The death has been announced in Atani Arochukwu of Madam Nwannadiya Okoro. She died at the age of 85 years.
She hailed from Ndi Egwuagu Akpa compound, Atani Etiti Unit, Atani, Arochukwu. She was the mother of Mazi Kanu Okoro, Eze Ogo Atani, Arochukwu.
The family confirmed her death in a statement, saying that her burial programme would be announced on a later date.
Ikpeazu commended over Akoma’s appointment
By Our Correspondent
Since the Isimkpu-born, 58-year old correspondent of Aro News, a prolific writer and publicist, public affairs commentator and stake-holder of the People’s Democratic Party in Arochukwu Ward Two was appointed the Senior Special Assistant to Gov Okezie Ikpeazu on Grassroots Mobilisation earlier this year, the appointment has continued to attract reactions by a cross-section of the people of Arochukwu in particular and outsiders in general who know the grassroots disposition of the appointee.
On reading the appointment story in the Easter edition of Aro News, a native of Amuvi (Arochukwu) and a retired civil servant, Mazi I Okoro, had phoned to congratulate Mazi Akoma on his ‘well-deserved’ appointment. He had noted that ‘For many decades now, you have been in the news in the local and national radio stations concerning the affairs of Arochukwu. It is either you write one news talk, discuss one topical issue or the other, or you speak on public health. Not only that, I had started reading your articles in the various newspapers as early as 1980, and you have continued to write till today. Even when you were appointed into the Publicity Committee of Okpamkpo, Arochukwu in 1996, you had taken time to publicise the activities that took place in Arochukwu – where you had proved your love for the people. I see your appointment as a round peg in a round hole, really.’
In his reaction through a phone call also, a retired teacher from Atani (Arochukwu) had described Mazi Akoma’s appointment as deserving. ‘You deserve the appointment because of how you have been consistent in writing scripts that have been used as news talks over the years in public health matters, other contemporary issues and holding radio discussions on BCA, Vision Africa Radio, Pacesetter FM and others,’ he pointed out. Continuing, he had also said that ‘Each time I tune to BCA radio I always hear one news item or the other concerning you. It is either you are advising your people on one public health issue or the other; or that you are commenting on one socio-political issue or the other. We are really proud of you. Congratulations.’
Similarly, a Bende-born, highly-ranked administrative officer who had served at Arochukwu local government headquarters, Chief Ugorji, had described Mazi Akoma as ‘Oke Nwa Ndi Aro,’ in a telephone discussion; he went ahead to tell Mazi Akoma that ‘There is hardly any week that BCA radio does not carry your news on one issue or the other concerning Arochukwu or other contemporary issues. Your appointment does not surprise anyone at all. You roundly deserve it as a grassroots man in Arochukwu.’
Then, on Tuesday, 08 August this year, an Umuahia-based, retired Director of Administration and Ikenga Isimkpu, Mazi Oti Otuije, had called to congratulate Mazi Akoma in-between the 06:30am news bulletin of the Broadcasting Corporation of Abia State of that day. Mazi Otuije had commended Mazi Akoma ‘For taking time to publicise activities that take place in Arochukwu and other topical issues. You have been consistent, and I am really impressed, and proud of you. Thank you very much. Continue.’
Also, the director of News and Current Affairs Department of the BCA, Comr Hyacinth Okoli, had also described Mazi Ogbonnaya Akoma as ‘The most popular SSA in Abia state.’ The director made the observation when Mazi Akoma visited the BCA radio house in due course of discharging his official duties as the Senior Special Assistant to the Abia State Governor on Grassroots Mobilisation in Umuahia recently.
It will also be recalled that on 10 July 2010, the EzeAro of Arochukwu, Mazi Vincent Ogbonnaya Okoro (CFR) had written and observed (of Mazi Akoma) that ‘… between 1996 and 2009 when he served in the Publicity Committee of Okpamkpo, Arochukwu, he had displayed high-level hardwork, reliability, loyalty, discipline and patriotism to the extent that Arochukwu received high level of publicity throughout …’ in a letter the Eze had written to the then Abia state governor, Chief Theodore Orji, while recommending Mazi Akoma for appointment based on the qualities the EzeAro had listed in his letter about Mazi Ogbonnaya Akoma, a Justice of the Peace.
Failed ‘coup’ in Atani:
The inside story
By Our Correspondent
An attempt to embarrass Eze-Ogo Atani, Mazi Charles Kanu Okoro in the guise of dethroning him received prompt condemnation from Atani village, just as the plotters received commensurate traditional punishment.
