From David Onwuchekwa, Nnewi
Core Igbo tradition played out on Saturday at Ukpo in Dunukofia Local Government Area, Anambra State when His Majesty, Robert Eze (Okofia VI), Igwe Ukpo and clan head of Dunukofia ancient kingdom gave chieftaincy titles to several illustrious sons and daughters in South East and beyond.
Recipients of the chieftaincy titles at the event were distinguished Nigerians including the Chief Medical Director of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH), Nnewi, Dr Joseph Ugboaja who was given the title of “Kachi Si Eme Amaka” and Governor of Enugu State, Rt Hon Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, “Ifezulumba”.
Others are Senator Uche Ekwunife who was given the title of “Ifekaolaedo” and Senator MAO Ohuabunwa coronated “Dike Udo”, among other dignitaries.
Dr Ugbaja who appeared to be the youngest among the recipients was escorted to the palace of the Igwe Ukpo in a convoy by NAUTH management team and Ugboaja Support Group with his Chief of Staff, Mr Njoku Jackson leading.
After his coronation and the royal blessings, Dr Ugboaja while addressing the press said he was elated to be honoured by his Royal Majesty who in his wisdom, according to him, considered him worthy to receive the chieftaincy title among other notable Nigerians.
“For me to be considered for this title means I will have to double my efforts in what I do that has attracted attention to me.
“My mission and vision is to give my generation the best in my area of calling. As the Chief Medical Director of the NAUTH, it is my resolve to uplift the health institution up to the level the people of the South East and entire Nigerians will be proud of and the journey has since started practically.
“We have an annex here in Ukpo and I will make sure that they get the best we can afford. I know that to whom much is given, much is expected. I will never fail those who repose confidence in me. We are right on course and our movement to the hospital’s permanent site is a clear testimony of our resolve. A great transformation is ongoing there,” the CMD said.
After addressing the press, Ugboaja acknowledged cheers within and outside the palace with some dance steps that proved his youthfulness in tune with the renditions of the traditional musicians.
Nine persons in all were given chieftaincy titles, all dressed in immaculate white “senator”, a red cap to match and other accessories to confirm their titles and inscriptions.
Five women were also given honorary women cabinet chieftaincy titles including the first female Professor of Mass Communication, Stella Okunna who was given the title of “Kpakpando” of Igbo land; Lady Prof Lizzy Chinwe Okeke, “Ochechinyelu”, Lady Barr Bene Nwachukwu “Iyom Ome Mma”, among others.
An address from the royal throne prayed for the king to rule for ever.
The address said that Ukpo people had continued to enjoy the encouragement of their citizens and well-wishers.
“The entire community has been supportive. We thank the members of the Igwe-in-Council, the President General of Ukpo Improvement Union (UIU), UIU women wing, youth wing, the planning committee and every other individual or group in the twenty one wards of Ukpo community, ” the address read in part.
Ukpo people in the address appreciated Prince Dr Arthur Eze who they described as a gift to the community. They said he had done a lot to transform the community and beyond.
They also extended greetings to President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Willie Obiano for what they had done for the community in areas of appointment.