Ogbonnaya Ikokwu, Umuahia
History was made on Saturday January 27, as the indigenes Umuawa Alaocha Autonomous community in Umuahia North Local Government Area of Abia state crowned one of their sons HRH Eze Anthony Ohaeri, who has a hearing impairment (deaf) as her traditional ruler.
Eze Ohaeri, a computer engineer who inherited the throne of his late father was conferred with the title of Awa Ukwu II of Umuawa Alaocha.
The occasion which attracted many dignitaries was a special movement for the People Living With Disabilities community in the state, as they came out in mass to celebrate with one of their own.
In his address, the traditional ruler commended his kinsmen for the trust and confidence they placed on him to lead them, while assuring them that he would faithfully and diligently discharge his duties.
He lauded Governor Alex Otti and the state executive council for the support and selection to be the traditional ruler of his community despite his disability.
He promised to adopt an inclusive leadership style to give everyone in the community a sense of belonging and foster the socioeconomic development in the community.
“I am willing to work with all well-meaning individuals and the State Government for sustained socioeconomic growth in the community”he said.
The royal father while commending Gov. Otti, for being an education- and health-friendly governor, who has allocated 20 per cent and 15 per cent of the State’s 2024 Budget to education and health sectors respectively, appealed to the governor to retrofit the Umuawa Alaocha Community Primary School and Primary Healthcare Center.
“He said, “This would enable members of the community to have access to quality education in a conducive environment as well as access to quality healthcare services.
“I appeal to you to establish a water scheme in the community to enable the people of Umuawa Alaocha Autonomous Community enjoy enhanced access to potable water.
“Also, the present administration has shown that it is desirous to transform the state through human capital and infrastructural development, I therefore appeal to the governor to consider building a skills acquisition center in the community.
“A skills acquisition center where people from this community and neighbouring communities can come and acquire vocational and technological skills to meet the human capital development goal of the state government, which is to build an educational ecosystem that produces a highly skilled workforce that can meet the demands of the 21st century.
“This would help the state to have people with the right skills set and expertise to become self reliant and employers of labour”.
In a remark, the chairman Umuahia North council of traditional rulers, HRM Eze Nwaigwe A. Innocent called on the people of Umuawa Alaocha Autonomous community to give their new monarch all the support he needs to succeed on the throne.
He pointed out that the monarch has the ability to discharge all the functions of a traditional ruler despite his challenges.
A community member, Mr Ejikeme Ikwunze, said the coronation of the Eze Ohaeri was a great milestone achieved by the community, adding that his selection process was free and fair.
“I’m happy that we have landed a milestone today. The selection procee was peacefully done without any form of rancour and I think with the support of his cabinet he will be able to discharge his functions creditably well and I believe he will be able to change the narrative.
“He has been interacting with people and since he has an interpreter, communication with his people will not be a problem” he said.
The monarch’s elder sister,
Chief Mrs Roseline Nnenna Anuchie(PhD), expressed gratitude to God for the success of the coronation ceremony.
She said the elevation of her brother as the monarch is a sign that anyone with any form of disability, can manage life and become the best they can be in life.
Anuchie, pointed out that her family supports the enthronement of the traditional ruler because they believe in his leadership qualities and his plans to move the community forward.