Raymond Ozoji, Awka
Ama Igwe Christopher Nwabunwanne Idigo Amaeze Aguleri of Anambra-east local government area of Anambra state was the venue for the maiden edition of Eri Kingdom Investiture of Distinguished Patrons and Launching of Eri Kingdom National Centre held 1st December, 2018. The event which was first of its kind in the area was put together to further lend credence to the fact that Eri was the progenitor of the Igbo race as well as remind Ndigbo of their cradle and evolution.
Furthermore the event which was a festival of arts and culture brought Aguleri, Nteje, Nsugbe and Igbariam together with Oraeri and other towns said to be descendants of Eri to the palace of the traditional ruler where each of the descendants of Eri performed unique cultural dances to the delight of all and sundry while the Ijele masquerade of Aguleri community thrilled the people with esoteric language and dramatic performance providing an atmosphere of conviviality and reverence to the forefather of the Igbo nation.
Historical records have it that Eri Kingdom was conceived as a unifying umbrella of Eri descendant communities and also aims at fostering the spirit of peace, love, unity as well as the promotion of socio-economic, cultural and educational development of Eri descendant communities. Eri Kingdom as the name implies also aims at promoting and protecting the interest of Eri descendants wherever they may reside in Nigeria and the diaspora and to ensure good governance in the component town unions. It was for this reason also that Eze Christopher Nwabunwanne Idigo Ogalagidi ll, Eze Aguleri, said that Eri Kingdom simply implies descendants of Eri. He added that it is widely acclaimed that Eri is the progenitor of the Igbo race and that the organization called Eri Kingdom has been in operation long before he became the traditional ruler of Aguleri community. He stressed the dire need for a unified chronicle of the evolution of the Igbo race rather than individual fictions about the root of the Igbo people even as he emphasized that the major people of Eri descendants include Aguleri, Igbariam, Nteje, Nsugbe, Nri and Oraeri. He further noted that they would intensify efforts to ensure that the Eri Kingdom National Centre is built to remind Ndigbo of their heritage and traditional values handed down to them by Eri the father of the Igbo nation.
Ononenyi Nsugbe Sir Nnamdi Okeke, Divisional Sales Manager of Cadbury Nigeria PLC, who is also a native of Nsugbe community of Anambra-east council area and was honoured with distinguished patron of Eri Kingdom, recalled that Eri was the son of Gad who according to historical facts left the Jewish community and settled along the Omambala River where Eri succeeded his father and brought forth descendants who became Igbo people of the present day. Okeke however expressed hope that more villages and communities would realise themselves and identify with Eri Kingdom. Also the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Rhino Energy Chief Peter Erika Okoye who is also a native of Igbariam community, honoured with distinguished patron of Eri Kingdom said every Igbo person is linked with Eri. He however suggested that the Eri Kingdom cultural festival should be an annual event to enable Ndigbo to identify with their origin and cradle of civilization. Another illlustrous son and a member of cabinet of the Eze Aguleri Chief Chinedu Obidigwe stressed the importance of love and unity amongst the descendants of Eri noting that it was pertinent for the Igbo nation to realise itself as well as uphold the cultural values, norms and mores handed down to it by its forebears.
President-General Eri Kingdom Chief Onochie Ozuome Aguleri in his address explained that Eri Kingdom is the Ora Na Eze Umueri nine as well as represents for Eri Kingdom all the ideals that Ohaneze stands for the Igbo race and shall remain a forum for proper articulation and aggregation of their collective aspiration as a people. He noted that it must be ensured that those to be selected subsequently into the National Executive Committee of Eri Kingdom shall be men of integrity and high intellect as it is a critical factor because the future of Eri Kingdom shall depend on the foundation laid by the current leadership. The President-General also solicited for support for the building project of the Eri National Centre which will also serve as Eri Museum and National Secretariat of Eri Kingdom.