From Geoffrey Anyanwu, Enugu
Ishi Ozalla, a community in Nkanu West Local Government of Enugu State, was a beehive of activities on Sunday, January 3. That was when a Nollywood film and music producer, Sylvester Nweke (aka Don Sylvester) was crowned the new traditional ruler of the community.
The coronation, which took place in a peaceful and cordial ceremony at his ancestral family compound in Edeani Agu community, Ishi Ozalla, was done by elders of the community in accordance with the customs and traditional rites of Ishi Ozalla.
His ascension to the throne came almost a decade after the demise of the last traditional ruler of Ishi Ozalla, Igwe Frank Nweke. The new ruler would forthwith spearhead the socio-cultural activities of Ishi Ozalla and likewise devote more of his time in enhancing socio-economic development of the community.
The monarch said he would be celebrating his coronation, Ofala festival, annually, noting that on such occasions deserving sons and daughters of the community who have attained laudable heights in society would be honoured.
Igwe Don Sylvester, who was decorated as Ishi I (the first) of Ishi Ozalla, noted that his decision to accept the kingship was borne out of his passion to help his community and not to reap from it.
He said: “I am a successful businessman. I am accepting to serve my people. I am not ascending the throne so as to start reaping from my people. Instead, I will continue to support development in our community. Our community has been under deprivation due to lack of a traditional ruler.”
He further said his acceptance of the title was to continue to add his own wealth and influence to the socio-economic development of Ishi Ozalla, “The most important aspect of my coronation remains the fact that I am the choice of the masses, who beckoned on me to take up the responsibility. However, I will reach out to the authorities of the Enugu State government so as to be accorded the honour and recognition as the new traditional ruler of Ozalla and consequently be issued with the certificate of recognition. But the most important aspect of this coronation remains the fact that the people of my community have made me their choice and their voice will stand.”
Speaking on the occasion, the president-general of Ishi Ozalla, Christian Uzochukwu, said crowning Don Sylvester as the new traditional ruler of the community was based on his popularity and philanthropy in the community.
He noted that Igwe Sylvester Nweke, more than any other illustrious son of Ishi Ozalla, singlehandedly built a mini stadium, constructed a borehole, which provides water to some parts of the community, and built public toilets in the town.
Corroborating the PG, another prominent member of the community, Chief Peter Agu, stated that Nweke’s coronation was what most people in the community had been expecting, adding that the minor opposition to his choice as new traditional ruler of Ishi Ozalla was settled amicably.
The event was marked with traditional dance and beating of drums. Igwe Sylvester Nweke, after his title taking and decoration at his ancestral compound in Edeani Agu, was accompanied by troupes, friends and some other titled chiefs as he danced his way to his palace, a distance of almost one kilometre.