Aro News learned that on the eve of 1st August, 2018, some indigenes of Atani, Arochukwu, including Mazi Bob Okereke and Pastor Obialo Onyerisara (popularly known as Obi Homeland) in concert with Eze-Ogo’s cousin, Mazi Obasi Ajah, allegedly conspired to obtain signatures of Atani indigenes resident at home to pass a “Vote of No Confidence” on Mazi Charles Kanu Okoro with a view to dethroning him.
The persons approached to sign the document, it was gathered, shunned the plotters, engaging them in arguments as to what had gone into their heads to contemplate such an action, reminding them that they action amounted to sacrilege.
Undaunted, the plotters reportedly went ahead to engage a town crier who sounded Ogele, summoning residents to Atani Hall for “a very important meeting.”
Aro News was told that few people, including two elders, responded to the invitation. The scanty gathering was said to have been addressed by Pastor Obialo Onyerisara, who tried in vain to convince his audience on the need to dethrone Mazi Charles Kanu Okoro as Eze-Ogo Atani and replace him with his younger cousin, Obasi Ajah.
Obasi Ajah, Aro News gathered, is one of the sons of the immediate-late Eze-Ogo Atani, Mazi Ajah. Young Obasi Ajah, after his father’s death, presided over the affairs of Atani as Arianzu (Regent) for a period of one year before the ascension of the current occupant.
Alleged ‘sins’ of Mazi Kanu Okoro, it was gathered, were that he hi-jacked Ovo Aro to Atani village as meetings of Ndi Eze-Ogo Aro regularly held in his palace instead of Council Hall in Oror, the seat of the Kingdom; he resides outside Arochukwu thereby ruling Atani from outside as well as cornered Governor Okezie Ikpeazu to his palace in Atani during the governor’s recent visit to Arochukwu, for ‘selfish reception’.
It was further learned that while Pastor Onyerisara was addressing his audience in Atani Hall, some of the plotters were outside planting native cannons (Nkpo n’ali) preparatory for firing to herald the crowning of Obasi, had the plot succeeded.
Some indigenes of the community who saw the cannons being planted reportedly raised the alarm to an impending disaster to befall the community had the guns exploded in the manner and reasons they were set. There and then, the courageous Umu Atani, including Mazi Chukwudi Okoronkwo, up-rooted the cannons and went into the hall to warn Pastor Onyerisara and his co-travellers of the dangers inherent in their wild goose chase.
According to sources, while the drama was going on in Atani Hall, Obasi Ajah was said to be relaxing in a corner waiting to be ushered in to be enthroned the new Eze-Ogo Atani. Other sources further said that as soon as the plot failed, Obasi took to his heels and fled the village, up until the time of filing this report.
Though the plot to overthrow Eze Charles Kanu Okoro was aborted, the community was reported to have frowned seriously at the incident as the Eze-Ogo Cabinet reportedly met in emergency session to review the development; the activities of the ‘coup plotters’ and the consequences of their action.
The cabinet meeting, which was enlarged to include Atani elders and Uke n’achi Ogo (Age Grade in-charge of local administration), our source revealed, decided to convene a town hall meeting to brief the people on the development.
Atani Hall was reportedly filled to capacity during the meeting, also attended by Mazi Bob Okereke and Pastor Obialo Onyerisara. The duo who were said to have owned up to their actions and activities, did not show remorse.
Ndi Ujah disown Pastor Onyerisara
At this point, it was further gathered, a representative of Ndi Ujah Compound (Pastor Onyerisara’s family) distanced the compound from the activities of their Pastor brother, announcing: “Obi Homeland is on his own.”
Egwuagu Akpa indicted
While reviewing the development, Atani elders were said to have indicted the Ndi Egwuagu Akpa family (the ruling Royal family) for its nonchalance over the role played by their son, Obasi, as there was no evidence to the fact that he (Obasi), seen to nurse some inordinate ambition, was called to order by his family.
Atani elders, who presided over the town hall meeting, having x-rayed the whole episode and its implications, delivered a verdict of guilt on Mazi Bob Okereke, Pastor Obialo Onyerisara and Egwuagu Akpa family.
Comparing the action of Mazi Bob Okereke and Pastor Onyerisara to mutiny in the armed forces which punishment is death by firing squad, Ndi Ochie Oche said the times had changed and accordingly decided that Pastor Obi Onyerisara should purge himself with one goat, 10 tubers of yams, two kegs of palm wine, two bottles of quality brandy, eight Igbo kola nuts and other items.
