Okey Sampson, Aba
All roads led to Camp Onugu, Ugwu Abaa, Asaga Ohafia in Ohafia Local Government Area of Abia state on the Easter day, when friends from across the country honoured one of their own, Ezieogo Emmanuel Kalu, who was recently installed traditional ruler.
Kalu, an elder of the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria and retired director of Federal Ministry of Education, Abuja was unanimously crowned the Ezieogo of Asaga Kingdom; an elevation his friends agreed was worth celebrating.
Former Managing Director of First International Bank, Gambia, national team coach, John Obuh and several other dignitaries from the public and private sectors attended the event.
Speaking at the programme, the monarch called for the rebranding of the traditional institution because of the setbacks caused by the creation of autonomous communities in some states with its attendant bastardization of the institution.
He emphasised that the institution should not be written off as it can still be better with some re-jigging, noting that nothing is perfect on earth.
According to him, the “traditional institution is okay as it is in Nigeria, nothing is perfect; it can still be improved upon especially now that highbred people are coming on board”.
To make it better, he opined that since tradition is dynamic, the institution should be reserved for those that have the nobility. “We should have to remove the bad aspect of tradition and make it compliant to global practices. We have to showcase our tradition, re-brand it”, he advocated.
Giving an abridged history of the Asaga Ohafia traditional institution, Kalu said the kingdom has six kindred, but only one of those kindred called Umuokwara is a royal linage which produces the kings that have ruled Asaga from time immemorial. “Ezieogo is the king that rules over Asaga. It is run by inheritance; other kindred have their own functions. Ezeiogo takes care of the culture, tradition, peace and security of his people. The Ezieogo is a full time job, he has traditional instrument of office; I’m domiciled here, but the traditional ruler which we call autonomous traditional rulers may not live in their communities”, he clarified.
In addition, he said, “Before I came here after my retirement as a director in the Federal Ministry of Education, I had a job with UNICEF, I was consulting with UNICEF, I had to come down from that job to serve my community just to ensure there is peace. I did not fight for this; I only came to make a sacrifice. I know how much I was earning as a consultant after retirement. People fight for this position, I can’t and I wouldn’t. I was called to come and ascend the throne. Though I have the blue blood in me, I refused, but only agreed when the pressure became much.”
He urged his people to be peaceful, law abiding and appreciate what God has given them.
Okey Oti, a long standing friend of the Ezieogo from Afikpo, Ebonyi state, narrated how friends persuaded Kalu to accept the throne when he first rejected it. He described him as a good Christian and a man that has seen it all in life while expressing the optimism that he will not disappoint.
According to him, friends of the monarch were sure that with him on the throne, Asaga will not remain the same again in terms of development.
Wife of the Ezieogo, Elder Omasiridiya Kalu sees her husband’s new position as a call to service. “Since a Christian’s life is a call to service, being Ezieogo is also a call to service. David was a king, as Christians, we will use his position to serve God. Before he took the position, he told his people that he would not do things that will be antithetical to God’s ways and I urge him to hold on to that.”
Other speakers including the former bank boss, Obuh and the Ezieogo’s younger brother, David Kalu, an adviser to Abia governor on Due Process, all poured encomiums on Kalu for accepting to be their monarch. They pledged their unalloyed support and to work towards his success.
Prof E.E. Kalu who moderated the occasion said the reception was organised by few friends of the Ezieogo and not the entire Asaga people, to thank him for accepting to assume the throne. He believed that as a well-educated person, Kalu would bring modernity to the stool.