Category Archives: Religion and Culture

Sultan Announces Sighting Of Moon, Says Ramadan Begins Tuesday(Today)

The Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) on Monday night announced the sighting of the moon and noted that the 2021 Ramadan will begin on Tuesday, April 13th(today).

This is according to a broadcast by the President-General of NSCIA and Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar.

The Sultan of Sokoto Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar has called on Muslim Ummah in Nigeria to use the period of this year’s Ramadan to pray for the peace of Nigeria, he also asked the Ummah to pray for leaders in the country for wisdom to handle all the challenges facing the nation.

He called on Muslims to adhere to the teachings and practice of Islam during the month, urging them to live in peace and harmony with their neighbours.

Saudi Arabia, home to Islam’s holiest shrines, had earlier announced that the holy fasting month of Ramadan will start on Tuesday, as Muslims worldwide face coronavirus curbs.

“Tomorrow, Tuesday… is the beginning of the blessed month of Ramadan this year,” the kingdom’s supreme court said in a royal court statement.

Other Muslim countries, including Sunni-majority Egypt and Lebanon, have also announced that Tuesday marks the start of Ramadan, while Shiite-majority countries like Iran are expected to start a day later.

The daytime fasting month of Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam.

Observant Muslims refrain from eating and drinking from dawn to dusk, and traditionally gather with family and friends to break their fast in the evening.

It is also a time of prayers, during which Muslims typically converge in large numbers at mosques, especially at night.

But due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many Muslim-majority countries have imposed restrictions on worshippers, including night-time curfews, and called for prayers to be performed at home.

Tributes as indigenes, others bid Eze Aro farewell

It was a moment of solemnity amidst deluge of outpouring, day indigenes, friends and well-wishers of Arochukwu and the entire kingdom bid farewell to late Eze Ogbonnaya Okoro popularly known as Eze Aro.At the final burial rites on Monday, April 5, 2021, both the young and old were at their best in display as the remains of Eze Aro were eventually interred.One by one, the indigenes of Arochukwu in Arochukwu local government area of Abia state took turns to eulogise the lives and times of the departed first class Traditional Ruler.The Chairman, Aro National Rites of Passage Committee, Prof. Okoro Ijeoma, described the deceased king as highly talented, educated, relaxed and very respectful.He said the late traditional ruler sacrificed a lot for the peace of his community.Prof. Okoro used the occasion to draw the attention of the federal government on the deplorable state of Arochukwu/Ohafia highway.He said the completion of the road would be the best way to immortalise the highly respected late Monarch.”We have had a road which is in despair and it was one of those agonies that faced him when he was alive and we want a lasting legacy for the road to be fixed to honour him, because that is how we can grow economically and socially,” he said.Also speaking, a two-time governorship candidate of All Progressives Grand Alliance now one of the top APC leaders in Abia state Dr Alex Otti who chaired the burial event commended the chairman of the National Committee on the burial rites of passage and committees for working so hard to organise a befitting burial for the Aro monarch. He also thanked Aro sons and daughters both at home and in the diaspora for their huge financial contributions to the burial and encouraged them to maintain the spirit of unity engendered by the event.”He remarked that the entire Aro people are consoled by the legacies the late Eze Aro left behind. Dr. Otti then prayed to God to show him mercy and grant his soul eternal rest, while calling on the immediate family of the deceased and the entire Aro kingdom to bear the loss with fortitudeConvener of the New Nigeria Group, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, said the late Eze Aro loved his community and Nigeria at large.He said, “Late Mazi Ogbonnaya Okoro, preached peace and collective responsibility towards the development of his community while on the throne. Each time we visited him, he will tell us that the crown he was wearing was also on our heads, therefore we must work hard to protect it.”He wanted all of us to be involved in seeking the peace, progress and development of the Arochukwu Kingdom.“He never demanded anything from anyone, he was content with what he had. He was an extraordinary king, one would have expected him to be more demanding but he wasn’t.Born on Monday, March 6, 1932, Mazi Ogbonnaya Okoro, he ascended the famous Eze Aro throne in 1995 and his reign witnessed tremendous transformation of the kingdom and growth in inter-communal relations.Among other positions, Eze Ogbonnaya Okoro, was a first-class traditional ruler and occupied one of the ancient traditional stools in Nigeria and was the custodian of the Aro heritage worldwide.He passed on after a protracted illness.

