MY BLUE RIVER TRIP(2)
By Chinenye Iwuoha
I did promise to conclude my Azumini blue River experience…our meeting with Enyenweali X of Azumini Ndoki Autonomous Community Ukwa East LGA Abia state, His Royal Majesty, Eze (Prof) Edward Ebere Eule Ph.D. was brief but impactful.
The soft-spoken Eze who lived 40 straight years of his life abroad gave us a warm reception, mentioned their willingness to collaborate with public-private investors who might want to tap from the abundant resources of the rivers
The raw materials used to produce glasses at the moribund Glass Industry Aba were gotten from those rivers. Old Imo state govt established a fish processing plant there which has been abandoned many decades ago but he assured us that both the raw materials and the fishes are still waiting to contribute their quota to the economic growth and development of Abia State, Nigeria, and the global community.
Just the right investors, jobs would be created and many lifted from poverty. Listening to him was so cute that I wished we stayed longer but then, it wasn’t a speech-making day, so he made it snappy, we snapped pictures and munched goodies from the Palace, walked to our car to join others outside.
We didn’t go empty-handed to see the Eze, that would’ve been abnormal for a trip led by Mr. Paddy Anyatonwu who knows the culture, we presented our gift which was heartily accepted by the Eze who gave us his royal blessings to tour their land.
If there’s anything I enjoy visiting royal places, it is the ambiance of such places, the euphoria is always a lifetime experience for me. The waiting period, the announcement of the appearance of the Royal father which is greeted with standing ovation….though journalists are not supposed to perform those rituals, I do, because I’m homegrown and I understand the rules of the royalty. It’s also a learning process for me….don’t ask questions on this(smiles).
We drove past the market and headed to the river which looked calm and peaceful. My curiosity antennas were touching the high heavens as we listened with rapt attention to the President General Azumini Ndoki Town union, Dr. Idah Felix Waboso who knew more than enough about his place, people, and culture. He passionately and proudly told us that NO WATER/RIVER/OCEAN/SEA ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD CAN DROWN AZUMINI, SON OR DAUGHTER…
He actually gave us examples with facts and figures however, if such son or daughter had his/her hands soiled, that protection is withdrawn from such. He also gave instances of those who were drowned even at the village river because their hands weren’t “clean.”
So many interesting stories time will not permit me to tell now…
We left for another side of the River which wouldn’t have taken us that movement if the connecting Bush was cleared but I enjoyed the ride as it gave me time to admire the quiet town. Dr. Waboso told us that that side of the River produces periwinkles and other kinds of seafood. We saw canoes and men who excavate sands from the river, at that point, life jackets were brought for those who wished to go see the six natural beaches spread apart as the other side of the shore. I knew I wouldn’t be part of that trip so I didn’t bother taking any life jackets. I rather joined the group that sat under the tree at the river bank. (Don’t laugh too much, I know my limits)
Dee Paddy took one of us and they went to see the beaches though they couldn’t see all they brought us intriguing stories from there.
While we waited, it was no dull moment with our tour guide, Dr. Idah Felix Waboso, Azumini people ladies don’t commit abortion, he said the lady is not likely to survive it no matter her location as long as her father is from there. Every pregnancy is given birth to unless naturally miscarried.
They have types of marriages, intra (which comprises the rich and not so rich but from Azumimi) then inter which involves people coming from other places, they make it easy for every man to marry, no exorbitant marital rites just declare an interest with drinks to the lady’s father/family, the did is done. If you have what it takes and want to throw a party, they allow you but those coming from outside have the things they do extra, I think that practice is applicable in other places too.
They inherit from the maternal side reason they encourage them to marry from within. If your mother isn’t from there, some benefits may elude you, that’s culture. They know the families that produce the Eze, they already know who will succeed the present Eze whenever his ancestors call him and Dr vehemently argued that nothing will ever hinder that other guy from being the Eze in the future except himself.
He wouldn’t even object, if he refuses, he would one day willingly take up the mantle, he gave us instances too. Dr believes that the goddess of their land protects her own. As per the normal tussle for kingship, those who tried to subvert the standing order naturally answered the call to the great beyond and it was clear why they departed. Such a well-structured people.
I was promised seafood on my next visit as we didn’t see them on. that trip, we were told they had gone to market by the time we arrived There were plenty of local drinks, Eteete, palm wine, etc which tourists there didn’t miss. We enjoyed every minute of our stay. Many people entered the canoe in pairs, paddlers took them on water while yours truly watched from a distance. However, I’ve taken up swimming classes awaiting my next trip to Azumini blue River, I will not only dare the canoe but will swim like some tourists did that day.
We left the river bank and headed back to the Palace to report to His Royal Majesty how much we enjoyed our outing and Dee Paddy made some commitments which I know he will do his best to fulfill. The synergy is formed already and I’m optimistic that both govt and private investors will not allow nature to regret blessing us with Azumini land. I won’t forget to mention the fortified security guys that went with us. The vehicle never moved until they were sure that everyone was in the car.
There were no security threats though but they were up and doing.
We enjoyed the edibles provided by our facilitator Mr. Paddy Anyatonwu and happily hopped into the coater buses back to our destinations. People came from outside Abia state to be part of the all-expense-paid trip to Azumini blue River, the number was however controlled due to obvious reasons. I look forward to another trip there soon.
Many thanks to Dee Paddy Anyatonwu who dreamt and actualized it, March 6 will remain fresh in mind for various positive reasons.
God bless all those who contributed to making the dream a success.
Mr. Paddy Anyatonwu tops the list.
He is tourism personified. I pray one day Abia will become the hub of not just Nigeria but Africa after all there’s no other known BLUE RIVER anywhere in Africa except in Abia state. We are blessed by God.