– By Patrick Ochei
Wednesday, 26th January, 2022, will remain indelible in the annals of history of Anioma Nation, as six Traditional Rulers from various Anioma communities, including four Omus, honoured Her Royal Majesty, Obi Martha Dunkwu, Omu Okpanam/Omu Anioma/Nneoha (Mother To All and Mother Without Borders), during her 20th Coronation Anniversary as Omu of Okpanam in Oshimili North LGA of Delta State.
The Royal Fathers took turns to shower encomiums on the legend of culture as their goodwill messages to appreciate her for the quantum of work of promotion she is doing to internationalise the culture and traditions of Anioma people.
His Royal Majesty, Obi Henry Afamefune Kikachukwu, JP, PhD, Obi of Ubulu-Uno Kingdom in Aniocha South LGA and 2nd Vice Chairman Designate of Delta State Traditional Rulers Council, described Obi Dunkwu as Omu-Omu Anioma, mother to all and icon of Anioma cultural heritage.
He affirmed that Omu Dunkwu is a gift to humanity, underscoring the reason everybody takes delight in her image and the reputation she has built for leadership and the Throne she occupies as Omu of Okpanam.
According to His Royal Majesty, Agbogidi Obi Mohanyem 1, Obi of Ezi Kingdom in Aniocha North LGA, “I have keenly observed Omu Martha Dunkwu as a woman of substance who came into the traditional institution and transformed it to the admiration of all. The identity of Anioma is known across the country and beyond because of the role she is playing in bringing our culture to reckoning. I am glad I am here today, to witness her 20th coronation anniversary as Omu of Okpanam”.
In his goodwill message, His Royal Majesty, Obi Onyemaechi Josiah Kanyinaga 1, Obi of Obomkpa Kingdom in Aniocha North LGA, simply appreciated Omu Dunkwu as a great mother of Anioma Nation who has brought dignity into the affairs of women and leadership of the institution of Omu.
Impressed by the exemplary leadership disposition of Omu Dunkwu in Anioma Traditional system, His Royal Majesty, Obi Fredrick C. Egbunkonye 11, Igwe of Abala Kingdom, expressed his affection for what the Royal Mother of Anioma Nation has done in this awesome 20 years, and promised to put machinery in place for an Omu stool in his Kingdom.
Also in the spirit of appreciation and commendation to Omu Dunkwu, His Royal Majesty, Obi Anthony Ogboli, Obi of Ejeme-Aniogor Kingdom in Aniocha South LGA, prayed for sound health, prosperity and longevity of life for Omu Dunkwu to continue to do that which God Almighty has appointed her to do for her people.
His Royal Majesty, Obi Augustine Ezeagwuna, Obi of Egbudu-Akah Kingdom in Aniocha South LGA, equally followed in that prayer mood by asking God to endow Omu Dunkwu with more wisdom to continue to pilot the affairs of Omus and women in Anioma Nation, for the reign of peace, unity and love.
However, the Omus followed suit in eulogizing their own, affirming that she is a leader in whom they were all pleased.
Omu Onyebuchibe Okonkwo, Omu of Obior said the Omus have got a pride of place in traditional scheme of things and public because of Omu Dunkwu, appreciating her for her dazzling leadership and support to her colleagues.
Omu Grace Ekwutoziam Osibe, Omu of Akwukwu-Igbo, commended Omu Dunkwu for carrying her fellow Omus like egg and supporting them to succeed in their assignments.
Omu Esther Obiogwa, Omu of Ugbolu said she couldn’t have known anything if not for Omu Dunkwu tutoring her and supporting her to carry on with her functions, irrespective of the daunting challenges confronting her as a new entrant into the Omu system.
Omu Barr. Queensly Uzoka, Omu of Obomkpa said she had got an elegant mother for whom she got the strength and grace to come into the Omu system to complement the effort of her traditional ruler in moving Obomkpa Kingdom to the next positive level. “We are proud of our Mother, the Omu of Okpanam and Omu Anioma for the lessons she teaches us, checking up on us and exposing us to the world in a bid to promote what the Anioma Nation is known for. We will not disppoint her, and that is why we are praying for the grace to sustain the legacies she has brought to bear in our culture and heritages”, stated Omu Queensly.
The Coronation Anniversary ceremony was graced by the Honourable Commissioner for Humanitarian and Commmunity Support Services, Barr (Mrs) Bridget Anyafulu who commended Omu Dunkwu for the role she has played over the years, culminating in the huge gains already recorded in the transformation of Anioma Culture, dignity of women and value reorientation of the girl children.
For the Immediate Past Chairman of Delta State House of Assembly Service Commission, Chief Barr (Mrs) Josephine Ada Kachikwu, she wanted to become an Omu as a result of the visibility, glamour and elegance that Omu Dunkwu has brought into the institution.
However, because she is a princess of Issele-Uku Kingdom and by virtue of the fact that Omus are divinely called; that made the dream impossible.
Nonetheless, she has decided to devote part of her time to helping Omu Dunkwu galvanise the Omus and wives of Traditional Rulers to take centre stage in bringing back our value system, especially as it relates to child upbringing and mentorship of the girl child.