119 villages abolish Osu Caste system practice in Nsukka

By Ikechukwu Odu

The 119 villages in the nine autonomous communities in Nsukka town, Nsukka Local Government Area of Enugu State, Wednesday, formalised the eradication of Osu Caste system in their communities.

The decision which was taken by the monarchs, town unions and other traditional institutions in the communities in collaboration with the Initiative for the Eradication of Traditional and Cultural Stigmatization in our Society, IFETACSIOS, was capped up with an interdenominational prayer session cum declarations and ‘Isu Oho’ by the chief priests and ‘Akpuraruas’ from the three quarters which make up Nsukka town.

Speaking during the interdenominational prayer session at the St. John’s Primary School, Ugwuorie, Nsukka, the Catholic bishop of Nsukka Diocese, Most Rev. Godffrey Onah, condemned the reprehensive traditional practice.

Quoting Galatians 3:28, the clergy explained that there was no need for discriminatory practices amongst people created by God.

The bishop who was represented by the Cathedral Administrator, Rev Fr. Eugene Odo, also said “this is the first of its kind in Nsukka cultural zone. There cannot be development amidst strife and discrimination. The Osu caste system needs to be eradicted to enable all memebers of the society contribute their quota in moving the communities forward because we cannot make progress when we discriminate against ourselves,” the cleric said.

He also called for other communities within the Nsukka cultural zone to emulate Nsukka town by initiating steps towards ending harmful cultural practices that are anti people.

Speaking to journalists during the event, the President General of Nsukka Town Union, Chief Joseph Onyeke, while commending the nine autonomous communities in Nsukka town for the landmark achievement, said “By history, we cannot forget the efforts of our noble men and women like William Wilberforce, Mary Slessor who, about 200 years ago, volunteered their lives to make sure slave trade was abolished. Even though they achieved great height in securing legal freedom for the enslaved, some deprivations remained in practice till this day.

“In practice, discriminations have continued even in this part of the continent. They include denials of intermarriage, title-taking_Oha and Umuada, placement of Oho and Oduatu together and ascending to the height of ‘Onyeishi Aruah among others. The consequences of the above were restiveness and underdevelopment in all sectors of life.

“In Nsukka town, the crises of 1946-1955 regarding the discrimination practices worsened the matter, and ever since then, the problems were managed and never solved,” he said.

Also in his remarks, the traditional ruler of Ihe Nsukka Autonomous Community, HRH, Igwe George Asadu said , that Osu was a creation of humans and not God.

“The segregation lives here on earth and not in heaven. Even the Bible upholds all humans as equal before God,” he said.

He also said that with the eradication of Osu caste system, there would be hitch free intermarriage and equal economic rights which hitherto were not the case before now.

His counterpart of Owerre Nsukka Autonomous Community, HRH, Igwe Emeka Ugwu, said he was happy over the development, adding that he was the first monarch in Nsukka cultural zone to initiate the move towards the abolishment of the discriminatory practices.

In his contribution, the Visioner and Coordinator of IFETACSIOS, Nwada Stella Ogechukwu, while expressing her joy over the abolishment of the practice said “I take full cognizance of other communities that have abolished the caste system, but I call the Nsukka people the pace setters because you came together in strength, might and love to jettison the evil practice.

“I know the kind of efforts that go into achieving such a milestone. Your actions towards achieving this feat are commendable and worthy of emulation,” she said.

