By Phil Okose Onitsha
The traditional ruler of Nteje, Igwe Rowland Odegbo, revealedthat there were still pockets of skirmishes coming from the opposition to his throne as the traditional ruler. This wasduring the weekend at the celebration of his second Ofala festival.
Speaking to newsmen shortly after the celebration, Igwe Odegbo, said, “there are still some little skirmishes here and there, coming from opposition to my Igweship throne, but we are working.”
“My goal is to unite my community and provide them with dividend of democracy which they deserve.I keep asking the youths of the community to rally round me to carry Nteje to an enviable height.
I am happy to see what has happened during this Ofala festival and I am grateful that my people came out en mass.
We started with church service at the Sacred Heart Catholic church, and it was presided over by the Auxilliary Catholic Bishop of Onitsha and I know their prayer worked because there was no rain, we had not heard any traces of violence.What we have had was celebration galore and everybody is making merry”, he stated.
On the significance of Ofala festival in Igbo land he said that it was a period when the king and his subjects come together and interact adding that, “in those days you didn’t see much of the monarch and so, after one or two years, he emerges for the people to see him.”
“Here now you can see some people and kids looking at me as if I am a ghost; the Igwe is not seen every day,” he noted.
Speaking, the former Secretary General of the community, Chief AniegbokaChukwuneke Christopher, said that the monarch used the event to confer and install nine people that included himself as members of his cabinet adding that it was done on merit and not wealth. He urged all to join the monarch in moving the community forward adding that even if the monarch defeated his rival during the election to emerge victorious, he is now everybody’s monarch.
He reminded them that, “ChinemeEze, which means, (God makes kings) and it is marvelous in our eyes”.
Chief Christopher, who has served the community in various capacities which earned him the honour by the monarch, reiterated that since the state government recognised and issued a certificate to the monarch, fighting him means fighting the state government and pleaded that the opposition should join hands to move Nteje forward.
Contributing, a member of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, Board of Trustees, (BoT) Chief Rommy Ezeonwuka, who is also a member of the four-man committee on security set up by the state government, said that enough security was put in place to ensure successful Ofala festival of Igwe Odegbo.
He warned that the state government would deal decisively with anybody who fomented trouble in the Ofala arena and in the state adding that Governor Willie Obiano, as the chief security officer of the state, would not tolerate any act of criminality.
He warned further that, “every security operative is here in this Ofala arena including police, military, civil defence, Operation Clean and Healthy Anambra[OCHA]Bridgade, DSS, Civil Defence and my boys, to ensure a hitch-free Ofala festival”.
According to him “Igwe Odegbo matters a lot to the state government and people and we are here to ensure security is put in place for the Ofala festival”
On the sanitisation of the state, Ezeonwuka hinted that street trading would be completely eradicated vowing that they would not fail in their duty to restore sanity to the state.
“The former OCHABridgade commander, Kenneth Okonkwo, failed to achieve that but we are not going to fail as we want to work with the governor who wants to transform the state”.
“We will not disturb the people but rather work with them to ensure success because street trading has posed a big problem to the state” he stated.