History was made in Nnobi town on 1st January 2023, when Nnobians celebrated Ofala festival, which is a rich cultural heritage. It was an epochal event which marked the 6th ofala, 84th birthday and 15 years on the throne of His Royal Majesty Igwe Muodum Nich (Igwe Omenyili Nnobi). The ceremony attracted people from all walks of life and different social strata. It was indeed a never-to-be-forgotten festival.
As early as 7 am, the nooks and crannies of the palace were already distinctively wearing exquisite ambience, oozing royalty and affluence. By 9.45 am, His Royal Majesty, Igwe (Engr.) Muodum Nich Obi (Igwe Omenyili Nnobi) and his wife Lolo Obi (Ochendo) were chauffeured to Madonna Catholic Church Nnobi for a Solemn Pontifical Mass officiated by His Eminence, Francis Cardinal Arinze.
The mass was brief and precise, devoid of any time-consuming fundraising complexities, all thanks to the intervention of the 90-year-old retired cardinal. The High Mass ended at about 11.06 am. After a series of brief group photographs, Igwe was accompanied by the Chiefs and well-wishers to the palace around 11.23 am.
As would be expected, he made a majestic entrance into the tastefully decorated palace to the cheering and admiration of all as he was ushered in by the prestigious Ushe musical group. After a break, the king re-emerged and performed the breaking of kolanut presented to him by his wife around 12,06 pm. Subsequently, the king, accompanied by gracefully robed village chiefs and Cardinal Arinze cut the birthday cake at about 12.13 pm. For his support for the Ofala, the king and his wife presented the Cardinal with cow and fruit gifts, which the Cardinal reciprocated with sacramental gifts such as rosaries. At about 12.30 pm, the pleasant-looking Cardinal blessed the assembly at the palace and left to prepare for travel to Vatican City for the funeral of Pope Benedict VI that passed away.
After a short recess, the king returned to his grand golden seat cladded in a rich and luxuriantly looking apparel befitting for royalties like him. He conferred Ichieship titles to the Ndi Ichie-elect. Among those that were titled Ichie are:
(1) Chief Ikechukwu Obachie (Ichie Chinedu).
(2) Chief Sir Louis Ezeonyim (Ichie Nnanyelugo).
(3) Chief Christopher Okwudili Mmaduka (Ichie Oshaanawalego).
(4) Chief Ifeanyi Obichukwu Akudolu (Ichie Akanaenyeife).
(5) Chief Ikechukwu Ugigwe (Ichie Idejimba).
(6) Chief Linus Umeh (Ichie Ezechikwadolu Omenife).
Immediately after the ichieship investiture, the Igwe of Nnobi gave special titles to the 12 nominees. They include:
(1) Chief Obinna Ufudo (Ochendo Nnobi).
(2) Chief Emeka Okafor (Ide Nnobi).
(3) Chief Chukwunonso Okafor (Akusinachi Nnobi).
(4) Chief Sir Ebuka Okafor (Ochiagha Nnobi).
(5) Chief (Dr.) Ikechukwu Azugo (Okenwa Nnobi).
(6) Chief Okwudili Ugochukwu (Akajiugo Nnobi).
(7) Chief Sunday Ezeoke (Ikenga Nnobi).
(8) Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeobidi (Osisioma Nnobi).
(9) Fr. (Major) Chidozie Nzeabalu (Ezeoma Nnobi).
(10) Chief Charles Ezeonyim (Ezemgbede).
(11) Chief Emmanuel Nwosu (Kpakpando Nnobi).
(12) Chief Jude Anyichie (Ebubedike Nnobi).
Following that, at about 2.46 pm, some distinguished Nnobians were honoured and recognized for their meritorious services to the town. They are:
(1) Chief Ogochukwu Chukwuneke (Obataunoadimma). Recognition.
(2) Chief Solomon Ezekiel (Ezeakaonyewetere). Recognition.
(3) Vincent Ezeudoka Foundation. Recognition.
(4) Chief Oguguo Nnemelu (Ezisi Mmegbuanauba). Recognition.
(5) Sir Ikechukwu Ojukwu. Recognition.
(6) Real Admiral Michael Okonkwo Rtd (Eze Nwachinemelu). Merit.
(7) Hon Chuka Ezenwunne. Merit.
(8) Chief Okwy Nwosu (Umeze: Isi Mili Idemili). Merit.
(9) Chief Chika Okafor (Chairman Chicason Group of Companies). Merit.
(10) Professor Michael Ndinechi. Honour.
