– By Patrick Ochei
The young and dynamic Executive Chairman of Oshimili South Local Government, Hon. Kelvin Obi Ezenyili has eulogized the sterling leadership qualities and impeccable personality of the Iyase of Asaba Kingdom, Obi Patrick Isioma Goodluck Onyeobi, describing him as his mentor and role model.
He made this assertion while paying homage to the Iyase during his 2022 New Yam Festival (Iwaji) celebration on Thursday 22nd September, 2022, at the Ogwa Iyase in Asaba.
The Chairman said people might not know how he got into office as the Oshimili South Council Administrator, stating that it was the making of Iyase Onyeobi.
His words, “It is a humbling pleasure on my person to identify with the Iyase of Asaba. We are not just here because of his new yam festival celebration, we are here because this is what we want to always do – identifying with him.
“Obi Onyeobi is more than a father to me. He played critical role in my emergence as Chairman of Oshimili South Local Government. As long as we continue to be in office and even beyond, we will always pay our loyalty to him.
“I am exceedingly grateful to God for having such a well endowed community leader on my side. Iyase Onyeobi remains a fountain of knowledge, wisdom and intellectual prowess to always draw from, and no matter his age, he has continued to play key role in brightening our administration. He was an administrator par excellence and that is why we will not stop praying to God to grant him many more years of productivity for the good of humanity.
“On this note sir, I have come to inform you that our administration recently embarked on the construction of the Oshimili South Legislative Complex. That building is 85 percent at completion stage. When completed, we shall invite the Governor of our dear State and incoming Vice President of Nigeria, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa to commission it. This edifice will be named after you sir, Obi Patrick Isioma Goodluck Onyeobi as our token of honour for all you have done and stand for in Oshimili South and the entire human race. Obi Igwe!”, Ezenyili announced.
In his response, the Iyase said he was surprised to receive such cheering news from a working Chairman.
He stated that he would live to remember this particular edition of his Iwaji celebration, appreciating Ezenyili for honouring him on his moment of joy as a traditional leader and also proposing to immortalise him.
According to him, “I am surprised at how highly this young man, assessed to have done so well thought about me. I am not a politician; I was only a professional civil servant who was taught how to dispense leadership that brings peace and development to the people. We were taught that there is no price greater than the price for peace. The Chairman has done extremely well and we must continue to support him.
“I just do what I need to do as an individual. This has shown me that people see the good works of others. And except a man dies, his goodwill continues to live on.
“Our Chairman has proven to be a true son of Anioma Nation; we must as a people keep record of such virtues and quality of humans around us. I once again appreciate him for honouring me on my Iwaji. This is a celebration of Asaba people as an agrarian community reputed for farming as their major industry. And yam as their revered staple food is the symbol of Thanksgiving to God and Ancestors for a productive farming season, while also using the period to pray for better farming seasons in future.
“The Asagba of Asaba having done his own Iwaji, the Obis then followed. I am currently an Obi, also an Iyase having first been installed as a chief and presently, I hold the position of Diokpa of Idumuojei Village in Umuezei Quarters of Asaba. So in my case, I now combine the three celebrations to have one Iwaji celebration. It’s a period of peace; Iwaji is used to harness peace and so, when we gather to celebrate the new yam, we are gathering because of the presence of peace in our community. Where people are hungry there can’t be peace. On this note, I urge the government to provide the enabling environment for people to live in peace”, Onyeobi posited.
It was indeed a day of merry making as the men, women and youths gathered in their numbers to celebrate with Obi Onyeobi and there was more than enough to eat and drink.