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History: Igwe Ofala Okagbue, Longest Ruling Obi of Onitsha

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Written By David Ugbabe

Born October 5, 1923 in Onitsha, H.R.H Igwe Alphonsus Ofala Okechukwu Okagbue can be described as one of the most phenomenal kings to have ruled Onitsha and Igbos in general. After 31 years on the throne, Igwe Ofala is one of the longest ruling kings in the history of the kingdom and through his kingship great achievements were made that brought fame to the kingdom.

Prior to becoming crowned Obi of Onitsha, he took the Ozo title name Akukalia. On his coronation, Igwe Ofala Okagbue became the twentieth occupant of the highly revered seat of the Obi of Onitsha – a dynasty that has thrived for more than four hundred years. On his death in 2001, he was survived by his wife, four sons, two daughters; one of whom is the famous Nollywood actor, Chris Okechukwu Ofala. Below is a brief history of his education as well as journey into royalty.

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Brief History

The young Ofala attended St Mary’s Primary School, Onitsha, Holy Cross Catholic School. Benin-City, Roman Catholic Mission Primary School, Ibusa, Christ the King College, Onitsha. His hobbies were sports and philanthropy etc.

1941 to 1943; worked as a teacher.

1943-44; He worked as a Clerk, Book-keeper and later acting Assistant Agent (Manager) at John Joly Limited.

1944-56; Manager and Public Relations Officer. Joseph Asaboro Limited, Sapele,

1956-59; Sales Personnel, Mobil Oil Nigeria Limited, 1959-68

On November 25, 1970, he was officially installed as the Obi of Onitsha, and ruled for a record 31 years. Until his death, Igwe Alphonsus Ofala Okechukwu Okagbue made astounding accomplishments and was atop several establishments in the country. Worthy of mention is that Igwe Okague was award an Honorary Degree from the Bayero University, Kano. (Doctor of Laws (Hon. LL.D). Therefore, it was official to refer to him as H.R.H Dr. Alphonsus Ofala Okechukwu Okagbue.

ALSO READ: FlashBack: The First Obi of Onitsha who Transformed Igboland

Other top level achievements made by the Igwe include;

  • Chancellor, Bayero University, Kano
  • Chairman, Anambra State Council of Traditional Rulers
  • Member, FESTAC Committee on Culture and Regatta
  • Member, Rotary Club
  • Patron, Man O’War Bay Club
  • Patron, Honda Club of Nigeria
  • Patron, Onitsha Development Trust Fund
  • National Honour: Conferred with the Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (CFR), 1978
  • Foreign Honour: The Order of the Republic of Sudan. 1974
  • National Honour: conferred with the Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (CFR), 1978;
  • Foreign Honour: The Order of the Republic of Sudan.

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