By Emmanuel Ugwu in Umuahia
The leader of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Abia State, Mr. Alex Otti, at the weekend shone like a million stars as he was honoured with a chieftaincy title of Egbogu (peacemaker) by the traditional head of Ngwa land, Eze Bernard Enweremadu.
The conferment of the chieftaincy title was one of the highlights of the 40th coronation anniversary of the Ezeukwu of Ngwaukwu, who extolled the virtues of Otti as a principled politician and a humanist, who has demonstrated his closeness to his people.
The ceremony which was held at an adjoining field to the palace of the Ngwaukwu monarch was attended by many dignitaries including the Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Nkem Okeke, who represented his boss, and Senator Emma Anosike, as well as other top politicians from across the political divide.
Eze Enweremadu urged politicians, especially from the South-east geopolitical zone to always put the people first in their actions irrespective of their political orientation, adding that there should always be a common goal which every political leader should strive to attain in order to improve the lives of the people.
He said Otti was considered and found worthy of being conferred with a chieftaincy title having proved himself as a worthy son of Ngwaland, Abia State and Nigeria in general having used his position and wealth to impact positively on the lives of the people.
Speaking with journalists at his country home Umuru-Nvosi in Isiala Ngwa South Local Government, Otti said he was delighted to be honoured by the foremost monarch in Ngwaland, adding that it was more than an ordinary chieftaincy title.
“It is the Bible that says that a prophet is without honour only among his people and kindred. So when you are recognised by your people, it is the best thing that could happen to you,” he enthused.
Otti, who is a member of THISDAY Editorial Board, said he was not an enthusiast of chieftaincy titles but that there was no way he could refuse an honour on him by the foremost monarch in Ngwa land, which also coincided with part of the activities marking the four decades of his ascendancy on the throne.
He said the chieftaincy title bestowed on him was a well-deserved honour, noting that such title “is not the type that money can buy” judging by the integrity of the Nwaukwu monarch who is well known for being “forthright, firm and fearless.”
The former bank boss thanked thousands of supporters and well wishers that thronged the venue of the chieftaincy conferment and his country home in solidarity with their political leader and benefactor.
He called for the preservation of the traditional institutions as custodians of the people’s culture and traditions, warning that in a situation where traditional stools were valued and sold as commodity the outcome would either be a profit or a loss.
According to him, “we all have a role to play to salvage our traditional institutions” to ensure that they are preserved to play the role they are supposed to play in perpetuating our cultural heritage, adding that any society that loses its heritage is as good as dead.
On the forthcoming local government election in Abia, Otti said the prospects of good outing by APGA was very bright owing to the fact that “APGA is the party to beat in Abia”, adding that the mere fact that APGA has decided to contest the poll was already sending fears to some people.