IHIALA Community have celebrated the last Ofala Of their Traditional Ruler and Oluoha, His Royal Highness, Oluoha Dr. Cosmas Ikechukwu Okechukwu, Oluoha XVI of Ihiala, Oluobiri.
The event which lasted for five days was kicked off by a pontifical high mass officiated by the Catholic Bishop of Nnewi Diocese, His Lordship, Dr. Hilary Odili Okeke, accompanied by other Bishops, Mosgneurs and Reverend Fathers and Sisters, including Immaculate Heart of Mary Congregation, Daughters of Divine Love and Holy Family of the Needy, People from all walks of life including the academia, the Clergy from other denominations, captains of industry, Traditional Rulers (over 80 of them) from various States-and top government officials from and outside Anambra State, as well as Christian Men Organisations and representatives from the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) where the Late Oluoha lectured before he assumed office as the Traditional Ruler and Clan Head of Ihiala attended the last ofala ceremony at the Okohia Community Primary School Field, Okohia, Ihiala.
There were thousands of cannon gun shots to herald the final passage rites of the Oluoha typical of African traditional setting in the event of the passage beyond of a great man.
Different music and cultural dances including the Uhio music and the Ohaofia War Dance Group from Abia State also featured during the event.
Speaking on the occasion, Governor Willie Obiano represented by the Chairman Ihiala LGA, Chief Ifeanyichukwu Odimegwu, while wishing the entire Ihiala Community well, stressed the need for peace and unity among the villages that make up Ihiala and among the 182 communities in Anambra State. Governor Obiano described peace and unity as the bedrock for societal development and re-iterated his administration’s commitment to peace and stability in the state.
He then called for a peaceful selection and succession to the Oluoha throne now that the Oluoha has joined his ancestors, even as he expressed optimism that the succession to the throne will be peaceful.
In his address the Regent to the Oluoha throne of Ihiala, Dr. Richardson Okechukwu, described his journey as the Regent which started a year ago as very eventful and a worthy life experience.
He described the late Oluoha as a beloved, peaceful and humane leader who sacrificed his life, personal development and comfort for the service of his people. According to Regent Dr. Richardson Okechukwu, for 31 years, the late Oluoha Cosmas Okechukwu stood against all forces of division and parochial interest that militated against the unity and development of Ihiala even as he cited as most significant the restoration of order and decorum to the selection and succession of Oluoha stool which his ascendance to the throne helped to achieve.
He said the late Oluoha Okechukwu had absolute faith in God which he demonstrated throughout his reign and tried to re-oriente his people towards de-emphasizing on personal gains to the detriment of the community that pervert justice.
Dr. Richardson Okechukwu, while calling on all sons and daughters of Ihiala to set up foundations whose vision will uplift the standard of living of Ihiala people also called for the establishment of industries by wealthy individuals in Ihiala to create the much needed jobs now that unemployment is ravaging the town.
Regent Okechukwu, who had earlier established a scholarship scheme for indigent students, the less privileged and the vulnerable in Ihiala called for support to the widows and orphans by all and sundry.
In her speech, the daughter of the late Oluoha, Princess Dr. Silverline Nwizu, described her father’s death as a huge loss which has created a great vacuum too difficult to fill in Ihiala just as the she called on daughters of Ihiala to see education is vital and key to sustainable growth.
Ichie Ezedinobi, Dr. Emma Okechukwu, a brother to late Oluoha Okechukwu commended the late oluoha’s untiring efforts to instill peace and unity among the about 45 villages that make up Ihiala community.
Dr. Emma okechukwu noted that throughout his reign as the Oluoha of Ihiala, the late Dr. Cosmans Okechukwu worked assiduously for the progress of the entire Ihiala and would stop at nothing to ensure that Ihiala Community got what belongs to them.
The Ogbuehi Akwa Ezikenyi, Ogbuehi Laz Ufomba, who was the chairman, Oluoha Transition Committee described the last Ofala as impressive and successful and commended the people of Ihiala for their support and solidarity throughout the Ofala period.
Also in his remark, Ogbuehi Ubahuekwem Ogbuehi Gerald Echere Nwabugwu, Ogbuehi Akwudughudu described late Oluoha as a great “war Lord,” a “great fighter” and a “self-less leader” whose legacies will linger for years.
They called on youths in Ihiala to follow his footsteps and build an egalitarian society where hunger and starvation will be no more and merit will be accorded its right of place in the society.