A NIGERIAN – BORN BUSINESSMAN WHO ROSE FROM THE DEEP TO THE PEAK, SPEAKS ON THE BENEFITS OF HIS THRONE TO NIGERIANS LIVING IN GHANA
He rules with deep insight like one with the third sight and awes all with light humour but right might. He wins hearts with art set apart and compels respect in every aspect. What then could one expect but almost slavish loyalty to such a royalty!
The proverbial saying that there is no hiding place for a goldfish holds sway in the life of His Royal Majesty, Eze (Dr) Ambassador Chukwudi Jude Ihenetu Eze-ohazurume 1, the Eze-Igbo of Ghana.
HRM, Eze (Dr) Ambassador Chukwudi hails from Imo State in Nigeria. He, like his other eight siblings, had a humble background. His father was a primary school teacher, now retired, and so, there were difficulties giving him and his siblings’ quality life and advanced education given his father’s meager salary. Hence, while in school back in Nigeria, Chukwudi indulged in trading, as a typical young Igbo man. Thence did he develop his business and entrepreneurial skills.
In 1995, Chukwudi began his international business exploit to Ghana. He started by moving goods like auto spare parts and other related ones from Nigeria to Ghana where he would sell and return to Nigeria after a few days. After a while, he decided to settle in Ghana following the counsel of some business tycoon he had come across and consulted with.
‘……I came to Ghana in 1995. That was after I met some friends from Nigeria who were already trading in Ghana. They told me that business was doing well in Ghana. So I started buying goods in small scales and bringing them to Ghana to sell. At that time, one could an item for one naira in Nigeria, bring it to Ghana, and sell at three naira. So it was actually a good business…..’
Since then, Chukwudi moved from moving goods in small scales from Nigeria to Ghana to importing in larger quantity directly into Ghana. He now owns a conglomerate of companies collectively called Chi-Bert Group of Companies, a name, which he coiled from his name and that of his amiable wife.
Under this group are companies like: Chi-bert Ltd, Chi-bert Transport, Chi-bert Mother Care, Chi-bert Farms, Chi-bert Aluminum, West Coast Entertainment as well as Chi-bert Oil West Africa and Spakwest. This last group deals in Telecommunication Towers and High tension Towers. He empowers young Nigerians by giving them goods to sell and they pay him afterwards. They make profit from the sale of the goods and start up for themselves.
THE ROAD TO THE THRONE
The exceptional good virtues of Ambassador Chukwudi, coupled with the kind gestures that he exhibits towards Nigerians living here in Ghana paved the way to the throne for him. Little did he know that his good deeds were being noticed and recognized by his fellow Nigerians living in Ghana. Consequently, he was singled out and approached by his people, including some prominent Nigerians outside Ghana, like His Excellency, Rochas Okorocha, the Executive Governor of Imo state and others, to become the king of his people in the foreign land.
He was hesitant at first, but following the pressure that mounted, he submitted himself to the service of his people in Ghana. Hence, he was crowned the Eze-Igbo Ghana in August, 2012, amid fanfare.
The palace of HRM, Eze-Igbo Ghana, has an organized administrative hierarchy that runs as follows: the Eze-Igbo, who can be likened to the president of the Igbo people in Ghana; we also have sub-chiefs in each region of the country, who are like the Governors; the ones that are also like Local Government Chairmen and finally, the Councilors (districts chiefs).
In furtherance, the palace created also other sub-thrones under the various thrones listed above to take governance further down to make sure that the people are reached wherever they may be in every part of the country. One of such lower thrones is in Dansuma, headed by Eze Udo Saturday Ekezie;
As HRM, Eze Chukwudi observes, kingship in the Diaspora is the same as kingship back home where the Ezes handle more of land disputes and other such petty issues. He told his cabinet members that their kingship in Ghana is aimed at engendering positive progress among their people in all ramifications, adding, that exactly is what his throne and the sub-thrones under him are focusing on.
THE IMPORTANT ACHIEVEMENTS OF HIS REIGN SO FAR
Since his coronation as HRM, Eze-Igbo Ghana, he has recorded many remarkable achievements. He has used his throne to unite particularly the people of Igbo extraction and by extension, all the Nigerian people living in Ghana. Some other prominent achievements of the palace include the teaching of core values and the need to respect the laws of their host country. This is done with a view to helping Nigerian children know and understand the laws of the country so that they do not violate them in ignorance and run into trouble with the authorities, as had been the case hitherto.
