Thursday, October 17, 2013

In Ghana: Igbo king is now member of native authority


In Ghana: Igbo king is now member of native authority

…Admitted to Ga Traditional Council

By MAURICE ARCHIBONG

A historic milestone in Ghana-Nigeria relations was clocked on Wednesday, 9 October, 2013; with the induction of Eze ndi Igbo in Ghana, Eze Chukwudi Jude Ihenetu, into the Ga Traditional Council (GTC). Ga are the aborigines of Accra, capital city of Ghana; and, the Greater Accra Region; one of the 10 federating units of this much-loved neighbouring country.




Igbo 1, HRH Ibe Nwosu; flanked by Eze Okpotemba, Chief Dimgba (2nd left) as well as Eze and Lolo Ihenetu 2nd and 1st right.
PHOTOS: MAURICE ARCHIBONG. All Rights Reserved.
Going by the Accra suburb once solely known as Lagos, renamed New Town; Oluwadare House on Kojo Thompson Road, built in 1924, as well as John Abokye House nearby; Enugu House on the Teshie-Nungua Road, all in Accra; and, Kano House in Cape Coast; some Nigerian settlers evidently made home in Ghana close to 100 years ago or even earlier.

Despite being part of various Ghanaian societies for centuries, it is doubtful that a Nigerian traditional ruler ever became a member of any native council in that country. However, that proverbial rubicon was finally crossed with the admission of Eze Ihenetu to the Ga Traditional Council, last week. And, the investiture, which threw up much euphoria, was, to put it simply; exciting!

Crossing the Rubicon

In his speech, after conferement, Eze Ihenetu aka Ohazurume 1; observed: “Today is a special day. It is a date that Igbos in Ghana shall always remember. It is a day that our descendants will forever be proud of. It is also a date that the Ga who welcomed us with open arms shall never regret”.
Acting President General of Ga Traditional Council, right with another royal personage during the event.

Continuing, Ihenetu, who prayed that God should continue to bless Ga rulers with wisdom and resources, so they would always lead their indigenes and foreigners living on their land well; added that admitting Igbos into Ga Traditional Council is further confirmation of the enviable hospitable disposition of the average Ghanaian.

Mauricearchibongtravels gathered that with this development, Igbos in Ghana have thus become part of the decision-making process within the GTC. It is worth recalling that, to whom much is given, much is also expected. The induction therefore had sombre moments, where Eze Igbo said elders of the GTC should feel free to call him or his followers to order, whenever necessary.

“Although I am king, in terms of age and experience, I and my people are still children compared to you. Therefore, there might be aspects of the culture that we are yet to fully grasp. So, should we ever err, please feel free to correct us”, he intoned.

Speaking further, Eze Ihenetu pointed out, that; positive repercussions would follow the endowment of a seat in Ga Traditional Council for Igbos resident in Ghana. Alluding to contribution toward community development, this Eze Igbo promised: “Whenever we are called upon, we shall play our part”.

Tokens from the rites of passage

During the colourful occasion, which was interspersed by several parades of dancers and melodious songs, Eze Ohazurume was presented with a certificate confirming his membership of the Ga Traditional Council. The ceremony also featured, among others, pouring of libation, visit to a sacred spot within the palace complex, where lengthy incantations were recited amid pouring of more libation after which Eze and Lolo Ihenetu were offered sips of a drink from that presumed fountain of wisdom.
At the sacred spot under an ancient tree, where the pact was formally sealed.

HRH Ibe Nwosu and Eze Uche IC Dimgba, Igbo 1 and Okptemba respectively, who among others travelled to Ghana to witness the august process; and, select few others were also allowed to partake of the special drink from the sacred place, said to be the source from which all powers derive.

Now, a toast to this: It was nice listening to the chorus of, Okorobia di nma, Eze Chuks, Okorobia di nma, anyi sokwa gi n’azu (roughly translated: King Ihenetu, a good man; we’re solidly behind you); by a troupe of Igbo women. But, the concerto became even more soul-lifting through the accompaniments offered by Yoruba minstrels on hand.
Yoruba minstrels who enriched the entertainment with their music.

