Abia paramount ruler promises to place his community on map through industrialisation – Daily Sun

By Chuks Onuoha
The traditional ruler of Isiali-Ozuitem Autonomous Community, Bende Local Government of Abia State, HRM, Eze (Engr.) O.C.Y. Onyemachi, Ama III, has said that he will place his  community on the map in the state through human capital empowerment and and job creation/industrialization. Accordingto him, if sons and daughters of Isiali-Ozuitem are doing well and there is an industry in Isiali-Ozuitem, the community will be on the map of the state.
He stated this shortly after receiving his staff of office at the international Conference Centre, Umuahia, as the second paramount ruler of his community during in a ceremony organized by the governor, Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu, to mark the 31st anniversary of Abia State.
Eze Onyemachi urged his  community members to be patient and give him and his cabinet chosen to rule with him a chance. Because of the leadership vacuum of over seven years in the community, the task of re-orientation will not be a quick-fix, he noted, adding that what he will be working towards is to make Isiali-Ozuitem famous and not his personal fame.
When he ws asked, What do you want from your people now that you have been given the staff of office to rule?
He said: “Support, they should continue to express support, in action, words and thought, the deepest support for me and those who I have selected to work with me. Most importantly, they should eschew everything evil and back-biting among themselves  because  evil begets evil and everything that is bad. I love my people, particularly our womenfolk, because I know what they go through in taking  good care of our men. I advise them that, regardless of what their neighbours/co-wives may do to them, they should forgive because in a community where there is acrimony, progress does not take place in that community. Where there is peace, development and presence of means of livelihood will abound.
“If there is a palm plantation where oil is produced in quantity, we will be on the map. We will not be on a map when, for example, I own choice properties all over the place within and outside the state. There is no doubt that I own some properties outside my domain, but those are absolutely in moderation because my interest isn’t about massiveproperty acquisition. My interest is in massive human capital development and training. There is nothing indecent in property acquisition because that is somewhat an investment for those who do that; in fact, I encourage people to secure their future in any way they can, but massive property acquisition is not my thing, really. I plead with Isiali-Ozuitem people that, if they unite, there is nothing we cannot do. There is nothing we set to do in Isiali-Ozuitem that we cannot achieve. Government might even come and understudy what we are doing here. But that will not happen if we are not united. Unity will be what will bring about every projection that I have to fruition. If my people are badly divided, there is nothing we can do. Thank God the stool of our forefathers that I ascended to is never contested nor subject of any kind of litigation and mudslinging that creates division. The problem of Nigeria today is that we are terribly divided for the first time is history.”
He also explained that  unity is everything  and once his  people are united, they should leave the rest to him because there is nothing that they deserve from government that he would not bring to them.
“If I don’t bring it back, because I am not a politician, my friends who are politicians will. I would talk to them and they would do it for us. So, unity is everything. And in the midst of such decent unity, progress will come. If there is no unity, we are doomed to remain very stagnant.That is my message to my people: lets unify, lets speak with one voice. They should give me five years from now, I will change everything as they know it in Isiali-Ozuitem for good,” Eze Onyemachi promised.
Having collected your staff of office that empowers you to rule, what  do you intend to do next?
We have gone to collect the staff of office. It is now time to come home, instill greater hope and confidence among my people and champion the arduous task of developing my place, that is the next line of action. Our upcoming coronation event is part of that public celebration and confidence-building. The job of rebuilding the broken places of my community started the day they crowned me, but it officially kick-started yesterday after the government officially empowered me. The time of re-building has started and we are not looking back.
What do you think is the latest need of your people and where are you going to start from?
I will start from human empowerment, in terms of education, learning trades, professions, vocations, anything they could. It is about empowering them. My interest lies in helping people, not in personal aggrandizement. I have the capacity to massively invest outside my domain, which I have done anyway, but in moderation. But of what use would it be to my people if I have no investment presence that will spur the economic empowerment of my people? The much God has helped me is enough, if you hear that I bought this or that property, it is to create farms, etcetera, and employ people to make life easy for them. I want to place my community on the map, and the only way to do that is to ensure that there is something that exists here. If there is an industry in Isiali-Ozuitem, we will be on the map. If there is a palm plantation where oil is produced in quantity, we are on the map. We will no tbe on the map when I own houses in different parts of the state and the world.
Nobody will know about my community and there is no way my people can benefit from major properties outside my domain. The bestwould be to do things that would make the boys and girls in my community get busy, those who want to go to school, for instance, are sponsored. Thank God I have massive support from the indigenes of Isiali-Ozuitem in the diaspora.Currently, I have over 10 scholarships, they are not just tuition alone but also accommodation, transport, books and stipends, 100 per ent, and I have over 10 of them on my payroll. And people are moving inside the scholarship as those whograduate move out. Nobody will pass JAMB in my community or have the required prerequisite for admission and would not go to school, as long as you are a son or daughter of Isiali-Ozuitem. If you are responsible, you will never pass any exam under my watch without going to school because of lack of funds. They know that, even now. The young man that just came in, I didn’t know him from anywhere, even though he is from my community. He will graduate next year from Nekede. He is on full scholarship. The task of developing my people and what I can do to help my people is my priority. Even those that want to learn one trade/vocation or the other are part of our project but I do not give cash for frivolities to irresponsible people because I have so much, I only give because I have been there before now. Whenever they have any celebration, like Igba Ekpe festival, I provide them with all that they need to feel a sense of belonging in the comity of other communities, but after celebration, I would sit down with them to know what they want to do for their lives, whether trade, vocation or school, we talk about it so that, now that I have strength, I can help. One person cannot stand on the road forever. I do not know how far God would carry me before I retire from active business. When that happens, I may not have so much financial muscle to continue to do what I’m doing currently. But I want to make sure that I help the much I can. The greatest need of my people is human empowerment.
