HRH Eze Noel Chikodinaka Chukwunenye KSC, is the traditional ruler of newly carved out Awo-Ohii-Dim-Atta Autonomous community. He goes by the title of Ezeugo 1 of Awo-Ohii-Dim.
In this interview with Nigerian Newsguide, the Oil and Gas business magnate gave insights into his background and how he emerged the first traditional ruler of the pristine community. He also assured that his subjects will not suffer under his kingship while speaking about coronation, culture and tradition of his people and plans for the community among other topical issues.
Your Highness, quickly introduce yourself, please?
Eze: My Name is HRH Eze Noel Chikodinaka Chukwunenye, Eze Ugo 1 of Awo-Ohii-Dim, Atta Autonomous Community, Ikeduru Local Government Area.
You marked your coronation few days ago and also had a thanksgiving at the Cathedral here, how did you become the first traditional ruler of the newly carved out Awo-Ohii-Dim autonomous community?
Eze: Well, it started like a joke. Our elders said, the first son of Amanwugo is Umudurodu, who are the Oji Ofor and they are also the Okenze of the community. Then, Umumaro which is the second child, should bring the Eze. Umumaro, which is my kindred called me to come out and be the Eze. Some other people said since it was going to be an election, they will bring people that will contest with me. We went into election and I got the highest number of votes. I have stayed for three years and I have gotten the staff of office, I am done with everything, police report, DSS report, etal.
In life there has to be challenges. I won’t say that those who challenged me or the authorities are stupid. May be that’s how God wants to thicken me or make me strong in the position. After I became the Eze-elect, three years till 23rd, we did the coronation. We have gotten every certificate from the government, letter of recognition, signpost and even pay-rolled by the government.
What delayed the coronation?
Eze: We had wanted to do it in a very big way. And we wanted to do it around Easter period, but we couldn’t because of Covid-19. Now, look at what is going on again, how can we be waiting till the second spike of Covid-19 is over? That’s why we said let’s just get it done with the few people that are around. May be by the time coronavirus is over, we will do thanksgiving or one year in office. We can then do it in a more elaborate way. I know God will allow it when the time comes.
Let’s know your background. What do you do for a living before you were made the Eze and what were you able to achieve by way of touching lives and knowing the traditions and cultures of your people prior to the time you were elected?
Eze: I am the Managing Director of a company called Canine Nigeria Ltd. I deal in LPG. I sell gas to people, end users and to companies.
And I have touched lives honestly. The year I was made the Eze-elect, that particular day, my company won an award as the best company that touched lives, helped the needy and women particularly in the area of Corporate Social Responsibility.
I am going to do it in my community. I will do it here, they will benefit from me with the help of one of our brothers, Obinna Okoroego who works with Shell. As a professional in the field, I will tell them what to do. Some of our brothers who are business men will also help out.
I will bring the gas cylinders, 6kg, 5kg, I will just give it to them – the women who are in the village. Because it’s not good to cook with firewood and stove. when you cook with gas, you live longer. Gas is good and that’s what we use in my house. With God’s help, I believe I will stay long on the throne. So, I will make sure they enjoy me and enjoy fruits of their labour.
What aspect of your culture do you wish to sustain as a traditional ruler of the community and which do you think you can jettison?
Eze: Culture is people’s way of life. The culture of my people, I know. We have traditional dances, I will make sure I revive most of them. There is one we call Arungwo, I will revive it. It is not fetish. When we were young, we look forward to coming home. Christianity has made so many people go blind. It is not fetish. Umuohii have Ojionu, which we are also going to revive. Even our New Yam Festival, we have Wrestling and other aspects of our good culture which must be sustained. I read Sociology, so I know about culture and African tradition. I will ensure that most of our cultures we bring them back. We are Christians and we have to make sure we get everybody involved.
In the area of public utilities, are you comfortable with the status of your place. The road here is not fantastic while leading to a mega magnificent edifice called Cathedral Church of St. Mathews Atta. It’s not tarred, I don’t think there is public water supply system in this community, I don’t think there is constant power supply unless you prove me wrong. What do you think government can do to ensure your subjects are living well even in the rural area?
Eze: We have the high and mighty here. They have done well. Most of these roads have been awarded. From Eke Atta to Ochii Ogwa, they said they will do it. I inquired and was told its because of Covid-19 that delayed the construction of the roads. Indeed, when the righteous is on the throne, the people rejoice. I must tell you that since I came in, so many good things have happened. Look at Chief Iwuanyanwu, he has done a lot for us. Look at our brother, Ezeigbo na Abuja, HRH Eze Uche Egenti, he has been doing wonderfully well. Look at somebody like Obinna Okoroego, he installed solar borehole for us. These are my people doing it, with time, government will come in. Deputy governor, Prof. Placid Njoku was here during Atta Day celebration and he made some promises to us on behalf of the State Government.
Sir Bon Unachukwu brought the one from Umuohii, by the next one or two years, he will finish it. Most of the roads have been awarded and some through the instrumentality of Chief Emmanuel Iwuanyanwu and Eze Uche Egenti. In the next one or two years, when you come to Awo-Ohii-Dim, you must thumb up, honestly.
Your Highness, what should your people be expecting from you?
Eze: Well, I am a man who is very down to earth. I mix up with everybody freely. I listen to everybody. Tell me what your problem is and I will know exactly how to solve it. It has been my life. I don’t want anybody to suffer. I am not God but I like people being happy. I know my life. I am not a proud man, honestly, I am very down to earth, unassuming. I am not saying that my father was rich. I can mix up with everybody, whether rich or poor. That has been my life, you see, God has a way of doing His things too, when you are doing some things, you don’t know that God is preparing you for something bigger. My people will not suffer under my rulership. This is my promise to them all.
What about the palace guards that manhandle people? There are traditional rulers who use palace guards to intimidate, oppress people, dealing decisively with the widows and the rest of them, are you going to reign in that direction?
Eze: Palace guards here will not ever try it. Even this morning I had meeting with them. There won’t be any of such thing in this palace.
There is this irresponsibility and high rate of consumption of illicit drugs by the youths, most of whom take to prostitution, armed robbery and cultism, how do you intend to address it in your community?
I am still a young man. From the way things are, I lead by example. When they don’t see me do all those things and have seen the level I have attained in life, definitely they will want to live like me. They will say this man is their role model.
Do you have any advice for those who do this?
Eze: The advice I have for them is to bend down and know what is good for them. They should listen to the advice of their parents. Pride goes before fall (nganga bute uzo, odida eso ya). I tell my children this too. Whatever God said will be, will be. Hard work pays. This place is our place, we can’t destroy it and charity they say, begins at home.
What do you wish your people this New Year?
Eze: Embrace God, there will be love. God said it in the bible. Love God and love your neighbour. When there is love, there is peace and then sustainable development. Let’s join hands together and move forward, there will be love, peace and prosperity among us by God’s grace.