Okey Sampson, Aba
Saturday, July 20, 2019, could be described as the day culture met Christianity at Asaga, Ohafia in Ohafia Local Government of Abia State. The setting was the coronation of the Ezeogo Asaga Ohafia, Elder Emmanuel Kalu Kalu Olughu. It was the day Asaga Ohafia people at home and in the Diaspora trooped out in their numbers at the Rev. Umah Ukpai Primary School field, Asaga to celebrate their revered monarch. Ezeogo Olughu’s coronation was historic as it was the first time in the history of the community that cultural bustles were laced with Christian activities.
The ceremony, which was more of public presentation of the Ezeogo, had the support and blessing of a televangelist, Dr Umah Ukpai, a native of Asaga Ohafia. Adding Christian flavour to the coronation that ordinarily was a cultural event, was aerie of clergymen who came from far and near to not only sanctify the crown as it were to make it less burden to the head that would wear it, but also bless the people of the community.
The carnival-like nature with the young and old with their Ezeogo in a motorcade clearly showed the monarch’s acceptability in his community. Former Managing Director of First International Bank in Gambia, Liberia and Sierra Lone, Chief Kalu O. Kalu said: “Emmy K as we used to call him was chosen as Ezeogo on August 18, 2018, and the Izunzu nísi ceremony was performed which shows he has been accepted by his people.
“The coronation was performed to show him to the whole world that he has been chosen as the Ezeogo. The ceremony is more of public presentation and this is the first time this type of coronation will be performed in Asaga Ukwu, other coronations in the area used to be low key.
“In our place, Ezeogo rotates from compound to compound, in Asaga, there is what we call Umuokwara and Umuoma etc. The people that rule in my place are six people (Ibem Isii), but the Eze is the first among equal. When the former Ezeogo died, it got to the turn of the compound of Olughu and his compound chose him and nobody will upturn that. He was not chosen because of his wealth, it has to do with his character.
“Asaga people in other parts of the country and in the Diaspora came home for the coronation. Also in attendance were people from our neighbouring communities in Cross River such as the Biakpan, Ikwunabia, Ndierem, Uzukpam, all these neighbouring Cross River people, that’s to show you our relationship with them. They call us the Cross River Igbo; we are mingled with the Cross River and Akwa Ibom people.”
He said it was the first time in the history of coronation in Asaga community that the clergy came out in their numbers and participated fully in the ceremony. Wishing the Ezeogo whom he described as God’s appointed a peaceful reign, Kalu said the man of the moment is a humble and peaceful person who would bring his wealth of experience as a former senior public servant to bear on the stool.
Former coach of the Flying Eagles and friend of the celebrant, John Obuh, said: “It is desirous for everybody to aspire if it’s something you need to aspire, but it is hereditary, it is not something anybody will have to struggle. One thing about it is that he was overwhelmingly chosen by his people. They so much trusted and believe in him and being a man of God he is, he now decided to do anything he does with the fear of God.
“If you saw the coronation, you find out it was more concentrated on Godly activities than traditional.” He said he had no doubt that the Ezeogo would excel having come from a disciplined background coupled with his level of education.
The Ezeogo who said he was going to bring modernity to the stool while responding, equally made it clear that he was going to rule with the fear of God. He preached for peace and unity in the community, stressing that it was only when there was peaceful coexistence that development could come to the area.
An elder of the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria, Ezeogo Kalu, retired as a director in the Federal Ministry of Education and became a consultant to the United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF) before the lot fell on him. Many dignitaries graced the event including former Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Azubuike Ihejirika (rtd), friends, associates and former colleagues of the Ezeogo in the federal service