What is more important to me is how to empower my people. I know that I can’t give everybody money, but if I train any responsible child in school, I have empowered a generation, and if I train anyone in trade or vocation, I have empowered a generation and a family. From there they will start springing up here and there and, one day, before I will park my own car in our central square, the whole place would be filled up and I would not even have a place to park my car. Living among impoverished people compromises your personal security. I understand that crime can sometimes be because of personal choices, whether you are rich or poor, but living among the hungry, unemployed and those who do not know where their next meal will come from will certainly elevate the risk of your personal security. The reason restiveness and crime have soared in Nigeria is because government completely abandoned job creation and started chasing shadows. I warned fellow elite only a few years ago that the society we are abusing today will take a toll on us shortly. What is happening? Even the richest and mighty among us are crying for their safety.
You are based outside this country, and there are a lot of Isiali people in Nigeria and all over the world, yet your people chose you to  be their traditional ruler; what could be the reason behind that decision?
This question would have been better answered by my people but I will try to answer it the best I can. I asked them this question when they came to me. I think that one of the major reasons why they came was that I grew up in this community. There is nothing good, which a child does while growing up, that I did not do. I did local trap-setting for animals. I also did the local palm fruit climbing and harvesting and I was very obedient to my superiors while growing up. So they know me as one of their own  and they needed someone who they understood, and who would in turn understand them.
There was an incident in 2005 that made me to know how much affinity I share with my people. In 2005, I was preparing for my final traditional marriage ceremony. Some of the women who were supposed to make that trip with me somehow decided otherwise, because, according to them, my mother had issues with  one of my half-brothers who threatened my mother’s life. They felt my mother could have brought the matter to the local adjudication first before involving the police. Of course, my mother did, but the young man in question had no value for the elders and threatened everyone before my mother called me and I had to involve the police. So the women said they would not go with me. I knelt before them and asked them if there was any of them I had ever insulted while I was growing up that the person should stand and speak. All of them kept quiet and the leader of the women came and asked me to stand up that they would go with me right away because they did not find me wanting in the question I asked them. They told me that I was everything that represents a good son of the land.
That’s my people. I didn’t know that I would be a traditional ruler one day while I was growing up. I knew that my father was Omeudo the first and managed my people well, but I am not the first son, second or even the third or fourth. So I didn’t know that I would one day get close to the throne. Most importantly, I had other ambition, including seeking elective office in government before my people got me and insisted that I ascend the throne of my fathers. But in any case, I had always believed that if you put yourself in a situation that your people love and trust you to send you a message, you have built a decent life of integrity and you will do well in life, in business, and you will never be hungry in life. Reputation and integrity are everything. You cannot live in a way that  you will say I don’t care, I would do whatever I want.
I believed that my people would one day send me on an errand, it may not be to be traditional ruler, it could be to represent them in the wholeAbia, Ozuitem or Bende. I have always wanted to be worthy enough to be called when that time comes. But certainly I being their tradionation was not part of that expectation because I rejected the offer for some years when they approached me with the news that I had been chosem to lead them. I believe my people saw modest way of living and I respect everybody and I have contributed so much to this community. During my screening, we  only met and exchanged pleasantries because they know that I had been screening my life from birth. I wouldn’t go and be a money-miss-road to come home and grab Ezeship stool. I wouldn’t go and give people money to be recognized, God forbid. I asked them if there was anyone among them who did not know my upbringing and one old man stood up and told them that he had seen their Eze, and the meeting ended.
Unfortunately, that old man is late now and not alive to seen me receive the staff of office.
These are my people. I love them, from the smallest to the biggest among them. You saw what they did the day I collected my staff of office. I love them, they know I love them dearly and would do everything to protect Isiali with my last kobo. And they love me too. That’s the reason they choose me because love comes from the heart, people can see it, people see clearly that this man loves us.
What kind of community would you want Isiali to become in the next few years?
I want to see an Isiali where every neighboring community would say, go to Isiali-Ozuitem and see what is happening. We may not have much tourist sites, but we are going to have human tourist sites, developmental tourist sites, human capacity within Isiali that looks like tourist sites. My youths will begin to have far more greater confidence among their peers. When they come out, you will see that they are happy and expresses confidence. Other youths of other communities will begin to come.
Other traditional rulers within my community, Igbere, Uzuakoli, etc, will begin to hear of the fame of Isiali and not my fame, and they will begin to ask, how did such a community, which nobody gave a chance, come to this point?  My elders said, “If a king is strong, his people would be strong.” I want to make sure that in the next few years everybody will say, Go and ask Isiali-Ozuitem people how they got to this point. That’s what I want to happen in my community.
You just mentioned earlier that you are a father and a good husband; what does it take to be a father and a good husband?
It takes the zeal and the preparation of knowing that you want to be a father. Life itself could be a challenge. When you pick a young lady from an entirely different  training, background, education and orientation, bringing her home, you have basically vowed that you have accepted all her baggage, regardless of what they may be, to mould her as much as you can to suit what you want her to be , and in the same vein, she would have accepted all your baggage that she is going to endure you. Both ofyou will throw away those imperfections and decide to strike a cord on any middle ground of what you call perfection.

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© 2019 The Sun Nigeria – Managed by Netsera.
© 2019 The Sun Nigeria – Managed by Netsera.


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