Ibele born elder statesman, top community leader and a man with many traditional titles, Chief Cyril Obioha on Thursday 28 September 2023 marked his 90 years birthday in his Okwudor Ibele Autonomous Community home of Njaba LGA Imo State Nigeria.
By the time Umuaka Times reporters arrived at the county home of the Triple Chief Cyril Obioha, many people had arrived and some women were busy cooking and preparing refreshments for the big event. When eventually Chief Obioha saw the reporters, the Agunaechemba 1 of IsiIbele, Ezekwesili 1 of Umuaka and Agugoeshi the second of Umuaka welcomed them with open heart and the reporters introduced themselves. The Chief was elated as he recalled that sometime ago Umuaka Times had an interview with him.
As Umuaka Times was preparing to hold a brief interview with Chief Obioha, God decided to bless the event with rainfall. The rainfall added colour to the event and many who came for the big event described it as a blessing from God.
When many more guests had gathered at the event, Chief Obioha, the celebrater presented kola nuts to his guests. After the usual kola nuts rituals, the kola nuts returned to him as tradition demands and he prayed and thanked God for making him clock 90 years. He also prayed that God should continue to bless and protect his children, the Obioha family, Ibele community, Umuaka and Igbo people in general.
As the kola nuts and drinks were being passed around for the guests, Umuaka Times reporters used the opportunity to engage the “birthday boy”. When asked to give his birthday message to Akalites and Nigerians in general, Chief Obioha smiled, cleared his voice and spoke a little and finally promised to talk more during Christmas celebration when he will have the opportunity and time to speak to Nigerians about his life and times. “Please get prepared. I will invite you when the time comes,” the Chief told Umuaka Times.
Following the little he spoke, Chief Obioha first told Umuaka Times that he has been feeling very happy even from the eve of the birthday. “I have been with God since morning when I had time to thank him for this special day.”
On the behavior of the youths of today, Chief Obioha condemned in outright terms the refusal of today’s youths to learn any skill. “What saved me during our days was that I learnt driving during my youthful years. It gave me a good job and I used it to impact on my family and others positively. Our youths today have no interest to learn any skill.”
One good thing about Chief Cyril Obioha is that he is a critic with solutions. He does not criticize and fail to offer his solutions or a roadmap to solving the problem. After condemning the activities of the youths, he advised them to learn some skills in order to protect their future. He also took enough time and advised parents to continue to guide their children positively on the right path of life.
On the recently concluded general elections in Nigeria, Chief Obioha deeply expressed his disappointment over the current state of things in Nigeria today. “Things just went totally bad immediately after the election. For example, going to Lagos today by public transport costs quite a lot. We are in deep trouble indeed.”
After the brief interview, friends and well-wishers as well as the large number of family members gathered and supported the “birthday boy” to cut the birthday cake.
The birthday celebration of Chief Cyril Obioha was indeed a memorable event. Umuaka Times wishes the nonagenarian many more years ahead as he turns centenarian in the next 10 years.