Aloysius Attah, Onitsha
The best of Enugu –Ezike culture resonated recently across Ogrute town, the council headquarters of Igbo –Eze North Local Government Area, Enugu State when the traditional rulers’ council in the area conferred a chieftaincy title on Prince Emeka Mamah.
Emeka is the scion of the late transport mogul, Chief James Mamah , former traditional ruler, the Ohabuenyi 1 of Umuozzi kingdom and the name behind famed Ifesinachi Motors Transport Ltd. He is also the Chairman, Ifex Courier Ltd before venturing into politics and is presently the Commissioner for Rural Development, Enugu State.
He was bestowed with the Chieftaincy title of Ome nka afulu nanya (The one who has actually done what all eyes can see and testify) by the traditional rulers numbering over forty from the different communities in Enugu-Ezike.
The honour brought to the fore the need for public office holders to give good account of themselves while in office through the provision of amenities and carrying out people oriented policies/projects.
Grand Patron, Enugu State Traditional Rulers Council, Igwe Simeon Osisi Itodo, said the traditional rulers singled Prince Emeka Mamah out for the rare recognition, because of his “sincerity of purpose and unprecedented achievements” within a period of six weeks that he stayed as an appointed Transition Council Chairman of Igbo –Eze North LGA.
Enumerating Prince Mamah’s footprints in six weeks that earned him the honour, Igwe Itodo said : “He completed 500-seat pavilion started by the former transition Committee Chairman, Emeka Ugwunze. Redesigned and furnished an administrative block started by the former chairman of the council, Uwakwe Ezeja, as well as completed a 20-room administrative block abandoned over 10 years ago by past administrations.
“He also controlled erosion sites causing nightmare to our people during rainy season, and bought JAMB forms for 620 secondary School students screened and selected from different secondary schools in the local government. He furthermore, graded roads and installed solar-powered street lights in major streets in our council among others.
Chairman of Igbo-Eze North Traditional Rulers Council, Igwe Gabriel Agbedo said the traditional rulers in the area have decided not sit in the fence anymore but to be actively involved in matters that concerns their people.
While presenting the revered Ofo to Prince Mamah, Igwe Agbedo said the traditional rulers decided to institute a reward system for excellent public service in the area so as to serve as a stimulus to the people.
Member representing Igbo-Eze North /Udenu federal constituency in the House of Representatives, Dr Simon Atigwe lauded Emeka’s humility in the midst of many enviable heights he has attained in life.
Congratulating him, he noted that the traditional rulers have passed a message to all political office holders to always watch their backs. Atigwe also lauded the peace and tranquility existing in Igbo-Eze North presently noting that such has yielded various gains for the people.
Emeka ’s mother, Lolo Grace Mamah, Ononenyi 1 of Umuozzi who stood by him all through the conferment period lauded the traditional rulers for what they have done for the family. She said she had continued to stand strong through the support of the traditional rulers ever since her own husband who was a pioneer traditional ruler in the state passed on.
She challenged the traditional rulers to continue on the path of unity and also be a light bearer for the youths of Igbo-Eze North so that the town will stand firm on the path of progress and development.
In a response, Prince Mamah apologised on behalf of the traditional rulers for the short notice given for the ceremony . He also confessed that he resisted the idea of the chieftaincy recognition but had to soft pedal and since he never coveted for it or facilitated such honour in any way. He described the honour as one very much appreciated and said it was going to be a great turnaround for the people of the area.
“This honour is very symbolic in the sense that we stayed in office barely forty days and we’ve been able to achieve what we did, thanks to His Excellency, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi.
“I think the best reward one can get is to be recognised by the revered royal fathers from your place. I’m so grateful and I’m dedicating the honour to the people of Igbo-Eze North because without them, I don’t think we would have been where we are.
“Our past leaders have been very good but they may not have taken us to where we are today. The present leaders may also be good, but they may not have taken us to where we want to be. The future leaders will be better and I believe that they will take us to that promised Land.” He said.
Member representing Igbo-Eze North 1 Constituency in the Enugu State House of Assembly, Hon. Ethel Oyibo Ugwuanyi in a remark said the recognition given to Prince Emeka justified the assertion to give honour to whom it is due. She said he has proved his mettle in public office and has challenged all to remember the need to keep a legacy that speaks volume of one’s action while in office.
Members of the National Youth Council of Nigeria, NYCN , Igbo Eze North chapter led by Comrade Gerald Ugwuoke also presented a merit award to Prince Mamah noting that he has restored the hope of the youths of the council in quality leadership.
A concelebrated Holy Mass presided over by four catholic priests heralded the ceremony even as the honouree thanked Governor Ugwuanyi for the opportunity to serve and also promised to assist the newly elected Council Chairman, Prince Ejike Itodo to excel in office.
Traditional okanga dance troupe, egarachants and ojile music all peculiar to Enugu-Ezike people were used to spice up the ceremony