Chijioke Agwu, Abakaliki
Saturday, 25th January, 2020, was a great day for the people, friends and well-wishers of Mgbom N’Achara autonomous community in Okposi, Ohaozara Local Government Area of Ebonyi State. It was the community’s annual get-together or reunion, called Mgbom Day. This year’s event was spectacular in many respects, especially its triple-barrel nature: it signposted the 80th birthday of their traditional ruler, Eze Asu Udeogu, and his 20th year on the stool.
At a time when communal love and unity is fasting fading away in many societies, Mgbom N’Achara community stands out as one of the few communities still deeply bonded and united in their love for the peace and development of their people and community.
Long before the autonomous community was created for them in 1999, Mgbom N’Achara people were widely known within the Old Ohaozara and beyond as people living in peace and unity.
And as if to formally cement the bond of unity among them, their forefathers came together decades ago and fixed a day to celebrate their oneness. Some twenty five years ago; the then Mgbom Progressive Union, Western zone, piloted the revival of the annual ritual that has today become some form of carnival.
This period, sons and daughters of the area, young and old, all over the world return en masse to praise God in thanksgiving for His grace, protection and provision in their individual and collective lives, in the previous year.
By 11am that day, Mgbom Central School, the beautifully decorated venue of the event was already filled to capacity with various cultural troupes displaying to the admiration of all.
It actually when the traditional ruler, Onyiba Asu Udeogu arrived in a motorcade that signalled the commencement of the event proper.
From the Okposi Achara palace of the traditional ruler, there was a 21-gun salute. A prominent indigene of the area, Chief Bernard Akoma said that the sounds of the cannon shots quake “the earth and its surroundings.” Then at the Court Area Roundabout, there was another 21-gun salute before another one at Akpamaka playground, the ancestral hub of the community. Also, there was periodic earth quaking 21-gun salute at the event arena proper, till the end of the event.
President General of the newly installed National Executive Committee of Mgbom N’Achara Development Union (MADU), Rev. John Uwadiegwu Okorie, in his address said: “Mgbom Day is a day of celebration of God’s faithfulness and goodness to us. A day we celebrate our unity and love for one another. Day we set out aside to mobilize resources for the development of the community. God has been faithful to sons and daughters of Mgbom N’Achara, our neighbourhood, people from other states dwelling among us. No one had sojourned within Mgbom N’Achara or had anything good to do with Ndi Mgbom N’Achara without being blessed immensely.”
For Reverend Father Okereke Ezeogo Andrew of Holy Rosary Parish, Okposi, this year’s event was special because it was the first time their king was celebrating with them for many years now. He thanked God for restoring total peace in their community.
“As you know, this year is the beginning of a new decade; this year also, our king is marking his 80th birthday anniversary and his 20th year on the throne. So, we look forward to greater things. As you look around, you can see old, young and the aged; we have all come together to celebrate brotherhood, oneness, peace and unity of Mgbom N’Achara. As we are marching forward into the year, we are trusting God to direct us everything as it concerns our people,” the priest enthused.
Another daughter of the community and member representing Ohaozara East in Ebonyi State House of Assembly, Mrs. Chinwe Nwachukwu, said the event reminded her about her childhood days in community and promised to continue to support the development of the community.
She said: “My late father was one time President General of Mgbom N’Achara Development Union. So, I have always participated in this event. It is always a day of joy for us even from the childhood. Even though I am now married outside the community, but you can see I still come to celebrate with my people. I love the peace, unity and oneness of purpose that has returned here and I will always do everything within my power to help them sustain the peace because without peace there won’t be any development.”
They used the occasion to inaugurate a 16-member Elders’ Council who will work closely with MADU and the traditional ruler and his cabinet for the overall development and sustenance of the existing peace in the community. Some members of the council members include Chief Micheal Okoro, Dr Moses Okoro, Okezie Ugwu, Agwu Christopher Agwu and Head, South East Bureau of The Sun Newspapers; Nze Magnus Eze.
Akoma disclosed that the target of the Mgbom Day 2020 was to galvanise development in the community, stressing that they had reached out to Governor David Umahi, who reiterated his promise to start work on the major roads cutting across the community. According to him, the colour, the picture and the goal of the event were all achieved at the end.
The colourful event was attended by the Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Chief Samuel Okoronkwo; Chairman of Ohaozara local government area, Mrs. Nkechinyere Iyoku, Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Oil and gas, Onyiba Bassey Chima and many other political office holders in the state.