Raphael Ede, Enugu
The traditional ruler of Amechi Uwani in Enugu South Local Government Area of Enugu state, Igwe Joseph Ogbodo, recently turned 75 and his family stopped at nothing in celebrating what they described as a fulfilled life.
Enugu State Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi topped the dignitaries who joined the monarch at the St. John’s Methodist Church, Uwani, for the thanksgiving/birthday celebration which started with prayer service.
Speaking during the thanksgiving, the celebrant told the worshippers that he was in the church to thank God for His mercies and unmerited favour that has kept him these years.
Also, to thank God specially, for keeping him alive despite that some of his subjects who wanted him dead had at some point printed his obituary posters. He used the occasion to ask God to forgive those behind the abominable act.
If there is life after here, the traditional ruler said he would want God to bless him with the kind of wife and children He has blessed him with.
“I thank Him for the wonderful family He blessed with. I will equally answer Small Joe (His alias) because if you humble yourself, you will be lifted up”, he said.
The Archbishop of Enugu Methodist Church, Most Rev. Christopher Ede, who officiated the service; also thanked God for the life of the traditional ruler and his children that have become his source of blessing.
He prayed God to forgive those who had somewhat announced the monarch’s obituary and enjoined them to turn a new leaf and embrace peace, even as he asked God to bless the people who stood by the Igwe during his
trying moment and reward them abundantly.
At the palace, the celebration was without bounds as the monarch flung his gates wide open for all to come and merry with him.
In an interview, the traditional Prime Minister of the community, Chief Michael Oguejiofor-Okenwa, described the celebrant as a humble and God-fearing man who invested all he had for the wellbeing of his people.
His words: “The Igwe Ohachirieze II of Amechi Uwani is a good traditional ruler. He takes care of the people and leads the community well. It has been long that he started leading the community, starting from when he was the Town Union President. It was after his exemplary leadership as the President of the Town Union that the community bestowed the Igwe on him and with his reign, discrimination against individuals became a thing of the past.”
He explained that there was no time the community was against the monarch but that some unscrupulous persons whom the traditional ruler stopped from selling the community land for their personal gains were behind the obituary posters.
He, however, charged the entire community to join hands with Igwe Ogbodo to elevate the community to greater height, because he is a “good man. I pray that God will grant him more healthy years on the throne.”
The celebrant’s family also poured encomiums on him. Prince Onura Ogbodo who spoke for them described their father as a man of honour, stressing that they could not have wished for a better father.
“As our father, I cannot ask for more because he made sure that we have the best of the best in terms of schooling, in terms of training and in terms of moral. So, we are 11 of his children but when you come here you will not even know who is who because there is peace in the family. So, I cannot wish for a better daddy than what we have right now. We are celebrating his 75th birthday to appreciate God for his life,” he stated.
He advised his siblings to keep to the morals that their father instilled in them; including to “respect your elders, always be diplomatic in every situation, do not judge people immediately but rather try to get the facts of every matter. We should continue to grow with these morals”.
The traditional ruler’s son noted that his father has lived for the community from his youthful age till date; pointing out that he spearheaded the creation of the Amechi Uwani autonomous community. “As God may have it, in his later age, the community recognized what he had done and eventually voted him to be their Igwe, ‘Ohachirieze’, meaning that everybody confirmed it,” he said.