History was made on Saturday as a hearing impaired person, Eze Anthony Ohaeri, was coronated as the traditional ruler of Umuawa Alaocha II Autonomous Community, Ohuhu clan in Umuahia North L.G.A, of Abia State.
Speaking during the ceremony at the Umuawa Alaocha Community School, the Special Assistant to the Abia State Governor on Disability matters, Mr David Anyaele, restated the government’s resolve to remove barriers mitigating against persons with disabilities in the state, in order to give them a sense of belonging.
Anyaele, who also said that the government had evolved numerous programmes and policies that were aimed at improving the welfare of the citizenry, said that the government was desirous to ensure that its rebuilding agenda would be achieved.
In his remark also, the Chairman of Umuahia North Traditional Rulers Council, Eze Innocent Nwaigwe, commended the government for supporting the emergence of a hearing impaired person as a traditional ruler.
According to him, the action had demonstrated that the present administration’s commitment to run an inclusive government.
Speaking also, the Chairman of Joint National Association of Persons With Disabilities, Mr Wisdom Kalu, said that the emergence of Ohaeri as a traditional ruler had demonstrated that every member of the society should be treated as valuable.
Kalu described the event as historic and a first of its kind adding that it was worthy of note that this development had further strengthened the confidence of persons with disabilities in the state.
Speaking shortly after his coronation, the traditional ruler of Umuawa Alaocha II Autonomous Community, Eze Anthony Ohaeri He pledged to adopt an inclusive leadership style to give everyone a sense of belonging and expressed willingness to work with well-meaning individuals and the government for sustained socioeconomic growth in the community.
His words, “I am an enthusiast of building progressive communities and systems that would stimulate rural economy, this is because I believe when there is prosperity in the rural communities it positively impacts on the socioeconomic growth of the state and makes the job of the state government easier.
“As l take up the mantle of leadership entrusted upon me by the people of Umuawa Alaocha Autonomous Community I am conscious of the enormous responsibility that comes with it and I assure you that I will live up to expectation.
“Under my watch, I will ensure that Umuawa Alaocha Autonomous Community records growth and prosperity through evolving and implementing programmes that would protect the interest of my people, improve their well-being and give them a sense of belonging”.
He further said that his leadership would focus on creating platforms that would encourage the members of the community to explore their potentials and contribute to the growth of the society.
Ohaeri added that this would help in reducing crime rate to the barest minimum and increased productivity as well as prosperity is recorded.
The traditional ruler who appealed to the government for improved infrastructure development in the community to facilitate even spread of socioeconomic growth in the community, expressed displeasure over the untold hardship experienced by the residents of the community as a result of the dilapidated condition of the Umuawa Alaocha Road.
He said that movement of people and goods in and out of the community had become difficult and added that the experience gets worse during that rainy season.
Ohaeri, who also appreciated his community and Abia government for making it possible for him to become a traditional ruler, regardless of his hearing impairment, thanked the government for its ongoing Zero Pothole Initiative in the community and appealed for rehabilitation of the Umuawa Alaocha Road as well as other internal roads in the community.
He said that this would significantly to boost the economic activities in the area and improve the welfare of the people.
Ohaeri urged the government to build critical infrastructure that would address the infrastructure deficit in areas such as education, health, water supply, skills acquisition and agriculture in the community.
He expressed optimism that the government through its rebuilding agenda would build rural economy and boost productivity in communities across the state.
Furthermore, he thanked the government for support for persons with disabilities adding that his emergence as a traditional ruler was an indication that it was determined to protect the interest of persons with disabilities.
In an interviews with newsmen, the elder sister of the traditional ruler, Chief (Mrs) Roseline Amuchie thanked God for making it possible for their brother to become the traditional ruler of their community.
Amuchie said that she was a firm believer in the fact that every individual had been blessed by God and had the capacity to handle any responsibility entrusted on the individual.
“We believe that God created us equal and whatever challenge you have is surmountable, you have to figure out a way to navigate your way.
“My brother is the oldest son of our father and by right he has the intellect and the ability plus special ability to ensure that every member of the community is given a sense of belonging,” she added.
Also, the brother of the traditional ruler, Elder Augustine Ohaeri, said that their grand father and father served as traditional rulers of their community until their demise and expressed delighted that his brother had followed in the same path as their father.
Ohaeri also expressed confidence that his brother would live up to expectation and that his reign would be successful and prosperous.
The wife of the traditional ruler, Ugoeze Ihuoma Ohaeri, thanked God for the giving her husband the opportunity to serve the community as a traditional ruler and promised to give him her full support to enable him succeed.
Our correspondent observed that the community was visibly alive with a festivities, which was a testament of the acceptance of the new traditional ruler by the members of the community.
He also gathered that Eze Ohaeri is the oldest son of the 15 sons of the former traditional ruler of the community, late Eze Anyiam Ohaeri and an American trained Computer Programmer, who resides in the United States of America and has lived in the States for the past 20 years.