From Paul Osuyi, Asaba
Oshimili North Local Government Area of Delta State said it will commence the payment of stipends to female traditional rulers with the Omu title in the locality just as it is done to recognised male kings across the country.
Omu institution is peculiar in Anioma nation (Delta north senatorial district).
Chairman of the council, Mr. Innocent Eseweze made the promise during the Annual Otite (Roasting of Yam) festival and the unveiling the Centre for Omuship in Anioma and Women Development Initiative by the Omu Okpanam, Obi Martha Dunkwu.
Eseweze said an executive bill would be forwarded to the council’s legislative arm with the overall objective of giving a role to the Omus in the locality.
“The Omu institution needs to be backed by law that would assign special recognition and status. We are doing this because they deserve it.
“We will commence the payment of stipends to the Omus. We are doing this because it is the right thing to do.
“They are the voices that can protect the rights of women. This government which I represent, will support them,” he said.
Eseweze promised to prevail on his fellow chairmen across the nine local councils in Anioma to also give special status to the Omu institution.
He commended the Omu Okpanam, Obi Martha Dunkwu for sustaining the Omu institution over the years, saying that the institution would have gone extinct if not for Dunkwu’s personal efforts.
Responding to questions on the significance of the festival, Obi Dunkwu said the Otite Festival was as old as the Omu institution which started about 700 years ago.
She said the festival was a compulsory rite, and not optional, in Anioma land, explaining that it “signifies our Christmas, our New Year, our Easter. We are thanking God for the year that is ending and praying for the in coming year.”