Illustrious sons and daughters of Anioma have paid glowing Homage to Her Royal Majesty, Obi Martha Dunkwu, Omu Anioma, during the Omu Annual Otite Festival which held Saturday, 11th September, 2021, at the Omu Anioma Palace, Okpanam in Oshimili North LGA of Delta State.
In her welcome address, Omu Dunkwu took time to explain the meaning of Otite (Roasting of Yam) Festival and why it was decided to make it an all Omus in Anioma affair. She also gave the ethimology of Omu by research from late Prof. Mike Angwulu Onwuejiogwu (Founder of the Anthropology Dept., University of Benin), adding that the Omu Institution is over 700 years ago.
She affirmed that the institution was going into extinction but for her activities, campaigns and advocacies when she came in, there is now light at the end of the tunnel with individuals all over the world now identifying with the institution.
“I am an incurable optimist who believes that whatever I do with result in mind, is a physical manifestation of a spiritual conclusion. We have a duty to our various communities as Omus, and we equally have a duty to Anioma as a blessed land already manifesting glowingly to the world”, Dunkwu said.
As a mother who believes that Omus are not being treated fairly, she called on the Oshimili North Local Government Chairman to initiate policies to be the first among equals to start paying Omus in his local government.
She said she had been on this Advocacy for years, not because she needs the money, but for those who can’t afford to cope as Omus. She noted that the Local Government is in the market collecting revenues where an Omu is supposed to earn her daily living; and besides, she is not being paid by her community or any other agency of government.
Her words, “My son, Hon. Innocent Esewezie, if you do this for me, no matter how small the amount is, I will forever remain grateful to you. I have always loved your youthfulness, carriage, finese and comportment as a progressive young and enlightened mind. This is a very serious matter that needs urgent attention. The Omus are suffering, they need support to carry out their duties, assigned to them by our forefathers and various communities”, she appealed.
Speaking, Hon. Innocent Esewezie eulogized the sterling personality of Omu Dunkwu, not just as a mother but as a leader and selfless giver. He recalled Omu Dunkwu’s enormous support to his person and political aspirations, saying he would forever remain grateful.
Esewezie said he decided to come with the leadership of Oshimili North Legislative Arm and other Councillors to see reason with him why a byelaw should urgently be initiated to pay the Omus.
He assured to kick-start the payment of monthly stipends to the Omus after putting a byelaw in place, and to also lobby his colleagues across the Aniocha/Oshimili Local Government Areas to do same.
“The Omus are our mothers and their functions in our various communities are enormous and sacrosanct. If paying them forms part of our achievements, then we will be proud to have achieved something.
“Again, I owe so much to Omu Martha Dunkwu. She is the only figure that truly represents our culture. We are proud of her and we sincerely appreciate her for being the voice of women and men alike. We will do everything in our power to ensure that an Executive bill is urgently sent to the Legislative Arm to pass into a byelaw for the Omus to be paid by the Council. That will give legitimacy to the payment of salaries or stipends to Omus as a legal policy towards the welfare of Omus.
“Let me also pledge that we are proud of your initiative on Girl-Child Education through the Obi Martha Dunkwu Foundation. We will also do everything in our capacity to support you. What you are singlehandedly doing is for humanity and needs encouragement from all and sundry”, Esewezie affirmed.
He also declared the Exhibition open by buying some sets of Akwa Ocha and beads. The Exhibition stands had Akwa Ocha, Traditional Beads, raw cassava, various native food and soup (Ujuju, Nsala, Ofe Akwu and others) which were on display for exhibition.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Day and Isama of Ashama Kingdom, Chief John Nwafor cut the tape to officially unveil the building donated to Obi Martha Dunkwu Foundation by Omu Anioma.
However, the Royal Father of the Day, HRM Obi Afamefune Kikachukwu JP, Obi of Ubulu-Uno, ably represented by the SSA to the Governor on Conflict Resolution, High Chief Pat Igbulu cut the tape to officially unveil the building donated to Centre for Omuship in Anioma and Women Development Initiative.
The duo of Mr. Godfrey Osakwe, the Media and Public Relations Consultant that designed the Omu Annual Otite Festival programme and Elder Emeka Esogbue, the Historian who authored ‘A Short History of Omu’, gave their speeches to buttress the importance of the Omu Annual Otite (Yam Roasting) Festival and why every Anioma person should own it and promote it as a tourist attraction for investment and development.
It was a day of merry making as guests and visitors were treated to good Anioma music, food and drinks.
Dignitaries who graced the occasion included the Secretary to Delta State Government, Chief Patrick Ukah, the Executive Chairman of Oshimili North LGA, Hon. Innocent Esewezie and the immediate Past Chairman of Delta State House of Assembly Service Commission, Chief Barr. Mrs Ada Josephine Kachikwu.
Others who brought gifts for Omu Anioma are: Barr. Adaeze Ezete from Abuja, Mr. Sam Jibunor Emeifeogwu (MD InterConcepts Global Resources Nig. Ltd) who also donated N200, 000.00 to Obi Martha Dunkwu Foundation, Delta State Executive of NUJ, members of Igbo group – Ntoana Ikeuba, Hajia Zainab, Hon. Fidelis Okonma, Hon. Hilary Okobi, members of the Legislative Arm of Oshimili North Local Government, Hon. Chibueze Aniemeke a.k.a Pino, Chief Nonso Austine Areh, women from various quarters in Okpanam, workers in Omu Palace and others too numerous to mention.
Other personalities were the Ozoma of Onicha-Olona, Chief Austen Elumelu, Deputy National President of Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Comrade Lilian, Delta State Chairperson of NAWOJ, Comrade Patricia Gbemudu, Auditor of Delta State Council of NUJ, Comrade Celestine Afokobah, Editor of Pointer Newspapers, Mr. Charles Emeni and others too numerous to mention.
Omu Dunkwu who was excited to receive the items ranging from exotic drinks, Anioma fabrics, ipad, prayer items from US, fabrics from Netherlands, money and others had asked that every item and giver be announced for the purpose of recognition and appreciation.