A pastor of the Redeem Church of God (RCCG), Prince Eberechukwu Oji has emerged as the Eze Aro of the Arochukwu ancient kingdom.
Eze Aro is one of the revered traditional stools in Igbo land because of the significance of the stool to the Aro Kingdom and its historical value to the Igbo race, reports The Nation.
Pastor Oji, who is the Eze Aro designate, is a member of the lineage that produces the Eze Arochukwu royal family.
He is also a notable businessman in the oil and gas sector of the country.
It was gathered that Pastor Oji emerged as the Eze Aro designate after a thorough screening by the Okennachi kindred and a screening committee found him most suitable for the position which has remained a vacuum after the death of his uncle and immediate past Eze Aro, Mazi Vincent Ogbonnaya Okoro, CFR who died in 2021, after 25 years reign on the throne.
Our correspondent reports that the late Eze Aro before ascending the throne, was trained in the United Kingdom as a Medical Laboratory Scientist and later became the pioneer head of the Department of Laboratory Technology at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu and later retired as the Chief Medical Laboratory Scientist at the UNN in 1988 when the call to serve his community came.
It was gathered that since 2021 when the former Eze Aro died, the royal family has been searching for and screening members of the royal family before they later settled for Pastor Oji and his cousin, Mazi Godwin Kanu Idei.
The screening committee was said to have later settled for Pastor Oji after a long and rigorous process.
It was gathered that the community which has been without a king has fixed December 26 for the coronation and public presentation of the 50-year-old Eze Aro designate to members of the public.
In an exclusive chat with Pastor Oji, he promised to lead the people of Arochukwu with the fear of God and respect for the traditions and customs of the Arochukwu Ancient Kingdom, with the firm promise that he would be a king for all the Arochukwu sons and daughters across the globe.
The philanthropist and business guru noted that the Arochukwu Ancient Kingdom under his watch would witness tremendous change.
He added that part of his vision for the Aro ancient kingdom was to initiate plans that would not only promote the traditions and culture of the people but also draw the attention of the global community to the historical and tourist sites in the area.
Asked if his pastoral calling would not clash with the cultural belief of the Aro kingdom, the Eze Aro designate said, “We have to separate the religion and culture as there’s no conflict between both. While we preserve our culture, we ought to also separate our culture from idol worship and I will exercise the kingship to all Aro and not to a certain few.
“We have to separate individual faith from our beautiful culture. The number one monarchy is the British and they have reconciled their culture and monarchy to their religion. The last Eze Aro who was my uncle was a Christian, he was an Anglican. So there’s no conflict at all.”
On how he emerged as Eze Aro, he said: “Our cultures are very clear in Kingship selection. It’s not hereditary. We do not present anyone who has a case of mental illness, robbery or has ever been to prison.
“A screening exercise is done until the committee identifies someone worthy of the throne. That’s the culture.
“The Okpara Ezi is my uncle who is 91 so we approached our elders and told them that it would be wise to hand over the mantle of leadership to the younger ones while they become the guardians to modify our culture and create more development.
“This was applauded by most people and our fathers agreed. The search for a younger Eze started and we ended up with multiple young people. The criteria was that nobody above 70 would be considered.
“In my family, we were two but my uncle graciously stepped down for me. Through the screening, we made our case on why we deserve to be the Eze.
“On the day of the election, five persons voted for me while the other two committee members voted for the other contestant Prince Godwin Kalu Idei Kanu Okoro Oke who is parading himself as the Eze Aro.
“But once the result was announced, he stormed out and urged that he be declared the Eze. We weren’t perturbed and went to the Ndi Oke Nnachi family comprising of Asi Eko Oke Nnachi, Kanu Okoro Oke Nnachi, and Oji Okoro Oke Nnachi who performed the traditional rites and I was presented as the Eze Aro designate.”