HISTORY was re-enacted in Amawbia, Awka South Local Government Area of Anambra State on December 29, 2020, as the ancient but serene town installed a new traditional ruler, Igwe Chinyelu Nnaemeka Nworah – Molokwu as the Okpaligwe II of the town.
The story of kingship in the town dated back to 1976, when the then administrator of the defunct East Central State with headquarter in Enugu, Mr. Ukpabi Asika enacted a law permitting towns within its jurisdiction to elect traditional rulers in their various domains.
The first Okpaligwe Amawbia
Amawbia, a progressive town in the then Njikoka County Council began a process that saw the emergence of their first Okpaligwe, Igwe Michael Ositadimma Okoye – the Okpaligwe I of Amawbia in 1976, whose reign spanned 1976 to 2018 (42 years) before his journey to eternity in January 2018. Prior to then, Amawbia was superintended by a warrant Chief, Chief Agbata Ikele, who was then appointed by the colonial District Officer (DO) in the colonial era.
Making of Okpaligwe II
At the passing on of the first Okpaligwe, Amawbia was under the regency of Ozo Nnaemeka Maduka – the Osojeze Amawbia, as prime minister, and after the constitutional one year period, the prime minister announced vacancy in the Igweship stool of the town, thus signaling another process for a replacement of the departed Okpaligwe. A constitutional amendment earlier endorsed by the former traditional ruler was brought into effect and the lot fell on Umueze village to produce someone as a replacement in the vacant stool.
That constitutional policy gave rise to an election wherein five contestants emerged for the stool. In the hotly contested polls on December 30, 2019, Mr. Chinyelu Nnaemeka Nworah – Molokwu polled a total of 244 votes to emerge tops, while his closest rival, Ozo Edwin Nwokoye scored 227 votes to clinch second place and Nze Ifeanyi Okonkwo took third position with 51 votes, while Ozo Mike Akubude and Prof. E.I.E Nwana trailed behind with 26 and eight votes respectively. From the outcome of the election, the emergency of Chinyelu Nnaemeka Nworah-Molokwu appeared the toxic Amawbia yearned for to heal old wounds in the town.
On October, 2020, the emergent Okpaligwe Amawbia was handed over the staff of office of recognition by the Executive Governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano (Akpokuodike) in a ceremony that brought frenzy of joy in the town. With the official recognition of Igwe Chinyelu Nworah-Molokwu by the state government, the process of formal coronation commenced in stages with the new Igwe taking the traditional ozo title, and other traditional processes customary to Amawbia, including the giving of Ofor by the Akajiofor Amawbia, in Ezioye family of Ezimezi village, Nze Arinze Aghanya, represented by Onyeka Aghanya on-behalf of the Akajiofor kindred-Ezioye on December 25, 2020.
This final process ushered in the climax of the processes on December 29, 2020, when the new Okpaligwe II of Amawbia was officially coronated and capped by the Eze-Ana Amawbia amid pomp. The climax of the ceremony which witnessed the presence of eminent personalities including, the executive governor of the State, Chief Willie Obiano, represented by the Principal Secretary, Nze Willie Nwokoye, the Head of Service, Nze Harold Uduh, Iyom Josephine Aneni, Iyom Eunice Aghanya, members of Igwe’s cabinet, Ndi Nze and Ozo society of Amawbia and the parish priest of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Amawbia, Rev. Fr. Fabian Anumba.
Other personalities that graced the event were traditional rulers of Nibo, Igwe M.C. Ngene, Igwe Obodoako of Agulu, Igwe J.N Ezenekwe of Nanka and the Hausa community in Amawbia, led by Sarikin Haruna Adamu, among others.
Speaking on the occasion, the new Okpaligwe, Igwe Chukwunyelu Ora C.N. Molokwu promised to uphold unity, peace and progress of the town while pledging continued support and solidarity with the present administration of Governor Willie Obiano in the state.