Emmanuel Adeyemi, Lokoja
It was pomp all the way recently as prominent personalities gathered at Oboroke-Ihima in Okehi Local Government Area of Kogi State to celebrate the exit of the traditional ruler of Ohionwa, Pa Jeremiah Aka’ava. He died at the age of 116 and one of the oldest monarchs in Nigeria.
Pa Aka’ava was born in 1903 and installed as a monarch in 1983 at the age of 80. He reigned as the 12th Obobanyin of Ohionwa-Ihima for 36 years when he died on April 26, 2019. For about three months, Ohionwa-Ihima stood still for him as it mourned the passage of the person it called ‘”The Man of Peace.”
Events for his burial rites included cultural and traditional troupes involving masquerades, musicians and artists. The Paramount Ruler of Ebira land, Dr Ado Ibrahim, represented by Asema of Ohika, Chief M.S Isah, described the late monarch as an honest and peace loving individual who played a significant role in quelling the Emani-Ohionwa communal crisis that consumed several lives and property few years ago:
“No doubt the deceased’s efforts indeed brought the existing peace being enjoyed in Ihima and Ebira land land. He was indeed a man of honour. All Ebira people should continue to eschew violence and live peacefully together. The Ohionwa clan should look for a reliable, peace loving and credible candidate to succeed the late monarch.”
Former president of the Customary Court of Appeal, Abuja, Justice Moses Bello, described the Aka’ ava as “a father to all who loved peace, fought for peace and promoted unity among his people.”
Acting chairman of Ohionwa clan, Edward Ireyi Sanni, said: “To be a man of peace and work for the peace of one’s community has many gains. Pa Jeremiah Aka’ ava was generally adjudged as a man of peace. He demonstrated this character throughout his reign especially during the Ihima crisis.
“He lived an exemplary life, as a king in a vantage position. He never oppressed anyone he was very patient and considerate. He never condoned any evil or act of wickedness, he was a ruler that had the fear of the Lord.”
The chairman of the burial rites planning committee, Idris Ozi Shuaib, thanked the state government, the five LGA administrators in Ebira land, the Ohinoyi of Ebira land and all those who stood by them at the time of mourning and those who contributed to make the ceremony a success.