An event which is bound to revebrate throughout Igboland took place in Eziama Obiato in Mbaitoli local government ofImoStatelast Easter Saturday as the people formally renounced and banished the “Osu” caste practice in the community.
The occasion which took place atSt. Thomas’ (Ang) Church compound, Eziama Obiato was presided over by the traditional ruler, Eze Dennis Nwaba who is the brain behind the unprecedented event.
While declaring the practice banished in his kingdom, the traditional ruler, on behfal of his community, apologized to the victims of the practice for the wrongs done to them for generations and assured that the qualified ones among the victims would be appointed into his cabinet and given other responsible positions in the community.
He declared, “there shall no more be “Osu” in Eziama Obiato. Beginning from today, everybody is “diala”. If our sons or daughters had married “Osu”, we hereby accept them as free citizens”.
Tracing the root of the despicable practice to the fetish traditions of the forefathers of the community, Eze Nwaba wondered why a practice with pagan origin should be allowed in today’s preponderantly Christian society whereas such practices as killing of twins, slavery and other taboos founded on fetish traditions have since been abolished.
He recalled a 1956 law passed by the then Eastern House of Assembly during the tenure of the great Dr Azikiwe which abolished the practice of “osu” caste system and accused Igbos of hypocrisy for not capitalizing on the law to end the practice.
Eze Nwaba, a Knight of St. Christopher in the Anglican Church, urged his people to ensure that peace and love prevailed among them so that there would be “neither Jew nor Gentile”.
The Chairman of the occasion and President-General of Eziama-Obiato People’s Assembly, Engr. Sir Oluchukwu Ibekwe assured that the order would be passed to village unions in the community for immediate implementation.
He extolled the courage of Eze Nwaba in embarking on the crusade.
In answer to a question, Engr Ibekwe clarified that no sanctions would be imposed on defaulters yet as, according to him, it is a moral question.
There were speeches from those present from within and outside the community each hailing the traditional ruler and the community for their pace-setting action.
The traditional ruler of Nkwesi, Eze Odigbo implored the Eziama-Obiato community to accept the move with their whole heart as Nkwesi people have already done.
Evangelist Eugene Ogbuji from Isiala Mbano stated that Eze Nwaba has a vision of the wrath awaiting those still practicing the “osu” caste system as contained in Deut. 20:1-5 hence, according to him, the traditional ruler has acted fast to save his people from the impending wrath.
Others who spoke positively were Pastor Silas, Mr Ejionye, Ugochukwu Emmanuel Martin Uneze and a woman leader in the area.
One of the highlights of the day was intercessory prayers said by all the men of God present led by the chairman, Eziama-Obiato Christian Fellowship, Rev. Can. Chimezie Onyenuma.