It was a moment of solemnity amidst deluge of outpouring, day indigenes, friends and well-wishers of Arochukwu and the entire kingdom bid farewell to late Eze Ogbonnaya Okoro popularly known as Eze Aro.
At the final burial rites on Monday, April 5, 2021, both the young and old were at their best in display as the remains of Eze Aro were eventually interred.
One by one, the indigenes of Arochukwu in Arochukwu local government area of Abia state took turns to eulogise the lives and times of the departed first class Traditional Ruler.
The Chairman, Aro National Rites of Passage Committee, Prof. Okoro Ijeoma, described the deceased king as highly talented, educated, relaxed and very respectful.
He said the late traditional ruler sacrificed a lot for the peace of his community.
Prof. Okoro used the occasion to draw the attention of the federal government on the deplorable state of Arochukwu/Ohafia highway.
He said the completion of the road would be the best way to immortalise the highly respected late Monarch.
“We have had a road which is in despair and it was one of those agonies that faced him when he was alive and we want a lasting legacy for the road to be fixed to honour him, because that is how we can grow economically and socially,” he said.
Also speaking, a two-time governorship candidate of All Progressives Grand Alliance in Abia state Dr Alex Otti who chaired the burial event commended the chairman of the National Committee on the burial rites of passage and committees for working so hard to organise a befitting burial for the Aro monarch.
He remarked that the entire Aro people are consoled by the legacies the late Eze Aro left behind. Dr. Otti then prayed God to show him mercy and grant his soul eternal rest, while calling on the immediate family of the deceased and the entire Aro kingdom to bear the loss with fortitude.
A security expert, Chief Chikwe Udensi, described the late monarch as an epitome of Arochukwu culture and tradition.
He said his demise was a big blow to his subjects, and that his people had only taken solace in the fact that he lived a life of service to his people.
Convener of the New Nigeria Group, Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa, said the late Eze Aro loved his community and Nigeria at large.
He said, “Late Mazi Ogbonnaya Okoro, preached peace and collective responsibility towards the development of his community while on the throne. Each time we visited him, he will tell us that the crown he was wearing was also on our heads, therefore we must work hard to protect it.
“He wanted all of us to be involved in seeking the peace, progress and development of the Arochukwu Kingdom.
“He never demanded anything from anyone, he was content with what he had. He was an extraordinary king, one would have expected him to be more demanding but he wasn’t.
Born on Monday, March 6, 1932, Mazi Ogbonnaya Okoro, he ascended the famous Eze Aro throne in 1995 and his reign witnessed tremendous transformation of the kingdom and growth in inter-communal relations.
Among other positions, Eze Ogbonnaya Okoro, was a first-class traditional ruler and occupied one of the ancient traditional stools in Nigeria and was the custodian of the Aro heritage worldwide.
He passed on in 2020.