KuOmon-Julius Onabu in Asaba
Prominent Nigerians from different walks of life, yesterday, joined former Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and her husband, Dr. Ikemba Iweala at the Thanksgiving Service to conclude the rites of final passage for her father, the late traditional ruler of Ogwashi-Uku in Delta State, Professor Benjamin Kachukwu Okonjo.
Among those who graced the occasion were the Imo State Governor, Hon Emeka Ihedioha; his Delta counterpart, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa; former Ogun State governor, Otunba Gbenga Daniel; Deputy Governor of Anambra, Mr Nkem Okeke and the pioneer Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu
Others at the burial were the Chairman, Delta State Council of Traditional Rulers and Obi of Owa-Oyibu, HRM Dr Emmanuel Efeizomor II, and special assistant to the Delta Governor, Prof Sylvester Monye.
The late royal father and renowned mathematician, joined his ancestors in July this year and his third son, succeeded him as Ifechukwude Okonjo II at his coronation on September 13, 2019.
Rt Rev Justus Mogekwu, Anglican Bishop of Asaba Diocese, in a homily at the Immanuel Anglican Church, Ikelike, Ogwashi-Uku, commended the new Obi of Ogwashi-Uku, Okonjo’s II, for opting to conclude the series of burial rites of the late Ogwashi-Uku monarch with a Christian thanksgiving.
He charged the new monarch to be confident that God Almighty, who chooses kings and leaders over people, will always be with him but to be humble in adorning the image of God, because God is humble and always reconciling his people to himself.
He noted that one of the challenges before Okonjo II remains the deep-seated division among the people of Ogwashi-Uku, which has lingered for about 40 years, urging him to brace up for the reconciliation and unification process in the kingdom.
Mogekwu said, “God apportions royal crowns and thrones; it is an honour no one bestows on himself, for without God we are powerless.
“The fact that God has chosen you does not mean you will not meet challenges or that all will be rosy or that people will not hate you.
“God has always lifted kings among men. A king or priest must, therefore, put on the image of God, which is humility and the spirit of reconciliation. You offer yourself for service through humility and reconciliation.
“You are the God that they (the Ogwashi-Uku people) see. For more than 40 years we have been unable to speak with one voice. There has been mutual suspicion, rivalry, bitterness and disunity. We have not made enough progress as a people because of hatred, envy and disunity.”
The cleric, however, expressed hope that the biblical “valley of dry bones signifying despair and hopelessness” would live again, warning against wishing away what he termed “evil forces in the world”.
While stressing that the king must strive to address the numerous problems facing his subjects, Bishop Mogekwu said, “So, prophesy – as the visible prophet among the Ogwashi-Uku people today – for the dry bones to rise again. Will you so prophesy?”