The same punishment was also meted out to Ndi Egwuagu Akpa family for negligence and nonchalance, while Bob Okereke was fined Ngwa Isii.
Reacting to the development, Eze-Ogo Atani, Mazi Charles Kanu Okoro, told our correspondent that he was not perturbed because, according to him, the spirits of envy and jealousy were working in his subjects, describing them as miscreants.
Eze-Ogo Atani stated that he saw no other reason for what the trio did other than envy, explaining that he had so glamorized Eze Atani stool that enemies of progress have become envious of its occupant.
He thanked Umu Atani (men and women, the youths and elders) for rising in total condemnation of the evil act, observing that, but for their prompt intervention, Atani could have been thrown into unnecessary embarrassment.
The traditional ruler further explained that though the traditional aspect of the matter had been handled by Atani elders, the criminal aspect which involved planting of dangerous weapon such as canons was being handled by the law enforcement agencies.
“By planting missiles in Atani, what they could have caused Atani is better imagined that discussed. What they did in respect of the Nkpo n’ali is a criminal act for which I had to report to the appropriate law enforcement quarters. Right now the Police are handling the criminal aspect of the matter.”
Mazi Okoro expressed surprise that it is Nwa Atani that would complain about Ndi Eze-Ogo holding meetings in his Palace, noting that Pastor Onyerisara acted in ignorance because the hosting of meetings in his Palace was a collective decision among Ndi Eze-Ogo, a development which arose from a situation that took place in Oror sometime ago and which had not been settled.
On Abia State governor being ‘hijacked’ to Atani for a brief reception organized for him by Ndi Eze-Ogo, Eze-Ogo Atani also expressed disappointment that one of his subjects should condemn the arrangement instead of feeling proud that Atani hosted the governor on behalf of Arochukwu because there was no other arrangement by Arochukwu Kingdom to receive the governor in Arochukwu during the grand civic reception for him organized by Arochukwu LGA.
“In the absence of an arrangement by Aro to receive the governor, Ndi Eze-Ogo made a contingent arrangement to ensure that Arochukwu took its right of place during the governor’s visit and venue for the reception was my Palace as agreed by the Eze-Ogos.
“Note that Eze Ibom Isii and Eze Ezeagwu left Arochukwu Kingdom to Ihechiowa to receive the governor, ostensibly on the platform of Arochukwu LGA Traditional Council whose chairman, Eze Linus is from Umuzomgbo, Ihechiowa, yet Arochukwu is the headquarters of the LGA where the reception by the Traditional Council ought to have taken place,” Eze Atani explained.
He disclosed that Ndi Eze-Ogo decorated the governor with Omu Aro george, jumper, cap and walking stick, attire in which he attended the reception at Aggrey Primary School field, Ibom, Arochukwu.
Admitting not ordinarily residing in Atani, Mazi Okoro described the charge of “ruling Atani from outside” as that of giving a dog a bad name in order to hang it because he was always in his domain two or three times every week to attend to his official duties and always on hand during emergencies, stressing the Atani community does not foot his transportation bills neither had he complained to anybody.
According to him, the important thing is performance of duties, not where one resides, stating that Umuahia where he resides is less than two hours journey to Arochukwu, and also pointed out that he is not the only Eze-Ogo in Arochukwu that resides outside the Kingdom.
Omu Aro reporter, Emma Emenike buried
The remains of Mazi Emmanuel Emenike Stephen, Arochukwu correspondent of Omu Aro Newspaper have been committed to mother earth.
According to family sources, Emenike fell ill in January, 2018 from advanced kidney failure but all efforts to save his life including weekly dialysis, failed. He was treated in private hospitals in Enugu and Abuja but gave up the ghost on 1st June in Abuja.
A native of Oror village, Emma Emenike attended Aggrey Primary School, Ibom, and Aggrey Memorial College, Arochukwu before proceeding to Lagos to work in the United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA) for over a decade.
He married his wife, Happiness, from Ndi Ago compound, Obinkita village, but as fate would have it, the marriage could not produce any issue before Happiness passed on. All entreaties for Emenike to take a new wife were undeeded.
In a tribute to the fallen colleague, the management of The Omu Aro stated: “Emma was not just a correspondent; he was also an analyst as he x-rayed developments in the Royal Palace and Arochukwu Kingdom generally. He was a fearless reporter and analyst.”
The Oror Community Development Union, Oror Village, described him as “a community mobilizer, writer and columnist” who lived a quiet and fulfilled life.
The remains of late Emenike were committed to mother earth in his family compound on 7 July, 2018 after a funeral service conducted in the main auditorium of the Arochukwu Civic Centre