- Coronation rites of new Obi begin
By Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba
His Royal Majesty, Professor Chukwuka Okonjo, Obi of Ogwashi-Uku Kingdom in Aniocha South Local Government Area, Delta State, has joined his ancestors.
Obi Chukwuka Okonjo, who ascended the throne as the traditional ruler of Ogwashi-Uku in 2007, passed away recently in the United States of America (USA) at the age of 91.
The renowned professor of mathematics and father of former Nigerian finance minister, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, was also an astute education administrator and prolific author of many mathematics and general science books.
He was also an activist of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) in Nigeria.
Secretary to the Obi of Ogwashi-Uku palace, Mr Lawrence Okolobi, broke news of the demise of the monarch in a release on Friday in Ogwashi-Uku.
The statement also disclosed that the process of rites of passage of the departed traditional king and the installation or coronation had commenced simultaneously in consonance with culture and tradition of the Kingdom of Ogwashi-Uku.
Accordingly, the rites of coronation of Prince Ifechukwude Okonjo, the third son of the late monarch began at about 3am on Friday, including his formal crowning, while other rites would continue for the next 21 days, with the next seven days being the most critical, the statement disclosed.
THISDAY was at the Obi’s palace on Friday to witness some of the coronation rites conducted by traditional council of chiefs, kingmakers and elders drawn from the relevant clans amid intermittent gunshots.
Specifically, Ifechukwude Chukuka Okonjo, a financial management expert and CEO of Chevy Chase Consulting, has been duly installed as the new Obi of Ogwashi-Uku Kingdom.
The installation rites included the cleansing of the palace ground with a live mother hen tied with palm leaves and white chalk mixed with coconut water symbolising peace.
Nonetheless, the ascension of Ifechukwude (meaning, What God has destined) Okonjo followed the passing of his father, His Royal Majesty Obi (Prof) Chukuka Okonjo at the age of 91 and the completion of necessary traditional processes.
The process also include the new Obi’s endorsement and presentation by the Umu Obi Obahai Royal Family of Ogwashi-Uku and the traditional chalking and crowning ceremonies conducted by the Ikelike and Agidiehi Kingmakers in Ogwashi Uku.
The new Ogwashi-Uku monarch, who also worked for Halliburton Nigeria, attended Federal Government College, Enugu. He obtained his A levels as an external student of the University of London before proceeding to United States of America where he bagged two bachelors degrees in Economics and History from University of Maryland, College Park and an MBA from University of Edinburgh, Scotland.
”He is currently pursuing a doctorate in Business Administration from University of Paris, in France.
”A transformational minded leader with a deep and abiding love for his people, His Royal Majesty, ObiIfechukwude Chukuka Okonjo’s focus is to be a forward-looking and inclusive traditional ruler who will elevate his people by serving as a champion of translating progressive and practical ideas into action.