By Mahdi Waziri Isa

The Eze Igbo Ezedioranma Na Mainland, His Royal Majesty Ambassador Godwin Njubigbo (JP) has coronated Eze Ohaazure Ibeju Lekki, Lagos

It was a blend of art, culture and tourism at a cultural fest spearheaded by Ohanaeze Ndigbo Lagos State to celebrate the coronation of the title of Eze Ohazurume Ndigbo of Ibeju Lekki to Eze and Ugoeze Peter Asonye. The event took place at Union Bank Club, Bode Thomas Road, Surulere, Lagos.

In the art we had the Ohafia Dancers, display of masquerades and highlife music led by a famous highlife musician, Ayaka Ozubulu.

In the tourism sector were the presence of Chief Charles Odunukwe of Colonades Hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos, and Chief Chidi Anyaegbu of Chisco Transport while from the cultural angle were over 17 custodians of culture and tradition and peace building including His Royal Majesty (HRM) Eze (Dr) Oliver Ohanweh, Obi of GburuGburu of Igboland and paramount ruler of Isiama, in Isiala Mbano Imo State, who broke the Kolanut (Iwa Oji) in prayer for peace and unity in Nigeria, and the prosperity of all Igbos in Nigeria and diaspora.

Eze Ohanweh noted that ‘Iwa Oji’ (breaking of kolanut) was highly symbolic in Igbo culture, adding that it was what the Igbo used to welcome their visitors: “When you go to Israel you chew bread because it is their culture. If Jesus Christ was born, killed and resurrected from Igboland, Oji would have been the Holy Communion.

“When we (traditional rulers) hold oji, we speak to our ancestors, and talk to God Almighty. So oji is a symbol of peace and culture and anyone that presents orji to a visitor gives him life and in turn is blessed.”

The monarch, who is the chairman of Supreme Council of Traditional Rulers in Nigeria, said that he honoured the momentous occasion to witness the elevation of his subject who is doing well in his field: “Eze Peter Asonye is a beloved son who is after the well being of the poor in my community. During COVID-19 pandemic, he rescued many people of my community from the grip of the effects of the lockdown.

“I urge him to do more, because to whom much is given, much is expected. He should join hands with other well meaning Igbos to unite Ndigbo in Lagos. As the spiritual Oracle of Okigwe, when I see anyone doing what we ask for, I must support him,” he charged.

He tasked Nigerian leaders on the need to promote unity, progress, capacity building, empowerment, and employment of our youth while calling on all Igbo in Lagos State to obey laws and regulations of their host community and to be civil in whatever they do.

“Let us cooperate with the government and people of Lagos State so that we will be recognised and rewarded prosperously in whatever we are doing. Let the Igbo respect Yoruba and the Yoruba respect the Igbo so we can build harmonious relationships with one another,” he canvassed.

Dan Malikin Lagos, Ambassador Dahiru Aliyu (Left) saluting Eze Igbo Ezedioranma Na Mainland, His Royal Majesty Ambassador Godwin Njubigbo JP during the coronation ceremony

Representing Lagos State Council of Arewa Chiefs, South West, Amb. (Dr) Dahiru Aliyu, who spoke on the imperative of peace and culture in resolving conflicts among different ethnic regions in Nigeria, noted that the culture of the Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa are almost the same except for the different languages.

Aliyu said, “Culture is very important in the life of a nation. The event has exposed me to a lot of things about Igbo culture, and I’m taking home to my northern brothers and sisters the importance of peaceful coexistence among the different tribes in Nigeria. it is important we live with one another in peace and to understand each other’s culture and religion so that we can have permanent peace in the country.”

The coordinator of the event and President Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Lagos State, High Chief Solomon Aguene, described the event as undiluted, saying that Igbo culture had remained undiluted anywhere in the world. “We are the only tribe that has Eze as a crown. In other words ‘Ezendigbo,’ in transit. So, Eze Peter Asonye is Ezendigbo Ibeju Lekki/Dongote Refinery. We have to understand that culture and tradition are development tools such that if a people don’t practice their culture, there is nothing to bequeath to their children.

“Some of us who had our children in Lagos know that most of them can’t speak Igbo language. But with events like this, they will be motivated to learn and speak Igbo language and acculturated to know where they come from. Every tribe in Nigeria and world over has their own culture and tradition, so we are celebrating Igbo culture and tradition,” Aguene said.

He revealed that it was only Ndigbo that had the diadem Eze prefixed with their name and it had remained the tradition of the people in identifying their kings.

He noted that “there is only one Ancient kingdom in Ekeoba, Umuahia, Abia State where we have Oba of Ekeoba His Royal Majesty (HRM) Eze Iheanyichukwu Nwokenna who graced the occasion as a special guest.”

The spokesperson of the United Nations International Association of World Peace Advocates Amb. (Dr) Emmanuel Nkweke, said that the association was elated that the crown was coming to one of its own who has contributed immensely to the growth of the association and development of peace in Lagos State and Nigeria at large.

He revealed that Eze Asonye was the fifth in the association’s list to receive the Mayor of Peace award. He added that he was not just an eminent peace ambassador but a bit more than that because of his performance in uniting indigenes and non-indigenes in Lagos State:

“He has preached peace across the shores of Nigeria. There are traceable records of his achievements in peace building among all ethnic groups of Lagos State, even though he is from the South East geopolitics of Nigeria as evidenced by different tribes that graced the occasion.

“He is equally a good promoter of culture, and always standing in the gaps as a man of many parts and lover of his people. The cultural atmosphere at the event is a true reflection of his personality as a peace maker and philanthropist who has touched the lives of many, including widows, orphanages and the less privileged in society,” Nkweke said.

The newly crowned Eze Asonye thanked the ezes and special guests who graced the occasion, assuring them that,c”from henceforth, Lagos State will experience a breath of fresh air. He noted: “I’m a Mayor of Peace from the United Nations, I am a peacemaker. I have been doing this empty handed but now I have been given a Staff of Office, what do you expect from me? More work!.”

The event witnessed the empowerment of 25 widows through the charity organisation of Eze Asonye. “I feel these widows need help. I cannot be eating good food in my house, while some people are suffering. As the honcho of a charity organisation my mission is to empower those that need help,” he said.

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