Earlier in his address, the chairman of the committee on Total Eradication of Discrimination between Ohu and Amu in Nsukka Town, Barr Peter Odo, described the development as a new dawn in the communities.

“After elaborate deliberations, it was unanimously agreed that the discriminatory practices between ‘Osu and Amu’ be totally eradicated and eliminated,” he announced.

He said that the committee set up to effect the abolishment came up with three solutions of “appeasement, compensation and reparation, adding that those who felt wronged and those whose forefathers may have also wronged others have fully forgiven one another.

HAPPENING NOW: Eze Aro, the king of Arochukwu kingdom returns to his ancestors +PHOTOS

The king of Arochukwu ancient kingdom in Abia State, Mazi Vincent Ogbonnaya Okoro (Eze Aro) will join his ancestors fully today, April 5, 2021.

The climax of programmes marking the #EzeAroRoyalExit is also currently taking place at Eze Aro Palace, and Arochukwu Civic Centre, both in Oror, Arochukwu.

Sons and daughters of the kingdom, at home and abroad are fully on ground to accord the Eze full honour as he journeys to the land of our ancestors.

Jungle Journalist Media Ltd is fully on ground and brings you photos from the royal burial ceremony.

#EzeAroRoyalExit
#oviauwasi21

Announcement of new Olu, kangaroo exercise, Olu of Warri(Ogiame) not dead – Ologbotsere

Ologbotsere of Warri, Chief Ayirimi Emami

The Ologbotsere of Warri, Chief Ayirimi Emami, has dismissed the unveiling of Prince Tsola Emiko Monday April 5, as successor to the Olu of Warri, Ogiame Ikenwoli, insisting the revered Warri Monarch has not joined his ancestors.

Chief Emami, spoke in reaction to the announcement by the Iyatsere of Warri, Chief Johnson Atserunleghe at Ode – Itsekiri in Warri South Local Government Area, where Chief Atserunleghe declared that Prince Tsola Emiko is the successor to Ogiame Ikenwoli, the Olu of Warri.

He declared: ” The Olu has not joined his ancestors. As far as I am concerned, whatever was done today at Ode – Itsekiri was kangaroo in search of power. The person that has the right to pronounce the transition of the Olu of Warri, whenever that happens, is the Ologbotsere, which i am till this moment by the grace of God. I must add that the 1979 edict has not been amended to give any other person the right to pronounce the passage of the Olu of Warri, apart from the Ologbotsere “.

New Olu of Warri announced, as Iyasere places Itsekiri on 3 months mourning period

The ancient Warri kingdom of Delta state has announced the emergence of Prince Tsola Emoko as the replacement for the late Olu of Warri, Ogiame Ikenwoli.

The announcement was made at Ode Itsekiri the ancestral home of the Itsekiri people in Warri South local government area of Delta state.

The Iyasere of the kingdom, Chief Johnson Amatserruunrelegbe made the announcement before a gathering of Warri people.

He announced the period of mourning to be three months in which burials, marriages, dancing and all forms of merriment are suspended in the entire Warri kingdom.

He also said all sons and daughters of Itsekiri must tie their wrappers upside down for the three months. 20 canons were shot to indicate that 20 monarchs had ruled Warri land and this is the 21st of them.

Shouts of joy were heard at the announcement of Tsola Emoko as the new Olu of Warri.

He is a 37-year old graduate of International Studies and he was born on April 12, 1982.

Eze Aro-History of a Great African King, Mazi Vincent Ogbonnaya Okoro

This is a biography of His Majesty, Mazi Vincent Ogbonnaya Okoro, CFR, Eze Aro, 1995 – 2020.

Mazi Vincent Ogbonnaya Okoro was born on Monday, March 6, 1932 into the family of Mazi Okoro Asi Eko of Arochukwu ruling house. At an early age of 6 years, he was enrolled at the Jubilee School, founded, by an educationist and nationalist, Mazi T. K. Utchay and later transferred to Aggrey Primary School, both schools in Arochukwu.

