The mood at the exquisite Graceland Estate Event Centre, Irete, Owerri, Imo State was upbeat on Saturday, August 14, 2021 when the highest chieftaincy title for indigenous women of Owerri Ancient Clan, Ada Owere 1 was bestowed on the wife of Ondo State governor, Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu.
The traditional rulers of the 53 autonomous communities in the three Owerri federal constituencies comprising Owerri North, Owerri West and Owerri Municipal council areas unanimously awarded the title to Mrs. Akeredolu.
It was glitz and glamour during the ceremony which attracted dignitaries from across the Eastern and Western parts of the country.
The drums and cymbals sounded at highest decibels in honour and celebration of a woman who has shown exceptional leadership and care for her people.
Of course, the two-time governor of Ondo State and husband of the honouree, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu (SAN) attended with members of his state executive council to add more colour to the ceremony.
It is important to point that Ada Owere 1 has proven to be a woman of substance, an asset to her people.
In spite of marrying outside the Igbo homeland, Mrs. Akeredolu has not forgotten her origin as she has continued to care for her kiths and kin.
She has contributed to the infrastructural development of Owerri communities, facilitated political appointments for Imo indigenes to serve in the government of Ondo State and engaged in conflict resolution and peace-building in communities and families in Imo State.
Ada Owere 1 has also facilitated employments of Imo indigenes into the Ondo State Civil Service and awarded academic scholarships to bright students of humble backgrounds of Imo origin.
The ebony black daughter of Emeabiam Community in Owerri West Local Government Area of Imo State has equally shown love and care for breast cancer patients and empowerment of the girl-child with skills through her Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu Foundation.
The foundation has trained many girls in Imo State on solar power installation through periodic boot camps.
It is for these reasons that her people decided to confer on her the exalted title. She is the first Owere woman to be so honoured.
In his speech, the Chairman of the occasion and former deputy governor of Imo State, Prince Eze Madumere eulogized Gov. Akeredolu and his wife, Betty as humane and haters of injustice.
He described her as a woman whose heart beats for humanity and her people.
According to Madumere, she was being honoured for what she stands for and for the lives she has touched positively.
The prince of the Madumere Dynasty of Achi Mbieri Kingdom was effusive in his thanks to the duo for intervening when he was pummeled with impeachment by his estranged boss and former state governor, Senator Rochas Okorocha.
According to the former deputy governor, it was the assistance of Gov. Akeredolu and his wife as well as some other Nigerians that scuttled his unjust removal from office.
Okorocha had galvanized the state legislature under the leadership of Acho Ihim as speaker to impeach Madumere on the purported claim that he is an ex-convict among other frivolous allegations but a High Court swiftly upturned the impeachment before the life of the Okorocha administration expired.
The traditional rulers took turns to decorate Ada Owere 1 with the regalia of the title which included a neck sash, a crown, a traditional hand fan to fan out evils and usher in more goodies to her family, Ondo State and her homeland and a wrest bangle.
On completing the conferment of the title, it was time for Gov. Akeredolu to reclaim his wife from her people. One of the two comperes, Emma Okere Okala was emphatic that the governor must perform the task.
Of course, the white bearded super in-law of Owerri people was not found wanting. He did as he was customarily required to and reclaimed his wife to the delight of guests and Owerri people.
Thereafter, Ada Owere 1 danced round the hall to exchange pleasantries with the guests, who poured accolades on her.
The joy of Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu knew no bounds. She dedicated the title to her parents even as she thanked the people for appreciating her modest contributions. She said the award will spur her to do more.
According to her, “If you knew my parents, whatever anyone says I have done, you won’t be surprised. Service to humanity comes to me naturally.”
A visibly-elated Gov. Akeredolu also expressed happiness at the honour done his wife and thanked Owerri people for finding her worthy of the honour.
The governor said. “I thank Owere people for the honour done my family today”, raising his swagger stick in acknowledgement of cheers from the guests.
Guests also took turn to eulogize the sterling qualities of Mrs. Akeredolu. They hailed her as a good mother and philanthropist who is loved by all strata of the society.
Various cultural displays featured and many dance groups entertained guests at the ceremony. Ada Owere is the highest traditional title for indigenous women of Owere Ancient Clan comprising 53 communities.
The consensus of the monarchs and their subjects shows that truly Her Excellency, Arabin Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu is deserving of the title having earned it through sheer dint of hardwork and care for humanity.