Egbudu-Akah: A Citadel Of Culture And Tradition

By Paul Nwayalani
“ANYONE can claim to be your friend or brother, but some people are friends in name only, the grief caused when a close friendship or relationship turns sour is as bad as death” -Ancient Proverbs
Egbudu-Akah community in Aniocha South Local Government Area of Delta state, a foremost agrarian settlement, noted for her love for nature, a veritable citadel for tradition and rich cultural heritage worthy of emulation by even her neigbours. And for several decades, the community’s late traditional ruler, Obi Okolie, who was on the throne of his ancestors for 70 years did not only greatly projected and promoted the image of Egbudu-Akah kingdom but equally showcased himself as one of the longest serving monarch in the world, until his death on September 30, 2016. He was crowned on February 12, 1946, the same year with late Obi James Anyasi of Idumuje-Unor kingdom in Aniocha North local government area of Delta state, also as King Rahman BhumaboI Ayudalej of Thailand.
The death of Obi Okolie, then brought to focus, the issue of successor and heir apparent to the ancient throne of Egbudu-Akah kingdom, as well as the ugly scenario that has exposed the good people of the community to traditional and cultural ridicule as to who becomes the next Obi, despite the fact that for centuries, the kingdom had a laid down transparently straight forward succession system which stipulates that on the death the monarch, the first (senior) son automatically takes over as the next traditional ruler of the kingdom and nothing less, nothing more, no matter the circumstances.
Be that as it may, the people of Egbudu-Akah had to install Paul Nzemeka I as the Obi of the kingdom on Wednesday, November 9, 2016, in accordance with the tradition and custom of the people of Egbudu-Akah, and it was reportedly performed by king maker as the royal crown was placed on the head of Obi Paul Nzemeke I by the Diokpa) (eldest man) of Umu-Obi Quarters (royal family) Pa Augustine Ikwesi as stipulated by the custom and tradition of the people from time immemorial.
Who is Obi Paul Nzemeke I?
He is 66 years old and attended Saint Theresa’ primary school, (now Illoh primary school, Egbudu-Akah) and completed his primary education in 1964; proceeded to St. Columbus’ College, Agbor (now Gbenoba College), but later completed his post-primary education at Esigie college, Abudu in 1978. In his quest for further education and desire to build an enviable career in education, Obi Paul Nzemeke I moved to the great Afuzie College of Physical Education (1978-1979), and College of Education, Agbor (Afuzie Campus) between 1980-1982, before proceeding to the University of Nigeria (UNN), Nsukka campus, where he bagged a Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) degree in Health and Physical Education in 1991. He served his NYSC in Kaduna state after graduation.
On his career progression and hobbies, the monarch said, “I put in 35 years of meritorious result oriented service as an educationist where I retired without blemish as the vice-principal of Egbudu-Mixed Secondary School, Egbudu-Akah where I retired in 2010”. He stated that for several years as a renowned athlete and footballer, he represented the then Bendel state and Delta state between 1975-2001, where he left his marks as a sportsman and teacher, adding that” my hobbies include travelling, reading and farming, amongst other extra-curricular activities.
After the demise of his late father, Obi Okolie whether he anticipated that there will be any opposition to his installation as the Obi of Egbudu-Akah, Obi Paul Nzemeke I said, “Throughout my life I have never had cause to think otherwise, until, immediately after the death of my father, the royal family discovered that some unknown persons have broken into the secret archives of the palace, carted away some royal beads, elephant tusk, royal caps, and other items meant for the next successor to the throne”, adding that during this period, some ugly insinuations were also being made by some miscreants in the community “ to indicate that some mischief makes were planning to cause confusion which may lead to traditional and cultural aberration in the kingdom and to the utter embarrassment of the good people of Egbudu-Akah and its environs”. He stated that if allowed to go on, the situation will greatly debase the rich cultural heritage of the kingdom, equally cause chaos, confusion and breach of peace in the community.
On what is the level of the rites and traditional /customary actions taken by the kingmakers for the installation of Obi Paul Nzemeke I, the Diokpa of royal family, Pa Augustine Ikwesi, said, “Despite the initial antics of some rebels who thought that the installation of Obi of Egbudu-Akah could be given to the highest bidder, by political selection or appointment or election, I stand on authority to confirm that the traditional rites for the installation of Obi Paul Nzemeke I as the Obi of Egbudu-Akah has been successfully completed since last week, and he has taken over from the reign of the throne of Egbudu Akah after the demise of his late father, Obi Okoli”. He emphasized that the rites already performed by the traditionally relevant persons including himself, has customarily put to rest all agitations and mischievous grumblings by few persons in the community.
Also speaking, an ex-soldier, a member of the royal family aged 66 years, Chief Felix Onochie Illoh, stated that “due processes were strictly followed during the installation processes, and that the people of Egbudu-Akah are now waiting for the end of three (3) months mourning period in respect of the late monarch which ends on December 31, 2016, after the burial rites/celebration will take place.”
Similarly, the last born of the father of late Obi Okolie, Mr. George Enemokwu, aged 70 years, said that “The community’s installation of Obi Paul Nzemeke I was strictly based on the age-long principle centred on truth and in the interest of the kingdom, because Obiship stool is not by bazaar or political manipulations no, matters the circumstances at all’’.
Speaking in an interview with our correspondent at Egbudu-Akah, the new Obi, Paul Nzemeke I, expressed gratitude to the good people of Egbudu-Akah for their tremendous support, cooperation and appealing to them to remain calm, peaceful and law abiding in the interest of harmony in the community. He urged the people to remain supportive so that it would be easier for them collectively to join hands together to move the community forward to the next level, adding that they should always embrace peace and avoid any act that could lead to problem or conflict in the area. Obi Nzemeke I equally reiterated his determination to use his position to attract good things to the community with the support of Almighty God and the cooperation of the people, while also lauding the support of the Obis in Aniocha South local government area who stood by the good people of Egbudu-Akah right from the period of demise of his late father till the period of his installation as Obi of Egbudu-Akah kingdom.
HRM Obi Paul Nzemeke I is happily married to his Queen, Mrs. Theresa Nzemeke, and the new king has been blessed by God with 8 wonderful children, as well as supportive brothers and sisters, who made the great Egbudu-Akah Royal family a beautiful home.