(11) Mr. Elochukwu Uzochukwu (Proff Chikobi). Honour.
(12) Mr. Sunday Nwosu. Honour.
(13) Mr. Chukwuemeka Okeke. Honour.
(14) Dr. Nelson Omenugha (Special Adviser to Governor Soludo on Youth Employment Programme). Honour.
(15) Evangelist Peter Obi. Honour.
(16) Amb Dr. Seraphine Chioma Nwosu. Honour.
(17) Mrs. Grace Ugigwe. Honour.
The king’s plans to re-energize his administration came to fruition by 2.58 pm, when he made some notable Nnobians his Special Advisers. Among them are:
(1) Chief Chukwudi Nzeribe (Nze Onyenachie).
(2) Barr. Martin Okeke.
(3) Chief Sir Louis Ezeonyim (Ichie Nnanyelugo).
(4) Chief Obinna Ufudo (Ochendo Nnobi).
(5) Chief Sir Ebuka Okafor (Ochiagha Nnobi).
(6) Chief Emmanuel Nwosu (Kpakpando Nnobi).
(7) Chief Dan Ajaghaku (Ichie Ezeobi).
(8) Chief Sir Louis Ezeonyim (Ichie Nnanyelugo Nnobi).
(9) Evangelist Peter Obi Honour.
(10) Engr. Okechukwu Nwankwo (Ozo Chinakueze).
(11) Barr. Tobechukwu Okigbo.
After the king’s conferment of titles and awards to the awardees, people of various social strata paid homage to him at about 3.10 pm. It was done in sequence, Ndi Ichie, Special title holders, Awardees, Nze na Ozo Nnobi, N.W.O., branches and others. This was embellished with the appearance of masquerades. The dancing groups stylishly entertained the people as they ate and drank sumptuously.
As the Ofala gathered momentum, the king went inside his royal chamber and came out wearing a uniquely imposing royal crown adorned with countless colourful feathers. Accompanied by his council members, newly invested Special Chiefs and some Nze na Ozo members, the 84-year-old king majestically paraded on a long-stretched red carpet until he reached outside the palace gate. Encomiums were poured on him. Showered with fetching smiles, the amiable king greeted his loyal subjects and well-wishers who thronged the venue to have a glimpse of him. As he returned to the palace with pomp and pageantry, the sound of Ushe music exclusive to titled men was accentuated. The Igwe and his loyal titled men danced satisfactorily the melodious Ushe music. Indeed, it was a sight to behold and an event worthy of note.
Filled with joy, Igwe Omenyili Nnobi received many kings, including Igwe Emeka Onuorah of Oraukwu, Igwe (Engr) Michael Chidozie Ezeudenna of Awka-Etiti, Igwe McAnthony Okonkwo of Alor, Igwe Steven Onyekwelu Ezeji of Ideani, Igwe Ralph Ekpeh of Enugwu-Ukwu, Igwe A. C. Oragwam of Obeledu, Igwe Patrick Mbamalu Okeke of Abagana, and Igwe Chukwudi Emmanuel Nnabuife of Isseke. The king also received some politicians and dignitaries. Among them were Engr. Emeka Sibeudu (former Deputy Governor of Anambra State), Senator Victor Umeh, Chief Valentine Ozigboh, Hon. Obinna Chidoka, Hon. Ifeanyi Ibezim, Chief Ikenna Iyiegbu, Hon. Stanley Chikaodili Okeke, Sir Ebuka Igwe, Hon. Donatus Ngige, Hon. (Mrs) Amaka Obi (Chairperson Idemili South LGA), Professor Amuche Azu, to mention but a few.
Before the end of the event, Special Chief Chukwunonso Okafor (Akusinachi Nnobi), who was the Chairman of the 2023 Ofala Committee, gave a noteworthy closing remark. He appreciated the spectators and well-wishers that attended the historic Ofala ceremony. Speaking on behalf of the king, Akusinachi Nnobi reminded the guests of the Igwe’s prayer for an end to sudden death (Onwu ike) in Nnobi, and for all that witnessed the 2023 Ofala live to witness the next Ofala. He also said that the king prayed for the longevity, prosperity, peace and unity of Nnobians as well as the goodness and welfare of Nnobi youths. Following the closing prayer, the king wended inside his living room at about 6.33 pm.
The Ofala festival was a red-letter day in the ancient town of Nnobi. God save the good-natured king of Nnobi to whom we owe a great allegiance. Long live Igwe Omenyili Nnobi!