In her own goodwill message, the Executive Assistant to the Governor on Women Development and Kpakpando of Akwukwu-Igbo Kingdom, Enyi Doris Mokobia, described Dunkwu as a Gorgeous Omu with community and cultural development of Anioma Nation always in her heart.
She averred that words are always scarce to describe the person of Omu Dunkwu, maintaining that she remains an iconic woman whose personality and works will outlive many generations.
In her response, the highly elated Obi Martha Dunkwu said, she doffed her hat for the highly revered monarchs who left their Kingdoms and busy schedules to identify with her on her moment of joy, having clocked 20 years on the ancient Omu Throne of Okpanam community.
She posited that she remains an incurable optimist in the Anioma brand for which she has championed since over two decades now.
The legendary culture colossus informed her audience that she has internationalised the Omu Institution, making the whole world come to know what Omu is and the advancement of it in women leadership and promotion of the voice of justice.
Dunkwu appreciated Anioma Traditional Rulers for finding her worthy to be crowned Omu Anioma to help in galvanising other Omus for the promotion of Anioma Culture and Identity.
“I remain eternally grateful for this honour done me today. I am overtly emotional; who am I to be honoured with this manner of love.
“For all of you that have supported me over the years, including the media, may God bless you bountifully. Our relationship is like the road that leads to the river, it does not close. I will never forget this gesture and I am assuring you that I will continue to carry out my assignment no matter the challenges, because I know that the hand of God Almighty is on my head”, she said.
Omu Dunkwu also acknowledged the presence of her kid sister, Mrs. Victoria Dunkwu-Owie and husband, Mr. Martins Owie who came in from the Republic of Ireland to identify with her.
The Omu Dunkwu 20th Coronation Anniversary ceremony was a pure cultural occasion, laced with lots of traditional intricacies and Royal glamours.
The Aguba Royal Dance Group from Ubulu-Uku was on ground to give their best to the Royal Fathers and Mothers, just as the Traditional Rulers danced majestically in consonance with the rhythm of the instruments and the gentle tunes of the songs.
The occasion also provided the platform for the Aguba Dance Group to bestow on Omu Dunkwu, Mother To the Aguba Dance Group.
The Otu-Chukwu-Enyi-Rinma of Agbor added their own Ika dance glamour to the event, while the Ogene dance group from the East brought their own universal spicing to the ceremony, because Omu Dunkwu is also the Nneoha (Mother To All and Mother Without Borders).
While the audience was being entertained as the event was winding down, the Royal Fathers and Mothers, including other eminent personalities were ushered to the Exhibition stand of Akwa Ocha, Traditional Beads and other Anioma artefacts, for their viewing pleasure and patronage. They were marvelled and pleased at the dynamism of Anioma entrepreneurs in weaving and designs of our Akwa Ocha fabrics.
The following prominent personalities were also present; Obi Oli Onokwai, Diokpa of Idigba-Ocha, Obodogwugwu Village, Okpanam; Chief Austen Elumelu, the Ozoma of Onicha-Olona; Chief Darlington Igheghe, the Iyekaiyem of Ejeme-Uno and Chairman of Police Community Relations Committee, Agbor Area Command; Chief Ugoesa Huxley Unumadu, the Izomo of Umuebu Kingdom and SSA to the Governor on Culture and Tourism; Comrade (Mrs) Stella Macaulay, Functioning Permanent Secretary, Directorate of Orientation, and Chairperson, Standup for Women Society, Delta State Chapter; Barr. Awele Ideal, CEO, Ideal Child Foundation; Ogbueshi Felix Ijeh, the Ohene of Asaba; Hon (Mrs) Nkem Ogbechie; Ogbueshi Hon Ogwuda, SSA to the Governor; Mr. Onyekeonwe Ijeh; Mr. Ofulue Nwaokocha Dunkwu; Mr. Emeka Ukpelegbu; representatives of Umu Osume Family of Okpanam; representatives of the National Association of Nigerian Traditional Medicine Practitioners, Oshimili South Zone; representatives of the Organisation for the Advancement of Anioma Culture (OFAAC); representatives of Ikpoho Ogbe-Owele Okpanam (Ndi Osodieli); representatives of Ikpoho Idigbocha Okpanam; Hon Okobi Hilary Ifechukwudegeme, Councillor Ward 5, Oshimili North; Hon Afagwu Cyril, Councillor Ward 1, Oshimili North Legislative Arm; Okwu Aniocha/Oshimili Group, led by Veteran Journalist, Mrs. Ngozi Odiwe and others too numerous to mention.
It should be on record that while the Aguba Royal Dance Group presented Omu Dunkwu with Akwa Ocha through the Obi of Ubulu-Uno to bestow on her, the Mother of the group; the CEO of Ideal Child Foundation also presented her with cartons of Diapers to support her Empowerment effort to indigent Anioma girl children under the auspices of OBI MARTHA DUNKWU FOUNDATION.
Highpoint of the occasion was the cutting of the 20th Coronation Anniversary cake of HRM Obi Martha Dunkwu as Omu of Okpanam in grandstyle.