SUNDAY : THE SYMBOL OF EZEMU
By Anthony Awunor
Throughout his lifetime, he reminded everyone about the Founder of Ubulu Uku, Ezemu.
For over seven decades, he made us believe that the founder of the town was not too far away from us but still living among the living.
Sunday Onwordi, a.k.a. Sunday Ezemu, the Idumubo born farmer was among the numerous Ubulu-Uku persons who have enriched Ubulu Uku culture and tradition as he performed his traditional roles with gusto and funfair.
Beyond the key roles he played during the Ine and particularly Iwu Festival, this great man was a replica of original Ezemu. He practised farming, hunting and was also one of the greatest cannon shooters in the town.
Although, no living Ubulu Uku person has seen Ezemu but we were told, that the “Eze Isi Iyomiyo” was short. Many other things were attributed to him including the fact that he was a great hunter and herbalist.
Of all the descriptions put up by different writers and historians, what seems to capture the true position of the man is his height. Even artists also made us to believe that the original Ezemu was indeed diminutive in stature just like Sunday Ezemu.
So when Sunday Ezemu who almost looked like the much described original Ezemu was installed as the Sekwute nobody raised an eyebrow. Besides, the sacred duty had remained within the family for many decades.
Sadly, on the 14th of October, 2021, just few days to the Iwu Festival, Sunday Ezemu passed on.
However, my last encounter with Sunday Ezemu in September, 2018 brought me closer to him. It was at the heat of the Kingship matter but he declined to talk on that. To him, discussing kingship tussle was a sacrilege.
Instead, he delved into his experiences when he was arrested by the police following a complaint by St Marks Anglican Church,Ubulu-Uku.
That period, the church and the traditional institution were having some disagreements over the Iwu rules.
As the case progressed, Sunday was taken to a police custody in Benin City where he spent some days.
At the custody, he stayed without food and water. But what gave him succour, according to him, was a very big python that visited him, a day before he was released from police custody.
Narrating what transpired, he said “A giant Python visited us in cell, though I do not know if others saw it, but it was there with us in the cell for five to ten minutes before it disappeared. The following day we were released”.
The gist about Sunday Ezemu is to bring to the fore the importance and the significance of his position.
He served Ubulu-Uku against all odds, through thick and tin. Despite all his sacrifices, he lived a low life with little or nothing to show for his exalted position.
While mourn the passage of this great custodian of our culture and tradition, my advice is that Ubulu Uku people should honour him and if possible keep a monument for him for posterity sake.