– By Patrick Ochei
The uniqueness of the Ilochi Ikpala in Obior Kingdom, which took place on the 29th September, 2022, was further enhanced by the mother of the community, HRH Omu Onyebuchibe Okonkwo during her own celebration.
Ilochi Ikpala which means the celebration of the forebears of Obior is celebrated by titled men in the community; and Omu being a man by virtue of coronation must carry out her own activities of the day as an Okpala and Omu put together.
Obior is an Ezechima community with deep track record in culture and traditions of her forebears. And so being a day of celebration of the Ancestors, the Omu was at her best, dressed in red regalia as of a Royal Princess, her appearance on the stage of celebration was greeted with over 100 canon shots (mkpolo-ani).
She felt elated by the crowd and calibre of personalities that visited to felicitate with her. Thanking God for a successful day and ability to celebrate her Ancestors in such a unique way, she pledged to continue to carry out her traditional duties with diligence and strict adherence to the rules of the Kingdom.
Omu Okonkwo stated that Ilochi Omu signifies a day set aside to celebrate the forebears of Obior for their protection, provision and direction from season to season with incremental progress.
Her words, “I am happy. I feel honoured, especially with the people who have come to be with me. I thank my king and father, Obi of Obior Kingdom, our Anioma mother and my mentor, Omu Anioma, Chief Baje from Idumuje-Unor Kingdom and many others. May God richly bless you for your presence, assistance and support”, said Omu Obior.
In his goodwill message to the celebrant, the Obior Monarch, HRM Obi Kingsley Ofuokwu 111 eulogized the Omu as a mother in whom he was well pleased, adding “Omu is my mother, Obi only has a mother and doesn’t have a father; and so I have come to celebrate my mother because I am proud of her”.
Breaking the Kolanuts, he prayed for the kingdom of Obior to continue to experience the hand of God in all her affairs. He blessed the land to continue to yield increase season after season.
He also prayed for the Omus Council being coordinated by Her Royal Majesty Obi Martha Dunkwu, asking God to continue to strengthen them in capacity and wisdom as they play their roles towards the traditional growth and development of the various communities in Anioma Nation.
Addressing newsmen, Obi Ofuokwu said, the Ilochi Ikpala is a day of merry making in preparation for the Ogbanigbe Obior which climaxes on the 7th and 8th of October, 2022.
He affirmed that Omu has enormous traditional responsibility to the community in terms of ensuring peace and order in the land.
In addition, he said the Ogbanigbe symbolises how the offsprings of Ezechima evolved, maintaining that as they go into the week of peace, Omu has the onerous task of moving round the community for cleansing and to ensure peace ahead of the awesome Ogbanigbe cultural festival.
Meanwhile, the delectable Omu Anioma, HRM Obi Martha Dunkwu was exceedingly glad to associate with the Omu of Obior whom she has high regard for as one Omu that has carried herself with dignity and respect for the institution of Omu.
She prayed for Omu Onyebuchibe Okonkwo, the Obi and the kingdom of Obior to continue to exist progressively in traditions and customs of their forebears.
Omu Dunkwu affirmed she was pleased with the synergy and cordiality that exist between Obi Ofuokwu and Omu Okonkwo, adding that such an awesome relationship is worthy of emulation.
She therefore called on all traditional rulers in Anioma Nation to emulate such virtues between the father and the mother of the community of Obior in the interest of peace, unity and progress of the various kingdoms in Anioma.
The Ilochi Omu Obior was well attended by friends and well wishers from across Anioma and beyond. Some of the personalities that graced the festival were Chief Dr. Baje, Chief Dr. Ikenga a.k.a Oracle Money, Dr. Kido Nwanji, Dr. Ugo Awucha, Chief Innocent (Iyase of Ekwuoma), Chief Darlington Igheghe JP, Chief Olotu from Warri, Chief Nwanbor Anuka, Dr. Sabo from Owa, SA Nwamama from Umunede, Mr. Ubaka Biose and others too numerous to mention.
The Omu Obior 2022 Ilochi festival witnessed awesome traditional beats and sounds that reverberated from Okanga dancers and Otu Ifechukwude Dance Group of Idumuje-Unor to the admiration of guests of Omu Onyebuchibe Okonkwo.