Ebira land in Kogi state is currently agog with various cultural exhibitions and ancient masquerade outings as part of the third month and final burial rites of World’s Oldest Monarch, Chief Jeremiah Aka’ava JP, the Obobanyi of Ohionwa who transited in the late hours of April 26.
Arguably the world’s oldest monarch, Chief Aka’ava who was approaching his 116th birthday before his demise was born in 1903 and was the 12th occupant of the over 300 year old ancient stool and ruled for about 36 years.
The final rites which began on July 13 with a wave of cultural activities is expected to end this Saturday at a grand ceremony to be chaired by a retired President of the Customary Court of Appeal in Abuja, Justice Moses Bello with other dignitaries including the State Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello and others as part of proceedings.
Chairman of the Planning Committee, Hon Idris Ozi Shaib who thanked the people for turning out enmasse for the series of events lined up for the burial expressed optimism that a new culture of peace and orderliness was fast gaining grounds in the area.
Residents and guests have enjoyed days of colourful parade of ancient masquerades who thronged Oboroke-Ihima to pay their last respects to the traditional ruler.
Historian, YJ Itopa in a written tribute said as a young boy, Aka’ava began his life farming for his parents and uncles as custom required before starting his personal farm work at Akunnu-Akoko in present day Ondo State where he also sold jute bags, Ebira handwoven clothes and associated wears.
A two term Councillor in the early 1960’s, Aka’ava was a member of the Olujumu of Ijumu’s cabinet as Ohinoyi Anebira in Ijumu local government of then Kwara state before he was invited home to wear the crown of his great ancestral fathers, Obobanyi of Ohionwa – so named after the first clan head who performed the feat of killing the very rare white Buffalo.
Ohionwa is one of the three aboriginal clans in Ihima whose traditional stools bear Obobanyi (great hunter), the others being Emani and Ohueta clans.