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The Nigerian Female King, “The Omu of Anioma”, has Passed Away

  • The Omu, an Igbo female monarch, always wore a favourite royal neck bead, a 1998 gift from a close admirer, the late Oba of Benin Omo N’Oba Erediauwa 

The female monarch of Anioma and Okpanam Kingdoms, Obi Martha Dunkwu, has passed on. Unconfirmed reports suggest Obi Dunkwu, after taking ill a week earlier, died today Friday at the Asaba Specialist Hospital.

Born 19th October 1955 in Okpanam, Oshimili North Local Government Area of Delta State, Obi Dunkwu attended St. Joseph’s Catholic School, Barkin Ladi, Plateau State and St. Murumba’s College, Okpanam, Delta State. She had a short stint in the Ministry of Finance, Benin City, Edo State before proceeding to the United Kingdom and later the USA for further studies

Relocating to Nigeria 38 years ago, after her higher education in England and America, Obi Dunkwu, would find herself occupying an 820-year-old ancient throne exclusively created for women, after the elders of Anioma Kingdom – an Igbo subgroup located before the river Niger- insisted she ascend the throne after their consultation with the ancestral gods

  • Obi Martha was the only female in the traditional council.
  •  The community’s Omu is its mother, while its traditional monarch serves as its father
  • The Omu cannot be married, if married before crowning, she must vacate her matrimonial home for the palace, where she will be accorded same rights as male kings
  • The Omu is symbolically a duality of the male and female essence
  • It is not a hereditary role
  • After an Omu passes, elders will consult gods and the ancestors to reveal the next suitable female in the community to be crowned
  • No young woman is allowed to declare her desire to become an Omu
  • The Omu’s work is spiritual, she is the gatekeeper constantly praying and interceding on behalf of the community

HRM Obi Martha Dunkwu became the Omu of Okpanam on 26th January 2002, she was later crowned Omu Anioma on 15th January 2010 and then NNEOHA on 19th October, 2020.

SOURCE: Ripples, Oasismagazine

IMAGE: Inlandtown

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