Traditional rulers have drawn from the five southeast states of Nigeria, under the auspices of Mbido Igbo Cultural Association, yesterday, August 31, conferred chieftaincy titles on a Chinese industrialist, Martin Wang Shuai and an Ekwulobia born legal practitioner, Barrister Mmayie Okwuchukwu Okeke.
The conferment which held at the National Yam House, Igboukwu, Aguata LGA, was the high point of the 2019 National Yam festival which held in conjunction with Ministry of Arts and Culture and saw the display of the rich cultural heritage of the Igbo people.
According to chairman of Mbido Igbo Cultural Association, Mazi Ugochukwu Okafor, “while Shuai was decorated for his contributions towards development of businesses of Igbo people in China, Mmayie was decorated for his contributions as a community leader in Ekwulobia, his sound legal expertise to the people of the southeast and his efforts in helping Igbo men and women secure employment.”
Reacting to the title, Chief Shuai said that he was overwhelmed at the recognition and promised to live up to the expectations associated with the chieftaincy.
“I am very happy I am being made a chief today. I have always enjoyed doing business with Igbo people and I have so many of them as friends. Igbos are very industrious people and I am happy they are adopting me as one of their own today,” Shuai said.
According to Barrister Okeke, “I was pleasantly surprised when I received the letter that I was nominated for this chieftaincy title. I do not know who nominated me or why, but in the letter, they wrote to me, they said it was because of my numerous contributions towards the development of Igbo states.”
He charged Igbo people to remain proud of their identity regardless of where they find themselves and hold themselves together as one people with a common purpose for the mutual benefit of every Igbo, eschewing all the wrong notions that had been thrust on them before now.
Speaking during the event, the representative from the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation, NTDC, Ody Anumba enjoined all Igbos to come together and develop the National Yam Festival so as to make it a tourist attraction. He said that the NTDC was poised to develop the indigenous cultures of the peoples of Nigeria.