Nsude’s Day Of Glory In Ile-Ife (a pictorial review)

The day was Thursday, November 9, 2023 and the setting was Ile-Ife, the traditional home of the Yoruba people. The Ooni of Ife, His Imperial Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, had chosen to honour three men and a woman for their personal attainments and outstanding contributions to their communities. 

The traditional chieftaincy awards were the Ooni’s initiative to recognize men and women who have, by dint of hard work, attained top heights in their professions, careers or callings. In a world where the spirit of community often takes the backseat to individual pursuits, the award aims to inspire people towards community development.

Among the title recipients was the youthful Chief Nick Eze, a great son of Nsude community of Udi LGA of Enugu State. Like two others on the award list, he belongs to the famous Signs & Wonders Club that was on their annual retreat in the state.

The Chief Executive Officer of Chalonic Global Ventures Limited, was installed as the Asoju Agbeluga of Ife. It was that momentous event that drew a delegation of Nsude Chiefs to Ile-Ife, in solidarity with one of their own.

The other title recipients include Dr. (Mrs) Josephine Anene-Okeakwa, a public-spirited woman who is also the Provost, Federal College of Education (Technical), Asaba and one-time Vice Chairman of the Committee of Provosts of Colleges of Education in Nigeria. She was honored with the title, Yeye Asoju Alatunse of Ife.

Chief Nick Eze

Chief Frank Nwugo, Delta State’s former Director-General, Revenue Monitoring Tracking & Audit, is a man with a rich public service record. In spite of his professional callings, he has remained a strong pillar of support for several communities in his area of Delta State. He was installed the Otun Oba Asoju Atunluse of Ife.  

The fourth of the title recipients is the legendary footballer Mutiu Adepoju. Popularly called ‘The Headmaster’, Mutiu Adepoju’s story is a testament to the heights one can reach through talent, hard work, and an unwavering commitment to one’s craft. In recognition of his attainments in football as a national team player and the LaLiga ambassador in West Africa, he was honoured with the title of Asoju Amuludun

A businessman based in Onitsha, Anambra State, Chief Nick Eze is a big player in the steel importation and civil construction sector. He is a philantropist who has devoted time and resources for development efforts in his community where he has also empowered several youths, women and the less privileged. It was in appreciation of his selfless contributions to the community that the Agunecheibe III of Nsude, Igwe George Onoh, last December, honoured him with the title of Nnabuike 1 of Nsude.

Outside Nsude, he has similarly touched many lives as an individual and member of organizations and social clubs that remained true to their objectives in touching lives. The recognition by the Ooni of Ife, is testimony to this.

In his speech after the conferment of the title, Nick Eze had told the Ooni, the traditional rulers  and the cream of Yoruba leaders at the packed arena that the title of Asoju Agbeluga would spur him to greater heights in service of humanity.

According to him, it was an honour, not only to him as a person but also to his Nsude community in general. He later sought His Majesty’s permission for the delegation from Nsude to deliver the message from the community and make a presentation to him.

Arole Oduduwa, the Ooni of Ife and his Olori at the gala nite.

In the vote of thanks presented by Chief Sheddy Ozoene, Odenigbo Nsude, he thanked the Arole Oduduwa, Olofin Adimula and foremost Yoruba King, for finding a son of Nsude worthy of the high title from the Source. He expressed the appreciation of the Igwe and the people of Nsude, the Oshie Anugwu clan and Ndi Enugu in general, for the honour. Finally he thanked the Ooni for the numerous traditional handshakes across the Niger and hoped that they would continue to strenghten the bond of friendship between the Igbo and the Yoruba. 

At the dinner in honour of the award recipients the previous night, guests were regaled with the many dimensions of Ife history. It is a history many had read from history books, but only a few in the hall knew about the rich history of Nsude community and Oshie clan. So, for a community noted for its famous warriors in time past, it was apt that Nsude’s gift to the Ooni would depict its own history. As Ozoene explained, the giant painting of Nsude Warriors is the oldest surviving picture of Nkwa festival celebrated every 2 years in honour of Uto Nsude.

In his day, Uto was the foremost Igbo war general who led the fiery Nsude warriors to several conquests in communal battles of yore, across Igboland and beyond.

While the painting was warmly received by the Ooni himself, we expressed the hope that our children who will visit in a hundred years or more, will still find it hanging somewhere within the expansive palace. 

 Also in the delegation from Nsude were Chief Linus Ozoede (Ozo Okesinachi), Chief Barr. Ken Ugwungwu (Okwuloha of Nsude), Chief Sylvanus Walata Onyia (Omenkafuru N’anya), Engr. Evaristus Eze, Ugonwanyi Peace Ozoene and Dr. (Mrs) Chy Chy Eze, Bursar of the Federal Polythechnic, Ohodo, Enugu State.

Walking through history. Pictures of all past Ooni adorn the passage wall of the palace.

That the Arole Oduduwa palace in Ile-Ife is intimidating, is to state the obvious, and it is not often that one has the opportunity to step into such grandeur. The sheer magnificence of the palace was enthralling, a display of rare Romanesque architecture. The exterior is sheer beauty, perfectly finished while most of the interior contained ornate furniture with most other items touched in gold.

Getting into the banquet hall which hosted the dinner the previous night, guests were led through a passage where the pictures of all past Oonis were displayed. Expectedly, artefafts adorned all corners of the hall, each of them exuding history dating back ages.

The conferment of the titles was a traditional activity of no mean splendor. As the dignitaries arrived from far and near in resplendent attires and rich cultural regalia of all shapes and colours, they were welcomed to the grounds of the palace by drummers and traditional dancers.

The arrival of the Ooni into the packed hall for the installation proper was spectacular. It was an amazing display of the rich culture of the Yoruba and the reverence for their foremost monarch. Thereafter, proceedings were carefully chereographed with traditional activities till the end.

After the activities of the day in the palace, the Ooni was still able to attend the gala night with his Olori same evening at the famous Ojaja Arena inside the city. Group after group entertained the audience which included traditional rulers from neighbouring communities. After the wining and dining, the evening was capped with the presentation of certificates to the award recipients just before they took to the dancing floor.

In all, it was a memorable outing in the home of the Yoruba nation. It is one rare event the memory of which will linger for decades to come. It sounded impossible but the Ooni may one day consider the gesture of the offer to visit Nsude community. It will be the icing on the cake for the friendship His Imperial Majesty said he has built with the youthful Asoju Agbeluga, Chief Nick Nnabuike Eze.

Photos Of The Event

The Palace at night

Chief Eze and wife, Uche

Chief Eze with Nsude delegation

Chief Eze welcomed by drummers in front of the Palace

Dancing time in front of the palace

Seated in the arena for the installation

Chief Nick Eze, Mutiu Adepoju, Dr. Josephine Anene-Okuakwa and Dr. Frank Nwugo

Chief Eze with box containing his cap

Honorees being briefed by Ife Chiefs

The installation proper…a new cap

The Asoju Agbeluga addressing the Ooni after installation

Words of appreciation by Chief Sheddy Ozoene

Presentation of gift to the Ooni by Nsude delegation

The new chiefs with their new caps

Mutiu Adepoju and wife greet the Ooni after installation

Chief Eze and wife pose with the Ooni after installation

Honorees and spouses in group photo with the Ooni at the gala nite

Receiving the certificate from an Ife High Chief

The honorees take to the dancing floor

Delegation from Nsude at the gala nite

Chief Eze and wife with the Ooni and wife at the gala nite

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