In deed, this was a touching example of how much Nigeria stands to gain, if her various ethnic/religious groups would join hands and contribute toward national development. And, even this is applicable to countries across various borders, too.

‘Our people are republican’

Nonetheless, it must be pointed out that fear was raised that another Igbo person or group might later come to the Ga Traditional Council to ask for the same privilege accorded Eze Ihenetu. In fact, Eze Ndi Igbo Ikeja and Okpotemba Igbere, Eze Dimgba, personally expressed this view, when he declared: “Before we depart, I want to inform you that our people are republican. Therefore, somebody or another group might come here tomorrow to ask for admission to the GTC, too”.
Igbo women choristers.

Concluding, Okpotemba, who is also Vice President (South), Association of Ndi Eze n’uzo ije Worldwide; pleaded: “I hope you will not recognise those ones”. Responding, the Acting President General of GTC, who spoke through the MC; assured: “That will not happen. It is not possible, given the special rite that has been performed at the sacred spot”.

Attendance

The event, which took place inside the Palace of the Ga Mantse in the Kaneshie neighbourhood of the Ghanaian capital attracted hundreds of witnesses. Although the Ga hosts and Igbo made up the majority of the crowd, the guests also included Nigerians from other ethnic groups.
A view of other Nigerians during the investiture.

Apart from numerous Ghana-based Yoruba and Hausa-speaking folks, Igbos from the five states in Nigeria’s South-east geopolitical zone; viz: Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo, were all represented.

A snappy roll call of the Igbo personalities in attendance revealed: HRH Ibe Nwosu (Igbo I), Eze ndi Igbo Abuja, and current President Ndi Eze n’uzo ije (Association of All Ezes in Diaspora) Worldwide; Eze Uche Dimgba (Okpotemba); Chief Gilbert Onwurili (Onowu); Nze Kennedy Obi, Chief Johnson Isaac Chigbata, CEO, ICJ Farms Limited; Secretary of Ohaneze ndi Igbo in Ghana, Comrade Emmanuel Irechukwu; Elder Shedrack Okoro, Chairman of Imo Community; Chief Reginald Azubuike, Chief Ugo Onugu; Chief Douglas Emeka Onodugo; Chief Ernest Chibueze Ogbu (Nwachinemeru of Enugu); Chief Onogo (Ezedino obi), Chief Samuel Eke; and, Mr. Kelechukwu Ike, fondly called KK.

Igbo youths, Prince Anayo Nwaogu (2nd left) and others at the palace party.

The Yoruba guests included Mr. Albert Bayo, a chieftain of All Nigerians Community (ANC) in Ghana and Mr. Taheed Owolabi, while Chief Nelson Okon, Chairman of South-south Community in Ghana also led select members to the event; where other Igbo-born personalities like Chief Godswill Chukwu; Chief Harrison Mba, Prince Anayo Nwaogu, Mr. Patrick Nwachukwu; Prince Kingsley Ugochukwu, MD/CEO of Ikeja, Lagos-based 100% Hotel & Suites; and, Valentine Dike of Corporate Protection Security; put up a strong presence.
Some members of The New Osadebe Band that entertained the crowd during a post-induction celebration at Eze’s Palace in East Legon.

Dignitaries on the Ga side included Nii Doodo Nsaki II, Acting President General (GTC); Nii Ayikai III, Nii Ayi Bonte II of Gbesie Traditional Area; Nomo Ogbeamey III (Sakumo Wulomo) and Naa Adokailey Notse II (Queen Mother).
A section of Ga elders at the ceremony.

Among other notable Ghanaian indigenes at the event were king-makers, clan heads, palace courtiers as well as a Ghalleywood star, Vivienne Achor, Production Coordinator of West Coast Entertainment (Gh) Ltd.

Below, are three more pictures from the event:


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