OKPALIGWE AMAWBIA, IGWE OKOYE TAKES A BOW, AS LAST OFALA MARKS HIS FINAL EXIT
By Regina Igwebuike
Amawbia (Awka South LGA), Jan. 9, 2019 (MOI) Okpaligwe Amawbia, Igwe Michael Ositadinma Okoye, 1926-2018, has taken a final bow, following celebration of last Ofala festival to mark his final exit.
Igwe Okoye joined his ancestors on Jan. 2, 2018 but the Ofala, a year after his demise was the remaining rite of passage to bid him final farewell from mother earth.
As part of ceremonies to celebrate his exit, an ofala festival is usually held to mark his life and times as part of a transition process.
It was at that the last rite that Gov. Willie Obiano used as memorial of sorts to eulogize Okpaligwe, Igwe Okoye as a man, who stood for truth and justice.
A humble, cheerful and generous man, Igwe Okoye left indelible marks on `the sands of time’ in his community.
``Igwe Okoye has run a good race, fought a good fight and has finished his course,’’ remarked Gov. Obiano.
The governor, who was represented by his Deputy, Dr Nkem Okeke said that he was happy with the Amawbia Community for standing solidly behind their Igwe in spite of his then failing health.
Gov. Obiano enjoined the community to follow due process in electing the next Okpaligwe, so as ensure the selection another monarch that would continue with legacies as well as uphold enviable values and virtues, being the greatest attributes with which to recall memory of the departed.
Obiano, while urging other communities to borrow a leaf from Ndi Amawbia in according deserved respect to their departed monarch, urged Amawbia Community to be good and do everything possible to promote peace and unity.
The Principal Secretary to Anambra State Governor, Mr Willie Nwokoye, a prominent son of Amawbia described Late Okpaligwe Amawbia as an unsung example of ancient authority of a king.
Mr Nwokoye notes: ``Okpaligwe lived long, ruled long (42 years) unto old age and in spite of infirmities, commanded the universal respect of his people.
The principal secretary, while acknowledging that late Okpaligwe exhibited tremendous respect for customs and traditions, said Amawbia town should be proud that it bore the traditional ethos that was lacking in many towns.
Anambra State Head of Service, Barr Harry Udu, another outstanding son of the soil, described late Okpaligwe as ``a well-loved monarch, who during his active days bore the royal stool with dignity and respect’’.
Udu said that Igwe Okoye was one of the longest serving monarchs in the South-East, whose reign marked a lot of progress for the community.
``His transition was indeed a pointer to the fragile nature of man and the vain gloriousness of this life,’’ he said, praying God to grant him external repose and give us the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.
Igwe Joel Egwuonwu of Umuawulu in attendance at the ofala, noted that Ndi Amawbia and Umuawulu have always enjoyed cordial and age-long socio-cultural affiliation as members of Obizi clan.
He also noted that on personal levels, they enjoyed uncommon cordiality during the monarch’s lifetime on the throne.
He prayed God in this austere period in history, for divine enablement in filling the huge void created by Igwe Okoye’s royal transition to his ancestors.
Alhaji Mahmud Sani, Sariki Hausawa Amawbia described the late Okpaligwe as a leader, ``who welcome strangers including Arewa people and hosted them until his demise’’.
He pleaded with Amawbia people to continue with his good legacy.
Dr Ikem Odumodu, former Director of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and chairman, Ofala Planning Committee, eulogized late Okpaligwe as a traditional custodian of Justice, who created the traditional institution of Igweship in Amawbia.
Dr Odumodu, while noting that this was the first Ofala said that Okpaligwe had legacies others could subsequently build upon, saying that his leadership would be sorely missed by all, who had the opportunity to interact with him.
President-General, Amawbia Town Union, Mr Chris Nwoye said that Igwe Okoye was enthroned at a time the community needed a consummate community leader to lead the community.
Nwoye noted that Igwe Okoye’s love for Amawbia was legendary, incomparable and know no bounds.
The PG while describing Amawbia as a peaceful community with educated people who adhere strictly to obedience to laws and order, said that the town would elect another Igwe in no distant future, praying for a good replacement.
One of the daughters of the late Igwe, Amaka Okoye said her father was a contented man who loved all his children equally.
``My father dispensed honest advice freely and his words were full of truth and wisdom.
``Papa never followed the crowd as he looked at issues from the angle of the persons involved and peculiar facts of the matter.’’
Earlier, during the interdenominational service to kick off the last Ofala, Ven. Chris Ogbodo said that ``the legacy we leave behind is what we are to be remembered for’’.
Ven. Ogbodo said that an era has passed away, noting that Igwe Okoye had served Amawbia Community for the past 42 years.
``Time ages us, time works in our body. Everything has a beginning and an end.
``The day of death is better than the day of birth. Try to take stock of all that you did when you are alive.’’
Ogbodo while saying that we should
see any leadership opportunity as a way to better the society urges all not to
allow the things of this world to take away one’s faith from God. (MOI)