READ: When Eze Ndi Igbo Ghana,Eze Ohazurume I led Igbo in Ghana to celebrate new yam festival
The establishment of Igbo schools where Nigerian children are taught about our culture and traditions right here in Ghana; he has also set up a committee structure through which is organized transportation and other logistics for some Nigerians to travel home during Christmas time and celebrate the Yule-tide with their families.
This need arose when, through the town hall meetings, HRM, Eze-Igbo Ghana alongside his cabinet members, discovered that some of his people had lived in Ghana for as long as fourty to fifty years and had not visited home. Now, when these fellows go home, they integrate so well that even their family members at home often ask them how it was possible that they still remembered their culture and traditions so well. They tell that their King in Ghana has established an Igbo teaching school there where they learn about their culture and traditions away from home.
Another remarkable achievement that the reign of Eze-Igbo Ghana has recorded is the establishment of convenient facilities like nine public toilets, five for men, four for women, as well as seventeen boreholes as his contribution to the infrastructural development of the country they live in. The Eze has really brought the Igbo people in Ghana quite close to the government, not because they participate in the country’s politics, but because it helps them to work in harmony with the government of the country.
Furthermore, HRM, Eze Dr Chukwudi recognizes the importance of thrones, not only to the Igbo people but to all Africans, stressing that even the modern government structures emanate from traditional thrones. The president comes from a village and that village must have village leaders by way of kings and chiefs and so on. He said that governments go and come, but the traditional thrones hardly change.
‘……I want to say that one of the achievements of my throne that pleases me most is the establishment of Igbo teaching school.” he has noted. In that school, our children and our people generally here, are taught about their culture and traditions, especially the Igbo Language, so that they can be in tone with whom they are. We have also initiated the celebration of our new yam festival here in Ghana to further promote and propagate our culture to our children that are born here. This year’s edition was hosted last Saturday and we had many important personalities of Ghanaian authorities in attendance. But more importantly, I can say that one of the greatest achievements that my palace has recorded so far is the fact that no Igbo person in Ghana takes his fellow country man or woman to police or the court. This is because my cabinet members and I decided to tour all the regions of Ghana where our people are found and we handed them over to the police in their various areas even as we gave them orientation about respecting the laws of our host country. That has drastically reduced the rate at which our people violate the laws of the land and a resultant reduction in the cases of arrest of our people by the authorities as it used to be. In addition, hardly does an Igbo person take a fellow Igbo person to the police or the court here in Ghana. That is because my palace has enacted a law that strongly prohibits that. We resolve all differences among ourselves in the palace. We can only go to the authorities when the matter is beyond our handling…….’
As intimated, the palace of HRM, Eze-Igbo Ghana, has also set up town hall meetings in various regions across Ghana where our people are being taught about their culture and traditions as well as the laws of their host country. This, he said, has helped in no small deal, because, the truth is that most of the Igbo people living in Ghana, as everywhere else, are more interested in their businesses than education. Therefore, they hardly find time to read and learn about the laws of the country. Because of this, many of them violate the laws of their host country without actually knowing that they do. That often led to clashes between our people and the authorities of our host country. But through the orientation that we are giving our people at our town hall meetings, there is drastic reduction in such clashes between our people and the authorities of the country in recent times. If not for that, there would have been clashes now in the wake of the recent incident where the authorities locked up the shops of many of the Igbo traders in the country and it could have led to the lossof lives already by now. Now, the palace of HRM, Eze-Igbo Ghana is addressing the problem in a peaceful and mature manner with the authorities.
HIS PRIVATE LIFE
HRM, Ambassador Dr Chukwudi Jude Ihenetu is a complete gentle man whose guiding mantra is ‘trust’, whether it in his personal life or business life. This rare virtue leaves many people with much to wonder. Some others, however, attribute his possession of such rare virtues to the fact that he is a royal, from the lineage of the historical great king Jaja of Opobo. He is married to an amiable wife, Lolo Liberty Chukwudi, a woman he eulogizes as the backbone of his success. They have five admirable kids.