He was set to move again. His maternal uncle, F. C. Okoronkwo, a young graduate of Fourah Bay College, Sierra Leone was appointed to nurture a new institution, Olu-Iwa College, Ijebu Ode. He sent for young Vin, as he was fondly called, and his younger brother, Nelson, for them to join him and continue their education. After his primary school education, he proceeded to Ibadan Boys’ High School for his secondary education. Young Vin excelled, not only in academic work but also in sports. He was a member of Ibadan Boys’ First Eleven and very popular among the secondary schools around because of his exploits in soccer. He mixed up very well at school and this partly accounted for his impeccable knowledge of the Yoruba language, and customs. He often looked back to those early days in Yorubaland with nostalgia. After his secondary education, he started his early working career at the Faculty of Agriculture, University College, Ibadan as a laboratory technician. Perhaps, his experience there informed his future vocation.

Like many young ambitious men of his generation, he took private tuition to qualify for admission into British tertiary institutions. In 1960, he left for the United Kingdom for the opportunities available for the fulfilment of his vast potentials. Luckily, there was a number of Aro people who had encouraged him to join them, and they made him feel at home in an entirely new environment. While in the UK, he faced his studies with great determination and focus. In the end, he gave a good account of himself. Among the awards, certificates and fellowships he earned or conferred on him included:

1. Advanced Certificate in Microbiological Techniques of City and Guilds, London.

2. Advanced Certificate in Laboratory Administration of City and Guilds, London.

3. Fellow, Institute of Science Technology London (FIST).

4. Associate Diploma, Institute of Medical Laboratory Technology, London.

5. Associate, Institute of Medical Laboratory, Sciences of Nigeria.

6. Member, Royal Society of Health of England.

7. Member, Birth Society for General Microbiology.

8. Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR) in November 2000.

9. Certificate of U. S. Congressional recognition.

10. West African Merit Award.

11. Millennium Award of Excellence.

12. Certificate of Recognition by the Mayor of District of Columbia, U. S.

13. Certificate of Recognition by the U.S. Director of African Affairs.

14. Certificate of Recognition by the Governor of the State of Maryland, U.S.

15. Certificate of Recognition by the County Executive of Prince George’s County, U.S.

He also had a number of scientific papers published in learned journals. The late Eze Aro was also a man of letters, quite often discussing history and literature.

Having achieved so many laurels in his chosen field, he came back home just before the civil war and participated in the War Effort of his kinsmen and women. He joined Enugu General Hospital which later became Enugu Specialist Hospital. With the introduction of the Faculty of Medicine at The University of Nigeria, the Specialist Hospital became the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital. The future Eze Aro was made the pioneer Head of its Laboratory Dept. Eventually, he transferred his services to the Microbiology Dept. of the College of Medicine, working under the famous Professor of Microbiology, Prof Njoku Obi.

With the death of a previous Eze Aro in 1987, he was presented to the Aro Kingdom as their new Eze in 1988. After a period of interregnum, he was crowned as the new Eze Aro on May 31, 1995. Being a man of peace and humility, much of the period of his reign witnessed peace and harmony, progress and tremendous physical infrastructure. One of the first actions he took on ascension to the throne, was to create an Advisory Council under the chairmanship of Late Engr. Mathias Okoro. The members were drawn from leading citizens in the homeland and in diaspora and the Council met regularly to consider burning issues and offer necessary advice. He reconstituted Okpankpo Aro, the highest traditional governmental institution in Aro. On two occasions during his reign, Nzuko Aro advised His Majesty on the ways to strengthen the Okpankpo institution. Being the listening Eze that he was, he took immediate steps to implement the advice, consistent with the changing times. From time to time, he set up ad hoc committees to look into complaints that could hinder the smooth running of the kingdom. When Nzuko Aro inaugurated All Aro National Conference in 1996 to help cater for the interest of all Aro people wherever they may be, Eze Aro was a leading apostle. He attended the conference held in Aro in 1996, Aro Ndizuogu in 2000, Ajalli in 2005 and Owerri in 2011.

