From Paul Osuyi, Asaba
The Omu of Okpanam in Delta State, Obi Martha Dunkwu, has confessed that she never dreamt of taking up the royal responsibility, having left a substantial part of her outside the shores of Nigeria.
Dunkwu, who doubles as the Omu of Anioma and Nneoha (Mother without Borders), said she later realised that providence had prepared her for the royal seat.
Daily Sun learnt that the Omu institution started over 820 years ago with very few women in Anioma nation (present-day Delta north senatorial district).
As at the time Dunkwu was coronated twenty years ago, there were only six Omus, but the number has now increased to 15.
Speaking at her 20th coronation anniversary, Obi Dunkwu said people doubted her ability to take on the royal task, adding that she has brought visibility to the institution as a media practitioner.
‘With due respect to modesty, and as a result of my activities, being a media practitioner of close to forty years, the Omu institution has gained local and international recognition.
‘We vigorously promoted our native attire (Akwa-Ocha), our language, our food, our culture and tradition.
‘To this extent, some foreign universities have been coming to understudy the Omu institution for the benefit of research and documentation,’ she said.
According to her, the last 20 years as Omu, have been an eye-opener, sweet memories and painstaking.
To become an Omu, Obi Dunkwu stated that the designate, if married, would vacate her marital home to her palace where she would be bestowed both male and female rights.
Obi Dunkwu disclosed that she has launched a foundation to award “scholarship to indigent Anioma girl children, who will be engaged in academic studies, skills acquisition, entrepreneurship development and micro-investment.
‘To this end, a building in my palace has also been dedicated in perpetuity to this NGO for effective operation.’
The anniversary ceremony was attended by traditional rulers in Anioma nation including the second vice chairman of the Delta State Traditional Rulers’ Council and Obi of Ubulu-Unor, Henry Kikachukwu.
Others were the Obi of Egbudu-Akah, Austin Okolie; Igwe of Abala, Fredrick Egbunokonyen; Obi of Ejeme-Aniogor, Anthony Ogboli; Obi of Ezi, Mohayem I; Obi of Obomkpa, Josiah Onyeamechi; other Omus; and political office holders.