Anambra Monarch To Honour 5 Northeners, Others At Maiden Ofala Festival
From Mokwugwo Solomon, Awka
The traditional ruler of Ikem Invite community in Anambra East local government area of Anambra State, HRM, Igwe Simon Obidike, has said that he will honour 5 prominent northern technocrats, politicians and astute business men with chieftaincy titles, during his maiden Ofala festival holding on Sunday, January 1, 2023.
Prominent among those to be honoured, according to him, are the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Boss Mustapha; a renowned business man from Adamawa State, Jesse Chidama, and another astute business man – Fulani by tribe – from Kastina State, Kabiru Rabiu.
The monarch, a former Director in the presidency, said he would also honour others from different states and ethnic nationalities across Nigeria – because of their outstanding contributions to the development of politics, economy, and human capital developments; as well as their roles in maintaining peaceful coexistence in their different areas of endeavour.
He said Ofala is a festival of thanksgiving for any traditional institution in Igbo land, when the monarch invites his subjects, friends and well-wishers for merry making. He also described Ofala as marking the beginning of a new year in the life of any traditional ruler.
In a pre-Ofala briefing in his community on Friday, December 23, Igwe Obidike, who said he never planned to be a king, said that his ascendency to the throne was a child of circumstance; but said he would use the office to serve his people selflessly.
He said, “I never planned to become a king. I was a career civil servant. But the demise of Eze-Ezu I coincided with my retirement; and because our constitution makes room for rotational monarchy, the kinship was zoned to by quarter. So, being the Onowu – second in command to the former king, my people unanimously endorsed me as their candidate to the throne.
“After the last honour for the deceased former king, I was invited to attend a meeting in my community, where my people adopted me as their consensus candidate to the throne. I told them I never wanted to be a king, but that if I would accept the offer, it was because they requested of me to be their monarch. I told them that my plan was to retire peacefully, and join politics – not to contest elections, but to raise young men and women from my community, who will play active roles in politics.”
The traditional ruler also recounted his ugly days on the throne, such as the times when several attempts were made to take his life because of the throne. He therefore, urged that those who feel aggrieved should approach the court, instead of taking law into their hands.
He also regretted that ascending the throne limited his effort to give one hundred percent time to politics and raising people in the game of politics, because of the apolitical nature of the throne; but promised to play advisory roles for his people wishing to join politics.