One of the achievements of his reign is the public marking of the Anglo-Aro War. In the first meeting of the Advisory Council in 1996, a leading member, Professor Chukwuemeka Ike, who later became His Majesty, Eze Ndikelionwu in Orumba North LGA suggested that the Kingdom ought to commemorate the centenary of The British invasion of Arochukwu in 1901 – 1902. On March 7, 1998, Eze Aro inaugurated the Planning and Implementation Commission which was later changed to Aro 2002 Commission to plan and organise the commemoration of the Anglo-Aro War. Engr Matt Okoro, Chairman of the Advisory Council was also made the Chairman of the Commission and Professor Chukwuemeka Ike was appointed Chairman, Planning and Implementation Committee, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, Chairman, Finance and Fund Raising Committee while Mazi Godwin Udoh served as the Secretary. Other leading Aro people, at home and diaspora, including Professors Okoro Ijoma, Oji Umozurike and O. C. Nwana as well as Dr Chukwuma Obioha and Mazi Kanu Ivi, among others, served in the commission. To carry the Aro people along, he undertook a tour of the Aro diaspora communities to sensitise them. He also undertook a tour of parts of the US, accompanied by some members of the commission, and was warmly hosted by the Aro sons and daughters there. Under his inspiration and encouragement, this great event took place between December 26, 2001 and January 6, 2002, with resounding success. An important book on Aro, one of the enduring landmarks, is the book, The Aro Kingdom and its Contributions to Civilization.

The Ohafia/Aro road was in a terrible state of disrepair during his period but he continued to press on the state and federal governments to fix the road. Some serious efforts were being made to rehabilitate the road before his demise. The Aro Civic Centre, an imposing edifice, was completed during his reign. He travelled to the important cities in Nigeria to encourage Aro sons and daughters to be involved in community development efforts.

As the Chairman of Arochukwu Council of Traditional Rulers and permanent member of Abia State Council of Traditional Rulers, he brought to bear on them his vast experience and peaceful disposition. At a personal level, Eze Aro was warm, polite, generous, and humane and of simple tastes. He was married to a pretty and accomplished school teacher, and the marriage is blessed with children, all university graduates. His is a true example of royalty without airs and boring trappings; a fulfilled, greatly endowed and an achieved Eze. His people all over will dearly miss him.

PFN Condemns Marginalization Of Christians In Federal Appointments

The Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) has condemned in strong terms the glaring marginalization of Christians in appointments into federal government offices by the Buhari-led government.

National president of the fellowship, Rev. Dr. Felix Omobude who disclosed this in a statement in Benin City, stated that the government actions could further negativity affect the unity of the country.

He noted that Nigeria has never been as divided the way it is now under the present administration.

Dr. Omobude, stated that the PFN was most saddened with the on-going appointment exercise in the judiciary where only adherents of a particular religion are favoured for appointment as Court of Appeal Justices at the expense of merit and equity.

The PFN leader expressed displeasure that over the years, some Nigerian politicians and top government functionaries have hijacked religion to continue to fester their desires to pursue their selfish ambition.

According to Dr. Omobude, “PFN is deeply saddened that out of 13 nominees from the Northern part of the country for elevation to the Court of Appeal, not a single Christian is among them.

“This unacceptable situation has further buttressed the fact that the nation’s judicial system has been hijacked, politicized and an object of ridicule.

“This is one of the reasons why some Nigerians are fast losing confidence in the nation’s judicial process.

“The PFN hereby calls on President Muhammadu Buhari and all those concerned in the appointment of Justices to the nation’s Court of Appeal, to revisit the issue and ensure that fairness and justice are done irrespective of religious and ethnic background.

