From Jeff Amechi Agbodo, Onitsha
There was jubilation at Omor, a community in Ayamelum Local Government Area of Anambra State following the election, issuance of certificate of recognition and staff of office, as well as crowning of an Onitsha-based industrialist and Group Managing Director of Krisoral Group of Companies, Chief Chris Oranu Chidume, as the traditional ruler by Governor Willie Obiano.
The community has been without a king in the last 10 years.
The certificate and staff of office came shortly before he was crowned as the Ezeanukwu of Omor.
In a brief ceremony at the Governor’s Lodge, Amawbia, Obiano declared that he was issuing the certificate and staff of office to Chidume based on the power conferred on him under Section 7 of the Traditional Rulers Law of 1981, an indication that Chidume has transformed from the Igwe-elect to a substantive Igwe.
The governor noted that he was impressed with the maturity and peaceful processes with which Omor people selected Chidume from the other contestants to be their new monarch and urged other communities in the state which have not selected their own royal fathers to emulate them.
Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Greg Obi, flanked by the Special Adviser to the Governor on Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Ikechukwu Onyeabo, recalled that when the contest between Chidume and others who were interested in the royal throne became hot, the state government intervened by setting up a committee to look into the matter.
Obi noted that the committee made up of personalities like Dr. Tim Menakaya, Chief Paul Odenigbo, Igwe Rowland Odegbo of Nteje, Igwe Christopher Idigo of Aguleri and himself (Obi), after a thorough job, recommended that Chidume was the choice of the entire populace.
He noted that based on the committee’s recommendation which Obiano adopted, Chidume became the Igwe-elect and was on that day about to be given the certificate and staff of office.
He, therefore, urged Chidume to unify the people and rule them with love and care.
The traditional ruler of Mbaukwu, Igwe Peter Anugwu who spoke on behalf of other traditional rulers at the ceremony, advised Chidume to regard everybody, including his opponents as his subjects, pointing out that the royal stool was meant to be contested for and not given on a platter of gold. He also said it was not even advisable for anybody to accept a traditional stool given on a platter of gold.
Igwe Anugwu noted that the right interpretation of the prefix: ‘21 over 21’ added to Governor Obiano’s name was not necessarily that he scored the highest votes in all the 21 local government areas of the state during the November 18 governorship election in the state, but that he is also ready to take APGA’s winning spree to other states in the South East region in 2019.
In his response, Igwe Chidume said he would first of all make everybody to come together and at the same time bring about harmonious co-existence.
He said he would join hands with other royal fathers in assisting Governor Obiano to take APGA to others states in the South East and even beyond.
“My next line of action is to go back to Omor community to make effort to harmonise Omor people, make effort to bring Omor indigenes together, that is the first assignment. I am so excited, very happy for receiving the certificate of recognition. Omor as an agrarian community, we do every thing to uplift the life of the average Omor man who is in the village who depends on agriculture, we are going to do everything possible to attract government attention.
“It is in Omor that people see that agriculture is the way forward. I will ensure that government have a closer look in what we are doing in agriculture in Omor. As employer of labour a lot of Omor people are working in Krisoral Group and many more are joining, you can see that Omor is one of the largest community in Anambra State, there is no way you can employ every Omor person in a single enterprise. I hope that as time goes on, one of the ways to get our people employed is to attract some other industries in Omor area such that it would be close to them.
“Combining traditional institution and cooperate leadership will be a difficult task but they know me one-on-one, it is something I can always combine. Omor has gotten a lot of people t willing to work together with me to ensure that Omor moves forward. It is not the job that they will solely depend on me, so it will not be a difficult job,” Igwe Chidume assured.
The following day, the event shifted to Omor community where Igwe Chidume was crowned by four eldest persons from the four villages and two others each from Igwe Chidume’s paternal and maternal homes.
In his remarks, the President-General of Omor Town Union, Chief Chukwuma Nebeife commended Igwe Chidume for his selection and coronation, adding that as a philanthropist, they have confidence that he would take the community to a higher height in terms of quality leadership and development.
He, therefore, urged every indigene of the community to support the new monarch, even as they wished him long life and progress as he mounted the throne.
He also thanked the governor for issuing the new Igwe with certificate of recognition and staff of office, saying that the governor heard the cry of the people who chose the new Igwe for the throne after many years without a king.
The traditional ruler’s younger brothers, Anthony and Chiadi, expressed satisfaction that the monarch has 99 per cent support from the people of the community, adding that though some other people showed interest to contest the throne, the majority chose him as a beacon of peace and symbol of love.
Highlights of the occasion were cultural musical displays and masquerade display as well as other traditional dance groups.
The new king later went to Christ the King Catholic Church Omor for thanksgiving for a successful coronation.