Chidume was the choice of the entire populace.
Chief Greg Obi, flanked by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Hon. Ikechukwu Onyeabo confirmed that it was based on the committee’s recommendation which Obiano adopted, that Chidume was selected as the Igwe-elect and was entitled to receive the certificate and staff of office.
Obi therefore urged Chidume to unify the people and rule them with love and care.
The certificate and staff of office was issued to Chidume barely 24 hours before he was crowned as the Eze Ana-Ukwu, Eze Igulube of Omor, by the entire community, having been selected from the youngest Amikwe village whose turn it is to produce the traditional ruler this time.
Three other villages, Orenja, Akanator and Aturia in the order of seniority, had at one time or the other produced Igwe, before it became the turn of Amikwe, the youngest.
In a brief ceremony held at the Governor’s Lodge, Amawbia, Obiano declared that he was issuing the certificate and staff of office to Chidume, based on the power conferred on him as the Chief Executive of the state, under Section 7 of the Traditional Rulers law of 1981, which is an indication that Chidume has transformed from Igwe-elect of Omor to the substantive Igwe of Omor.
The governor noted that he was impressed with the maturity and peaceful processes with which Omor people selected Chidume, among other contestants, as their new monarch and urged other communities in the state which have not selected their own royal fathers to emulate the gesture.
The traditional ruler of Mbaukwu, Igwe Peter Anugwu who spoke on behalf of other traditional rulers at the ceremony, advised Chidume to regard everybody, including his opponents, as his subjects since according to him, royal stool is meant to be contested for and not given to someone on a platter of gold, adding that it is not even advisable for anybody to accept a traditional stool given to him on a platter of gold.
Igwe Anugwu noted that the right interpretation of the prefix: ’21 over 21′ added to Governor Obiano’s name was not necessarily that he scored the highest votes in all the 21 local government areas of the state during the November 18 governorship election in the state, but that he is also ready to take APGA’s winning spree to other states in the South-East region and beyond in 2019.
Responding, the new monarch declared: “I will go back to Omor and make them live in peace and harmony and I will channel government’s interest towards having a closer look at agriculture and industries which will in turn create employment opportunities for our teeming youths in Omor.”
Twenty-four hours later, four eldest persons from the four villages and two others each from Igwe Chidume’s paternal and maternal homes coronated him as the traditional ruler of the community amidst pomp and pageantry.
In their separate speeches, the President-General of Omor Town Union, Chief Chukwuma Nebeife and the Public Relations Officer, Chiamogu Ikechukwu commended Igwe Chidume for his selection and coronation, adding that as a philanthropist, they have confidence that he would take the community to a higher height in terms of quality leadership and development.
They therefore urged every indigene of the community to support the new monarch, even as they wished him long life and progress.
Igwe’s younger brothers, Anthony and Chiadi, expressed satisfaction that the monarch has 99 per cent support from the populace, adding that even though some other people showed interest to contest the throne, the majority chose him as a beacon of peace and symbol of love.
In his speech, Igwe Chidume expressed excitement and happiness to have received the certificate and staff of office from the government, adding that he would first of all make everybody to come together and at the same time, bring about a harmonious co-existence.
He said he would join hands with other royal fathers in the state in assisting Governor Obiano to take All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, to other states in the South-East and even beyond, now that the beauty of APGA programmes has been unveiled by Obiano.