Confirming this in a phone chat with ENCOMIUM Weekly, Emeritus President General of Ichi Development Union, Chief Ezekiel Okeke stated that the billionaire mogul is indeed a gift to Ichi people of Ekwusigo LGA of Anambra State. Chief Okeke, who recalled how the demise of the former Igwe gave the community the opportunity to get things right also revealed how Chief Emma Bishop Okonkwo built a sprawling abode for the Ichi royal family, among his other philanthropic projects.
Speaking on Emma Bishop’s Ikenga title, we were told it’s rather an ancient office he inherited from his forefathers.
How does it feel to have another Igwe coronated peacefully after the demise of the last king?
I thank God Almighty for that. God was instrumental to the successful coronation of HRH Igwe Lawrence Nwafor Okonkwo (JP), Anamanalike III, Igwe Ichi.
So, why did it take your community all of 12 years to choose a successor?
I think we needed to get things right. I was President General when the Igwe died. That was around 2003.
Why do you think things now went the way the people wanted?
The new Igwe accepted the conditions Ichi people gave him. So, there was no way the coronation wouldn’t go well with our constitution on ground.
It was also an occasion for the coronation of Bishop Emma Okonkwo as Ikenga Ichi?
That’s a misconception. Bishop Okonkwo was not coronated. He assumed his office. That’s his right. He is Ikenga I of Ichi. We pray it will go to another person later in his generation. Like we have the Igwe title, Amanalike I, II and III. But Bishop’s own is not a title per se, it is an inheritance, like I corrected.
The Ikenga Ichi is said to be loved by Ichi people?
Yes, Emma Bishop Okonkwo is a philanthropist who has touched many lives in his community and beyond. He doesn’t look for credit in whatever he does. He built all the edifices in Igwe’s palace single-handedly. Nobody contributed a dime to the project. We are so, so proud of him. Our generation is blessed with such a phenomenal personality.
– UCHE OLEHI