The Owerri Traditional Council last Wednesday at Ugwu Ekwema, Egbu Road Owerri announced officially the exit of HRH, Eze (Pharm) Emmanuel Emenyonu Njemanze, KSC, Ozuruigbo V, the paramount Ruler of Owerri.
Speaking, the Traditional Prime Minister of Owerri, Chief Paul Nnawuchi, (Owe of Owerri) said the Traditional Council of Owerri which is made up of the five village heads came to officially tell the public that their Eze has gone on a final journey, “we are not happy that he has slept finally and he will not wake up again, be patient, steadfast and persevere”, he said. He thanked the Traditional Council and assured them that, they will do all the Eze wished while alive.
The Village Head of Umuororonjo, Chief T. O. S. Oparaugo (Apiti-Uzo Ubi) promised that they will not relent in their effort to give their respected monarch a befitting burial. He stated that Eze Njemanze will be remembered for all he stood for and the indelible footprints he left. He described the Eze as a fine man, very intelligent, peaceful and he will be missed by Owerri people. The village of Amawom, Chief Dennis Dike (Eneregheji xiii) stated that they have announced to the world that the paramount ruler of Owerri has passed on despite the radio announcement of Umuonunwa (Eke na Okorie/Njemanze).
“Owerri tradition is open, we do not belong to fetishness. We will perform the normal procession from village to village, there will be masquerade dances of which are not fetish and other traditional music will be displayed. All these things will herald his exit” he said.
During the olden days, he stated, the Owerri traditional set up,” Iwa Nkita anya, igba nmanu ihu ncha” some people request for it but as a pure Christian and a Knight, there will be no fetish burial. He stressed that” Ilo ogbudi’ is a cultural music for Ezes and people aged between 80 to 90 years.
Chief Dike promised that they will follow the burial in the Christian way, we will do the traditional things that are in tune with our custom and tradition. The President Emeritus of Owerri Daughters, Chief (Mrs.) Angella Akunna (Ada Ekwu Ezi Okwu) said “an Iroko tree has fallen, a big tragedy has occurred, an Iconic leader is gone”. She stated that Eze Njemanze will be missed by all and sundry, “he was an intelligent Eze, a peacemaker, a man more handsome than others”. Chief S.B. Chikwe had this to say, “he is the greatest Eze of Owerri, a natural ruler, very humble, humane, intelligent, and sophisticated in knowledge and Owerri people loved him. He maintained that they are going to miss him for a long time.
Highlight of the occasion will includes 30 gun salutes which will follow with 21 gun salute in the five villages respectively. Others present include President of Owerri Daughters, Mrs. Tina Anyanwu, Head of Yoruba Community, Prince Kolawole Ayo Ogundipe; Sarikin Hausawa/Head of Hausa Community, Alhaji Baba Saidu Suleman; Village Head of Umuihua-Umuodu, Chief Michael Ikefuaku Anozie Emeto (Odu Eze of Umuodu Village Head of Umuoyima Chief Cyril Ukaegbu Onyekwere, Hon. Stanley Anabere etc.