Abia State Government has announced an eight-day burial programme in honour of a foremost traditional ruler in the state, Eze Benard Enweremadu.Enweremadu, who was the progenitor and Traditional Head of Ngwaland (Ezeukwu of Ngwaukwu) in Isialangwa North Local Government Area of the state, died on Jan. 23.

The Central Burial Committee constituted by Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu announced the plan at a news briefing on Wednesday held in the country home of the son to the deceased, Christopher, at Ahiaba Ngwaukwu.

The Chairman of the Committee, Prof. Uche Ikonne, flanked by other members of the group, said the traditional burial rites would commence on Friday, Dec. 10 with the traditional condolence visit to the deceased palace by the various villages in the community.

Ikonne said the ceremony also included a colloquium on “Perspectives to the personality and enduring legacies of Enweremadu” to be held in Umuahia.

The programme would end on Friday, Dec. 17 with an interdenominational church service to be anchored by the Anglican Church in his compound, to be followed by interment.Ikonne described Enweremadu as an enigma, saying “the Igboman has a big sense of loss with his passage.“

He was an eloquent custodian of the Igbo culture and tradition. Indeed, he was culture himself.“He was a veritable resource person for researchers on Igbo culture and tradition,” he said.

He also described the deceased as a detribalised Nigerian, whose friends cut across the various ethnic nationalities in Nigeria.Ikonne, who is a former Vice-Chancellor of the Abia State University, Uturu, said that it was in recognition of the deceased’s towering personality that the university honoured him with an Honorary Doctorate Degree in March 2019.

In a brief remark, Christopher said his father would be missed by the family for being bold, courageous, disciplined and an embodiment of peace.

He said his father, who was an only son of his mother, married 14 wives and had 70 children but survived by 66.He said “He imparted in us the virtue of responsibility.

This was a quality that helped him to galvanise a close-knit home and all the communities in his domain as the “Oparaukwu” (first son).

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) learnt that the deceased ascended the throne as the Ezeukwu of Ngwaukwu at age 33 to become the13th traditional head of Ngwaland.He marked his 44th anniversary on the throne on Oct. 23, 2020 and died at age 77.

He was Deputy Chairman, Council of Traditional Rulers in the old Imo and later became the Chairman of Abia State Council of Traditional Rulers after the death of Dr Akanu Ibiam.

He was the sole representative of African Traditional Rulers at the African/American Festival at Ohio, U.S.A. in August 1990.