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On this particular Saturday evening, a few hundred Onitsha people gather at the palace to observe this ritual while church bells are tolling through the rest of the town, .At the music’s end, — the “dance of anger” around the streets of the town that typically begins any man’s burial.Let the swampy high forests in Ogbaru and Anambra Districts pay tribute to the great ruler of the Ibo land.Let the twinkling stars and the moon exhibit their beauties in adoration to the king.I call on all the industrious Ibo traders and businessmen to rally round to mourn their cheritable (sic) king that ruled without discrimination.May he rest in peace.” Interwoven with the superficially Judeo-Christian and Romantic imagery of these passages is an extended evocation of the Obi’s unique traditional position in the complex physical, biotic, and social/cultural setting that constitutes historical Onitsha, reflecting an awareness of the deep symbolic connections of traditional Kingship with the natural order that is part of the shared culture of the Riverine (-speaking communities to Onitsha reach into the legendary past (including trading relationships long before the settling of the Waterside by repesentatives of European power), and the Riverine peoples were among the first to reside as immigrants in Colonial era Onitsha.I call on all the Ogbarus and their graceful dancers to show their last respect to the traditional ruler of the ever hospitable and accommodating Onitsha.I call on all the Nupes, the Igaras, the Hausas, Yorubas to gather to pay the last homage to the king of the land that has given us shelter and food for years undisturbed.
Although he has been severed with mother earth but the dignity that was his demeanor will live for ever.
The March 18 Spokesman provides a schedule of the “official events” of the funeral: “Saturday evening: there will be a tolling of church bells; Sunday morning: there will be religious services in all the churches; Sunday afternoon: the N. Second, a prominent position is given not only to major actors among the Onitsha people but also to “groups from neighboring towns.” The traditional conclusion of the formal announcements includes a series of ritual procedures not described in the newspapers, but which constitute the beginning of the burial process.
According to Onitsha tradition, the night before the drums, a pair of sacred wooden gongs that are played every morning during his lifetime to assert the coming of the dawn, were now played in fading twilight, calling out in rhythm the names of ancestral Onitsha kings to notify them of the event.
Under this headline the Chairman of the Onitsha Urban County Council (OUCC), B. The Eastern Observer prints a similar article, with a slightly different tense-implication: Note that both sheets emphasize the point attributed to Mr.
Obanye “that the respect of the Council to the Obi would be manifested in the response of the Council….” On subsequent days both newspapers are filled with the subject of Okosi II, including obituaries, messages of condolence, and lyrical eulogies.