“The PFN will not continue to bemoan such brazen acts of provocation and unfairness, as the Fellowship will henceforth take all necessary lawful steps to defend and protect the interests of its marginalized members.

“PFN has always called for justice, fairness and equity in all governmental activities because to subvert a man of his rights on the basis of his religion is corruption.

“PFN once again, calls on president Mohammadu Buhari to stand by his promise that he is for every Nigerian because the country belong to all Nigerians.

“PFN also therefore called on President Buhari to quickly call on whosoever is concerned to correct the imbalance in the on-going appointment to the Court of Appeal and every other areas of government where imbalance exist” Dr. Omobode added.

Afro Juju music icon, Shina Peters ordained Bishop

Popular Afro Juju musician, Sir Shina Peters, has been ordained a bishop of the Cherubim and Seraphim Church.

The legendary singer was ordained at a ceremony in a Cherubim and Seraphim Church in the Iju area of Lagos on Saturday.

The singer shared a video and photo of his ordination on his Instagram handle on Sunday with the caption, ‘‘Bishop with the swagger. God above all.”

On his Facebook page, the ace singer wrote: “To God be the glory. I will serve my God till the end’’.

Ovation International magazine publisher Dele Momodu wrote: ‘‘Congratulations Bishop Isaac Oluwashina Akanbi Peters. Ore mi pataki pataki. A ti ko esu ati gbogbo ise buruku owo re sile (My very very dear friend. We have rejected the devil and all his evil works)”.

The singer’s most recent music was collaboration with Teni on her hit, ‘Jo’, released in December 2020.

SSP, as he is fondly called, released his debut album as a solo musician, Ace (Afro-Juju Series 1), in 1989.

The album went double platinum and was the career breakthrough that made him a household name in the music industry.

‘Shinamania’ produced by Laolu Akins was released in 1991, winning three awards at once with a Platinum Disc for selling more than 250,000 copies.

SSP currently has 16 album releases to his credit.

Why Igbo men should marry more wives- Ned Nwoko

Former member, House of Representatives, lawyer and philanthropist, Prince Ned Nwoko, has said that he typically ties the knot with a lady within three weeks and that happened with all his wives.

Nwoko who spoke to BBC news in Igbo, said: Our (Regina and him) marriage is solid, based on respect and understanding over time. I met her and I like her, we married within three weeks, I married all my wives within same period, I do not believe in dating anybody I want to marry.”

“You marry them and you begin to fall in love within the marriage. Even in my own culture as it were as a kid in the sixties, people were not dating, they get married, within the families, they choose a wife, most girls are expected to be virgins, they get married and then they build a family from there.

“And because they did not know each other before they got married, there is a lot of excitement and a lot of learning to do, but Regina and I is a story that is interesting because before I met her, I did not know about her, I do not watch movies, I met her the first time when she came to my house with her mother and siblings to my place in Delta, which is a tourist attraction. I saw her and I like her and that was it, you know,” he said.

On his marrying another wife, he said: “Whether I marry another wife is not … she knows that it can happen, I come from a very polygamous environment myself, I love children and I want more children, she knows it and my other wives know this, so we see what happens in the future.”

“You see the average Northerner marrying two, three, four women, they are helping the society because it is the economic downturn that has affected so many women who you see doing prostitution and all that. But the fallacy of it all is that Christianity does not allow that in the South and yet, the average Southern man has 10 girlfriends.

“I love my culture as I know it, not as they are trying to dilute it. Igbo culture is wonderful and should be promoted the way it has always been. But even looking at that, look at your population in Nigeria and what I will call economy of marriage, as an Igbo man with one wife, four children, a Northerner has four wives with five children each, in the next 10 years, 20 years, imagine the population of the Northerner.

“With you, an Igbo person, the population will be like one to five because of this disparity. The gap is getting bigger and Igbos will never catch up because of this self-imposed restriction,” he bemoaned.