History was made on December 28, 2018, in Ndiokpalaeze, Orumba North Local Government Area of Anambra State, when a distinguished son of the community, Fredrick Chidozie Okoli, was crowned Okwaeze IV.
It was a colourful ceremony held at the Ndiopkalaeze Civic Centre. The event attracted eminent personalities, including traditional rulers, government functionaries and other dignitaries from other parts of Anambra State and beyond.
Anambra State Governor Willie Obiano had, on July 25, 2018, issued the royal father a certificate of recognition.
On coronation day, before the arrival of the new king, the place was already filled to capacity with the Umuada, women born in the community but married to men in other communities, as well as in-laws, friends and well-wishers who had come from far and near.
The guests were treated to songs and cultural displays by various groups and the Nkpokiti dancers. Members of the Eze’s cabinet had also taken their position to receive the king at the arena.
The arrival of the royal father, Okwaeze IV, around midday was announced with seven gunshots. The new king stepped out with his wife, Ugoeze, Lolo Uzumma, to acknowledge greetings from the crowd, moving round the square with his cabinet members.
In line with the tradition of the community it was the Akajiofors that did the crowning at the centre of the square, with those in attendance looking on. Shouts of Eze iga diooo (long live the king) rent the air. There were 21 gunshots as the royal father was crowned king.
When the Akajiofors were done with the crowning, the king rose again with Ugoeze and moved round to greet his people. His moves were rhythmic, as he danced with royal steps with his cabinet members and the Ugwu Ndiokpalaeze.
Some of the special guests were allowed to make a few comments, including the member representing Orumba North and South Federal Constituency, Hon. Ben Nwankwo. Lots of gift items were subsequently presented to the royal father. The people thereafter retired to the palace for the reception, where assorted food and drinks were in generous supply.
Earlier, Eze Okoli had, in his address, pledged that the royal house would vigorously and assiduously pursue policies and programmes that would enhance the standard of living and socio-economic welfare of his people.
“Already, we have laid down a developmental and economic blueprint of a royal foundation to partner with eminent individuals, institutions, corporate bodies, as well as national and global organisations to empower our youths through various skill acquisition programmes and give scholarship to the bright but indigent ones. The agricultural activities of our rural women will also be boosted through organising them into functional cooperative societies,” the Eze said.
He noted that he had earlier organised a Christian programme, tagged Mega Ndiokpalaeze Liberation Crusade, with the community stakeholders. He said the event was officiatedby Rt. Rev. Ephriam Ikeakor, Anglican Bishop of Amichi Diocese. This, he said, was to ensure the return of the virtue of godliness to Ndiokpalaeze.
President-general of Ndiokplaleze Improvement Union, Mr. Nwosu Dozie Felix, gave a historical perspective of the community. He said before Eze Okoli, three traditional rulers had reigned in the community, including Eze Abazu Okpalaeze, Odenigbo I, Okwaeze I; Eze Gaius Abazu, Odenigbo II, Okwaeze II; and the late Eze (Col.) Simon Uwakwe (rtd), Ezeudo and Okwaeze III.
The president-general said the royal stool in the community was not hereditary but rotated among the three villages that make up the community. He described the event as a special one, which marked the coronation of the fourth traditional ruler of the town. “Your Royal Highness, an old adage has it that to whom much is given, much is expected. Umu-Ndiokwaezemgbo unanimously and peacefully chose you as their traditional ruler and they are expecting much in return from you. We pray that your reign will be filled with divine wisdom, peace and love so that you will move the town forward,” he prayed.
Also, the Umuada, who spoke through their leader, Mrs. Chinyere Okafor Okisi, expressed delight at the coronation of Eze Okoli. They prayed for God’s direction for the king.
The women charged Eze Okoli to attract government attention to the community so that the town could get its dues from the government. They also praised the community’s rulers for the peace that pervaded the town while the process of selecting the Eze lasted.