The entire community was in a celebratory mood as all roads led to Amah community, down to Umudimkpa village square. Different dance troupes could be heard from a distance away. The women dressed gorgeously in their attires and the men appeared elegant.
The Honourable Ike Okoro was amongst the last badge who benefited from the community scholarships. He had obtained his PhD in Economics from the prestigious University of Oxford before he was appointed as a Minister of Economic Planning at the federal level in the post war Nigeria. He had married while a student to his wife, Nneka. She was in the same institution with the Honourable while a student where the couple met each other and later got married.
The village square was filled to capacity. The Honourable Minister and his entourage and that of the state Governor entered the square as the dance troupes were singing and dancing to their praise songs. Then, cane the cannon. Boom! Boom! Boom! Signifying the commencement of the celebration and the arrival of the celebrant.
When the dignitaries had been ushered to their respective chairs, the royal father of the community, His Royal Highness Ben Mba stood up to speak about the occassion.
“Cha! Cha! Cha! Amah people kwenu!” the Royal Father began dramatically.
“Hem!” erupted the people.
“Heeeeem!” they erupted in roaring cheers.
“Your Excellency, the Executive Governor; the Ministers here present; the Titled Men and women; the good people of Amah Autonomous community. It gives me great joy,” the Royal Father paused for emphasis and continued, ” each time we gather here to celebrate. We have gathered here today to welcome and honour our son Hon Ike Okoro who has gone to the white men’s land to acquire Western education and upon that appointed a federal Minister of Economic Planning. In addition, we in our own way have decided to honour him by adding a feather to his cap, to show that we are strongly behind him.” He paused again and cleared his throat, ” we also commend the presence of our able Governor, you are welcome Sir to Amah autonomous community. The people are happy to have you in their midst. Cha! Cha! Cha! Amah people kwenu.”
“Ndewonu.” The Royal Father said and took his seat.
The women-group let out a ululation, charging the square.
The kola nuts adorned the high table, likewise asorted rum and brady drinks. The palm wine in a jug was guggling with froth. The eldest man amongst then, Ichie Chukwe was called upon to bless the kola nuts. He cleared his throat and began majestically despite his age, ” the great people of Ama kwenu!”
“Kwezuenu!” He roared and cleared his throat again.
“Heeeeem!” The people echoed in unison.
With the kola nut bowl in his hand, he continued, “Umuegwe, this is kola; Umuama here is kola; Umudimkpa, kola has come. Our elders say that, onye wetera oji, wetera ndu, onye tara oji tara ndu – he who brings kola nut, brings life, and he who eats kola nut, eats life. Chineke, the creator of mankind, the heaven and the earth, we ask for your guidance.”
“Wherever we have sinned against you in our deeds, we ask you to have compassion on us.”
“May we reap the good harvest of the season in plentiful crops.”
“May our livestocks multiply in abundance.”
“May our children proper in life.”
“We ask of good health and properity as we eat these kola nuts.”
He picked a kola nut from the bowl and poured himself a palm wine in a cup as he offered libation.
“Iseee!” The people chorus in agreement.
The kola nuts were passed round the high table as the dance troupes came to life again in a communal spirit.
The Hon Ike Okoro stood up to address the people. “Your Excellency, the state Governor, fellow Minister of Works, and Commerce and Industry. Your Royah Highness, the titled men and women, my amiable wife and the great people of Amah, I greet you all. My heart is overwhelmed. It’s not trivial that we have gathered here today. I have decided to come back where I belong. As a Minister of Economic Planning, my concern in our community presently is to effect rural development as time permits and to empower our people through a government poverty palliatives for the people of Amah in particular and the nation at large.” He paused, glanced around and continued, “may I use this opportunity to commend Your Excellency, the Executive Governor, the Federal Ministers here present despite their tight schedules. May I also at this juncture thank specially the good people of Amah for your enormous support accorded me during my study in the UK. I salute you all,” he said congenially and sat beside his wife.
The women-group let out a loud ululation, and the dance troupe came to life once more.
Although, the Hon Ike Okoro was unaware of the whole affair of the coronation. The royal father called on him and his wife; they moved down to him. Royal regalia adorned on their shoulders as both of them knelt down. “I, His Royal Highness Ben Mba, the Odejimjim one of Amah autonomuous community, by the power invested in me, hereby confer on you Hon Ike Okoro and your wife, as Ikejimba one and Osodia Eme Aku of Amah autonomous community respectively.” He handed the staff of duty to them after he had decorated them with their chieftaincy caps.
The newly installed chief and his wife danced to the drum and ekwe rhythmically as the cannon sounded through the air. Boom! Boom! Boom! The crowd roared in joyous cheers.
The welcome celebration took a different dimension as the state Governor had promised the community, his administration would tar the main road linking the community with the state capital.
After the celebration, and the pomp which accompanied the ceremony, Ndu made up his mind to attain where the Honourable was in life, despite the rested community scholarship. His mind was made up and he set forth for the wider world.