Sunday, 21 May 2017

Cultural Galore as Awka bestows Ozo title on an illustrious son

By Okechukwu Onuegbu

Ozo title institution is the most important status symbol or feature of Igbo social and cultural life, and it’s as old as mankind, like every other historically part of the people.

From Nri to Enugu, Abakaliki, Owerri, Aba, Anioma, Ikwerre, Ika, Igbanke, among other Igbo speaking people across the federation, to become Ozo implies that the title holder is currently an ‘Nze’ implying living spirit and an ancestor, or as a community chose to name it.

The society is so reverenced that its members are seen as the moral conscience of their respective communities, equity, epitome of truth, justice and fair adjudicators in cases of disputes within or between a community and another in times of crisis.

In Awka, the Anambra State Capital, the spirit is the same, as members of Ozo title society christened Ozo ife (light) are seen as distinguished personalities dedicated or committed to doing good in and outside the community while avoiding evils, models and public figures.

Thus, Dennis Chukwuma Okoye, a forthright gentleman and his wife, Uju Okoye, were on Saturday May 20, 2017 initiated into Ozo ife as Ozo Obiara-ga-egbum-gbue onweya (who wants to kill me must kill himself/herself or back to sender) and Ojiefi ife society of Awka land. Ojiefi is a female wing or society involving only women married to Ozo title holders in Awka.

The epoch-making event officiated by the most senior Ozo Awka or President, Ozo Ife Awka title society, Ozo James Eze, flanked by his colleagues and their wives, witnessed prayers performed with kolanut, nzu (white chalk), drinks, others, as well as presentations of staff of office and chieftaincy hand-fan, and ive cultural dance.

Some dignitaries present at the occasion were the Traditional Rulers of Awka, Obi Gibson Nwosu (Eze Uzu II), HRH Igwe Anthony Onyekwere of Owelle, HRH J.M. Egwuonwu of Umuawulu, and others, including the Awka indigenous Catholic Men Organisation (CMO), Anurika Age Grade, etc.
Ozo James Eze, President of Ozo Ife, who prayed God to bestow His wisdom, good health, long life and prosperity on inductees, explained that, “Ozo means kedu ife ozo fodulu? (What is left?).

“Those qualified to be welcomed into our society are those above 35 years of age, married, morally sound, respectful, trustworthy, good character and also become member of ajoja and age grade.”

On her part, Ojiefi Eze Rita, President of Ojiefi Ife, while welcoming Ojiefi Uju into Ojiefi society, reminded her that “We are models to others. We are the most organised, humble, lovely, peaceful, discipline and comported. We welcome you into our fold because you have more than these qualities needed to move Awka forward.”

Also speaking, the younger brothers of the celebrants, Ozo Chucks Nwaeze Okoye (Ozo udo Awka), and Mr Okoye Ubah, described their elder brother as an important figure needed in Ozo ife to bring massive development, peace and progress of Awka.

Speaking earlier, Ozo Chukwuma Okoye, thanked ndi Ozo ife for finding him worthy of the reverend institution, and promised to live above his expectations as an Ozo.

Oji-efi Uju Okoye, while expressing her heartfelt gratitude to God, thanked their guests, who she also asked God to bless, keep healthy and prosperous to fulfill their dreams on earth.  



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